By Don Mertz
Photos by Carl Saathoff
The 2017 edition of the Dayton Artistry in Wood show was hosted at the Roberts Centre, Wilmington, OH the second weekend of October.
Even though Artistry in Wood Show has a new home, in the second year at the Roberts Centre, exhibitors and visitors alike experienced the feeling of being “Home Again.” Artistry in Wood “just feels right” once again as it continues its legacy of being one of the premier woodcarving and woodworking show in the United States. The Home Again feeling was experienced in the friendly atmosphere of friend meeting friend as if for the first time or as longtime friends reunited. There was a “family” feeling while sharing one another’s joys, sharing a common concern for health needs and comfort for those sorrowing. Home Again was experienced in the Saturday night banquet with delicious food, refreshing conversation and relaxing atmosphere in the banquet set up in the well-appointed lobby of the Holiday Inn.
2017 hosted a Canadian as the winner of woodcarving’s Best of Show in the creative art creation by Fred Zavadil who carved a relief carving of an angel for his wife Hana. Hana wrote on Facebook, “We go to this show every year and have to say a huge THANK YOU to all who work really hard to put it together — this is a fantastic show and everyone does a great job making us feel welcome, comfortable, and happy! Thank you.”
Another Facebook friend Steve Kulp said, “I would like to say ‘THANK YOU’ to all the people involved, in/with / supporting / and coming out to see the Dayton’s ARTISTRY in WOOD Show and Sale event this last weekend (October 14 & 15)! My wife and I had a wonderful time, met some friends, made some new ones and enjoyed the hospitality of the people of Wilmington, Ohio. This was my first time to the show and I STRONGLY recommend you put it on your bucket list of things to do!!”
In spite of the devastating hurricane destruction of Puerto Rico, Erick Ortiz made his first appearance in the Artistry in Wood Show because he heard it was the best show of its type. Six months ago, he made his plane reservations and was able to come to enter his woodworking art and woodcarving creations in the show. He won Third Best of Show in Woodworking and a First in the Deitz Religious specialty category.
3,500 visitors to the show on Saturday and Sunday explored the beautiful ballroom of Roberts Centre where 187 woodcarver and woodworker exhibitors displayed and offered for sale a wide variety of wooden art creations. Exhibitors entered 294 competition entries in the woodcarving division and 54 entries in the woodworking division. Visitors and exhibitors alike took advantage of the 25 vendors in purchasing the vast variety of books, tools, wood, rough outs, and supplies that appealed to the woodworking and wood carving enthusiasts. The ballroom hosted 245 spaces for exhibitors and venders with an additional 10 spaces for Information, Raffle, Magazine Exchange, and Club Table. Besides the beautiful ballroom/exhibition hall, Roberts Centre also provides an abundance of free parking for Artistry in Wood.
Woodworking Division Best of Show winners were:
- 1st Michael Harmon
- 2nd Barry Todd
- 3rd Erick Ortiz
Woodworking judges were Nick Engler, Jim McCann, and Lary Sanders.
Woodcarving Division Best of Show winners were:
- 1st Fred Zavadil
- 2nd Al Jordon
- 3rd Sherry Jones
Woodcarving judges were Gary Denzler, Stu Martin and Jim Hiser.
Woodcarving Illustrated of Fox Chapel Publishing sponsored a variety of demonstrations each day with presenters Butch Clark, Floyd Rhadigan, Jim Hiser, Jim Shubert, Judy Gale Roberts, Scott Phillips, Terry Brasher, Wayne Barton, Mike Allen, Dylan Goodson and Janet Cordell.
The Woodcarving Illustrated Carver of the Year award was presented to Janet Cordell at the Saturday night banquet where relaxing conversations, delicious buffet dinner, raffle prizes and competition awards were presented while the 168 persons in attendance experienced that “Home Again” feeling. It was at the banquet that Chairman Don Worley announced that Artistry in Wood is continuing to present a $5,000 gift to United Rehabilitation Services as is has done for 24 years along with $750 to Partners Against Crime. The total given to all charities including previous years amounts to over $147,250. Charity gifts have been a commitment of Artistry in Wood since its very beginning.
Since 1981 the Original Artistry in Wood has committed itself to sponsoring and providing the very best show of its type for the benefit of advancing the appreciation of art created in wood. This commitment for the best show equally benefits visitors, exhibitors and vendors by creating an atmosphere where all three groups can interact within an inviting exhibition hall laid out for easy viewing and appreciation for the opportunity to meet and converse in a mutual discourse those who have a common interest in woodcarving and woodworking. In order to advance this show over $24,000 has been invested in advertising for the benefit of visitor, exhibitor and vendors alike.
Scouts in uniform and children under the age of 12 are admitted free into the show. The Western Ohio Woodworkers or WOW host a fun-filled and “hands on” workshop for children to put together woodworking kits that include birdhouse, bird feeder, doll cradle, tote box, and toys. Smiles of accomplishment are on the face of each child who completes a woodworking project. The Special Exhibit of hand crafted wooden framed bicycles by Guest Artist Jay Kinsinger, Cedarville University professor of mechanical engineering was a crowd pleaser. Other additional attractions and activities include a silent auction of wooden art donated by carvers and woodworkers alike. On Saturday, there are several who participate in an ornament carving contest that is observed with great interest by visitors and fellow carvers. A show sponsored raffle offers a variety of cherished prizes including donated ornaments on a tree and cash prizes. A magazine exchange table provides a recycling of magazines donated and available for a donation into the cash jar for magazines chosen.
The “Home Again” feeling and the “it just feels right,” are experienced over and over again in the conversations visitors and exhibitors have with one another along with old friendships renewed as well as new friendship carved out of the common appreciation for art created in wood. It seems like there was an overabundance of the feeling that everyone was enjoying themselves and looking forward to returning next year to experience the 2018 Artistry in Wood show on October 13 and 14 at the new home at Roberts Centre once again.
The center of AIW’s Home Again feeling is the convenient location of Roberts Center at Exit 50 of Interstate 71 and State Route 68 which in addition to the beautiful ballroom exhibit hall that hosts a concession area with lunch items as well as the on-site Max and Erma restaurant and lodging available at the Holiday Inn as part of the Roberts Centre. Other lodging and restaurants are available in Wilmington, six miles south on Route 68.
Please accept the invitation of Dayton Artistry in Wood to visit the 2018 edition of the show on October 13 and 14 at Roberts Centre, Wilmington, Ohio. Be sure to visit our website at www.daytoncarvers.com (Carole Williams, Webmaster) for more information.