In an era where people are still learning how to live during a pandemic, our expo this year ended up happening right in the middle of the Omicron variant peak and we were worried about attendance.  We did experience some cancellations but no major disruption and in fact, the Expo was very well attended by both competitors and excited attendees.  Most vendors, which included wood, fractal burning, turning & carving supplies tools; reported excellent activity and were very optimistic.

This year’s demonstrations included wood carving, making bird feet, pen turning, laser engraving and even turning a wooden lamp shade.  On the competition side our entrants didn’t disappoint either!  The Carvers submitted Etchings, Flatwork, 3-D scenes and still-lives, lifelike animals, caricatures & montages, impressionistic depictions, holiday displays, incredible miniaturized realism & detail.  The Woodturners submitted Bowls & Platters embellished with carvings, Open and Closed Segmented Vessels, Miniatures, multi-media & cast elements, utility & kitchen items, artistic explorations in forms; all with incredible finishes.  In fact, the judges commented that the entries were the best quality they have seen to date and had to make many tough decisions when judging most of the skill levels and categories.  When it came down to the “Peoples Choice Award” it too was very close, but the winner was chosen, and it was a “life-size” sandhill crane that was made by segmented turning as well as some carving.  Congratulations to all the award recipients.

With all that said, I would be remiss if I did not mention and thank all the volunteers that made this show come together.  Not only this year but the 30+ years that this show has been in existence.  This show is not just one group or club that makes it happen but the many groups and clubs in the SWFL area and I would like to thank each and every one of them.

The task ahead is to continue to put forth an exposition that is truly the talk of the town, to make it better, bigger and to keep bringing wood artists together.  Come along with us on the journey to next years expo where we will continue to promote the arts or woodcarving and woodturning in a common venue.


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