Turned-wood flower pots created by Southern Oregon Woodcraft Guild member Dan Tilden. Photo by Robert Jaff

New roots for Ashland’s fine woodworking show

Organizers embrace the new location of the 37th Annual Harvest Show of Fine Woodworking in Ashland, to be held this year in the Hay-Patton Rehearsal Center, 30 S. First St., Ashland. Just a half a block above and across from Ashland Springs Hotel, the show is not far from its former home in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Great Hall

“The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is reorganizing their various locations, so our previous home in the Great Hall has now been turned into a facility for the costume shop,” says Tom Phillips, show coordinator and president of Siskiyou Woodcraft Guild. "That allows the festival some much needed space.

"Our new space is a bit roomier and has some natural light, which is nice,” Phillips says. “It is off of Main Street just a bit, so we hope that’s not a deterrent for anyone. OSF has allowed us to use some advertising windows on Main Street by the Great Hall, so we have signs and arrows to direct people to our new location.”

The woodworking show will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27. Admission is free. See www.siskiyouguild.org.

A variety of woodworking styles made from local, domestic and imported wood will be displayed with pieces ranging from functional to stunningly decorative.

One local artist makes the most of what others might consider flaws in the burl wood he fashions, or “turns” into beautiful works of art. Using a lathe to bring forth both the shape and the natural beauty of the grain, Dan Tilden says he allows the unique features of the burl wood to speak to him as he renders one-of-a-kind bowls, pots and vessels.

“It’s really about appreciating the natural beauty of the wood,” Tilden says, “and deciding how I can best shape it to capture the grain and the beauty of the wood inside. Certain shapes show off the best aspects of the burl, so it really is like the burl speaks to me while I’m working with it, telling me which direction to take it in.”

 Burls are rounded deformities on tree trunks or branches caused by damage or disease. They are filled with small knots from dormant buds that, when finished, provide unusual shapes and grain patterns.

 “All trees can grow a burl,” Tilden says, “but I prefer to work with manzanita, madrone and maple burl. I also use some of the local white and black oak.”

Depending on the size, shape and type of wood he’s working with, each piece takes five or six hours from start to finish. “I’ve been turning wood for about 15 years, and I have a few shapes that I like to go back to, shapes that please my eye. My goal is always to think of how I can best represent the wood’s natural beauty.”

“There will be furniture, carved pieces, boxes and turned work such as bowls and vessels,” Philips says. “We’ll also have some unique custom-made vehicles — I guess you would call some of them big-people toys and some are little-people toys — on display. Other woodcrafters will feature chairs, a beautiful entry door and even some lamps.”

Many beautiful and unique items will be available at the show but, Phillips adds, “The other part of our show is that the craftsmen will be there to talk about not just what they have there on display, but also what they are able to create for folks who have a need for custom work. In that way, the possibilities are nearly unlimited when it comes to designing just the right piece.”

The Siskiyou Woodcraft Guild is an association made up of fine woodworkers throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California interested in advancing the craft and the craftspeople of the region. It’s members bring with them a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience in both professional and hobby-level capabilities.

“The community outreach is much broader than just the work you see at the show,” Phillips notes. “The guild supports woodworking in local schools and also offers classes in the winter, so we’ll have information about those at the show.”

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