I’ve been looking forward to the trip to Atlanta for the last couple of weeks. When I saw that it was on the schedule for the end of January, I knew that I would get a bit of a respite from the cold of Chicago. At least I had one good day. I left O’Hare on Thursday with a temperature of 6 degrees and two hours later it would be over 50 with a high in the lower 60’s. I had booked the flight to be the first out and it was just a little after 9AM when I arrived at Hartsfield. This gave me plenty of time to get in a quick 18 holes before set up.
To the uninitiated this may appear to be an escape from the realities of the show circuit but it is just the start of the mental preparation it takes to present my lectures during the weekend. Life is full of sacrifices and this would be mine. Had the weather been better on Friday, I would have made that sacrifice again.
Atlanta was about 50 miles south of a fairly severe winter storm that would rage on Friday and continue into Saturday. The rain that we had was much better than the ice and snow less than an hour away. That rain made for some of the best crowds to date for the Woodworking Show. The lines for tickets flowed out into the parking lot and the show opened with a rush. The educational seminars would be packed to overflowing and the aisles stayed congested for the better part of the first two days. Sunday’s numbers weren’t as great but I suspect that over all we outdrew the Atlanta show of last year.
I stopped by the Gwinnett Woodworkers Guild and talked to Jane Burke who was giving demonstrations of her marquetry techniques. I’ve spent time with her before and I’m always impressed with the almost lifelike quality of her work. She teaches a very simple process and the results are amazing.
Of special interest to me was an original design for a wooden clock by James Dion. The gears were cut with a router and jigs and not by CNC as I had thought. The veneering on the uprights, weights and base really added an appeal to an already stunning piece of woodworking art. Wooden gears can be somewhat tempermental with changes in humidity and temperature but this one did a great job keeping accurate time.
It will take its place with previous winners all competing for the grand prize to be selected at the end of the season. The carved jewelry box and this very unique flute/recorder were also attention getters.
It will be a cold day in February as I drive up to the next venue, Milwaukee, on Thursday. We shouldn’t have to compete with the Super Bowl for the attention of attendees. I think that Green Bay was out of contention at the same time as our beloved Bears. Wait ‘til next year.
I’ll guess that I’ll have to wait until the middle of March in Tampa before the temperature will again allow another test of my ability to sacrifice myself in improving my preparation as a lecturer. I’ll probably have to overcome the sand, water and potential sunburn in my continual quest for perfection but that’s par for the course. I’m a risk taker.
If you’re going to be in Milwaukee this coming weekend, stop in for a chat.
‘ til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador