Artistry in Wood, held in Dayton, Ohio every November, is a celebration of wood carving and woodworking art by wood enthusiasts. It's believed to be the largest show of its kind in the U.S. For the last two years attendance has broken 5,000. There are over 225 exhibitors and vendors. These exhibitors come from almost half the states in our country and from Canada.
Primarily, the show is an exhibit. Carvers and woodworkers show their work and most sell their work. Prices range from five-figures to bargains for Christmas shoppers. Tools, supplies, wood, roughouts and sharpening services are offered. Whatever is needed, it can probably be bought at the show and the basswood is of top quality. Two publications have a presence: Chip Chats and Woodcarving Illustrated. Woodcarving Illustrated has demonstrations and 'spit and whittle' carve-alongs.
In front center of the exhibit area, new every year, is a special exhibit. In 2014 it was a collection of European circus parade carvings and in 2015 it will be the carved art of Vic Hood.
More than just exhibits await the public. There are door prizes for ticket buyers. They can also bid on select items at a silent auction and they can buy raffle tickets for prizes. One of the raffle prizes is a collection of wood ornaments adorning a Christmas tree, created by members of the Dayton Carvers Guild. In 2014 the tree held 191 ornaments. A minor thing, but telling of the enthusiasts' nature of the show is the free magazines table. The participants give away (well, there is a jar to collect donations for The United Rehabilitation Services) their wood carving and woodworking publications. One full exhibit space is dedicated to giving away wood-related books and magazines.
More is available for the wood enthusiast. There is a competition for the participants. It's a big competition. Two hundred forty two ribbons were awarded for woodcarving and seventy one for woodworking. Winning a Best of Show is a lifetime accomplishment. In 2014 the Best of Show winners were, for carving, Charlotte (Charley) Phillips for her flowers in a basket carving and, for woodworking, Jay Kinsinger for his fully functional wooden bicycle. Three demonstrations are presented each day in a special area which has a big flat screen for displaying close-ups of the work in progress and has seating for a hundred.
The Western Ohio Woodworkers Club is a key part of Artistry in Wood. WOW has a "Hands on Children's Workshop." WOW members assist children in building projects from free kits prepared by the WOW members. Lots of hammering is heard from the children's area. In 2014 children built something like 350 items. Few things bring as much pleasure to a wood-person as seeing a youngster proudly carrying through the exhibit hall a three-legged stool or a birdhouse that they built. Besides that, WOW has at the show a production workshop where they build toys to be given to patients at Children's Hospital. Their stretch goal is a toy a minute. In addition, WOW has their own member's competition and displays.
After a busy Saturday, participants can relax at an evening banquet where awards are given and prizes raffled. Woodcarving Illustrated announced at the banquet their Woodcarver of the Year. In 2014 it was Rick Jenson. Artistry in Wood supports Dayton's United Rehabilitation Services Organization. At the banquet AIW contributed $5,000 to URS. Total contributions have now reached something like $145,000.
The 2015 Show will be on Saturday, November 14th and Sunday, the 15th. It's held in the spacious Dayton Airport Expo Center, 3900 McCauley Drive, Vandalia, Ohio, 45377. If you are a carver or woodworker and wish to take part in The 2015 Show, the registration will be available starting in June. Please check back then. Returning artisans are given first priority and then new applications are considered on a first come basis. Commercial vendors engaged in woodworking or carving activity are also welcome. Artistry in Wood is a well-established show and an excellent place to show or sell your work, meet other artisans, attend seminars, get inspired and just have fun.