Competitions must, of necessity, be a cold weather endeavor. I can tolerate holding onto cold turning tools for a little while, but I am uncomfortable doing much without the protection of my dust helmet. And the dust helmet does not keep my head warm. It has been cold, too cold to turn, so I have started thinking about entering some contests. Since posting about Thumbs Up I have been doing a lot of thinking, planning, organizing, and preparing. All these things that don’t require me to take off my warm cap.
At the heart of many competitions are good photographs. Do you routinely take photos of completed projects? If you ever want to enter competitions, many require photos of projects plus title, dimensions, and year completed. You will save yourself a lot of guess work if you make a habit of recording such data starting now. Even if you tell yourself, “I will never enter a competition in my life,” that may change. Just a few encouraging words from friends can quickly kill such a resolution.
And if you do enter something, competitions are not all about winning. Benefits can extend beyond prizes. They force us to expand our artistic vision and to grow. Turners are, by and large, an encouraging bunch. So you can reasonably expect helpful comments, even from competitors.
Ok, enough. If you have a warm shop, enjoy turning.
Ellis Hein, author of The Woodturner’s Project Book