It’s Sunday afternoon on September 14 and I’m on my way home from Woodworking in America 2014. As I stare out the airplane window I can already feel the beginning of what I refer to as “the WIA mourning period” kicking in.
It’s not a regret that I attended or didn’t make it to every class on my list, instead it is a feeling of loneliness that occurs shortly after I leave the event and head home.
As a fellow woodworker, you know ours is a solitary hobby. We frequently work alone in our shops for hours on end, and equally often we don’t have nearby friends or family who are also woodworkers. So outside of the shop there’s no one to share our enthusiasm and excitement over mastering a new skill or purchasing a tool.
At Woodworking in America the whole paradigm of solitary woodworking is turned upside down and on its head. You find yourself surrounded by people who not only know exactly why it is that you get excited about a hand-cut dovetail, but share with you their own elation for them.
And while at home, typically the closest you might get to seeing some of the instructors who were talking at WIA is by reading an article in a magazine, picking up a copy of one of their books, or even watching a DVD. While at WIA you’ll have had a chance to watch them speak in front of a class, ask them a question in the hallway, and maybe even hang out with them at an event in the evening.
Of course what really brings on the “mourning period” for me is the last night. When we meet for dinner and drinks one more time, talk about what excited us, show off what we bought in the marketplace, and what we’ll get started on when we get home.
We exchange contact information, take pictures and maybe even make plans to get together long before the next WIA. It’s no exaggeration when I write that every time I’ve attended Woodworking in America I’ve left with more friends than I arrived with.
If you ask me what my favorite part of the weekend was, you better plan on having a long conversation, because there wasn’t just one or two things, it was everything!
The staff at Popular Woodworking Magazine manage to consistently pull off an event that can’t be topped. Year-after-year they bring in top-notch instructors, assemble an amazing market place and plan extra events that are like nothing you’ll find elsewhere.
If you’ve never attended an event like Woodworking in America, you need to plan on it at least once. I can say without a doubt that you won’t regret it.
We’ll have additional coverage of what went on at WIA – pictures, videos and blog posts – as the week goes on! Keep an eye on this space for more.