Club History

The History of the Central New England Woodturners...

The history of Central New England Woodturners goes back to the roots of the American Association of Woodturners.  From the AAW website:

By the early 1980s woodturning was taking a uniquely contemporary shape, but there was yet no national coherence to the widespread activity. In 1985, the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, in Gatlinburg, Tenn., was one of the few places in the country where it was possible to teach or study woodturning. Director Sandra Blain, along with woodturner David Ellsworth, a regular instructor at Arrowmont, recognized the need to highlight the state of current work in a national show. They engaged turner/sculptor Mark Lindquist and Renwick Gallery Director Michael Monroe to help jury what became the 1985 exhibition, Woodturning: Vision and Concept.

The show's opening coincided with a three-day symposium, drawing more than 200 woodturners, at which the concept of a national organization of woodturners was put forth. "With all the meeting and greeting of old friends and new," writes David Ellsworth in the premier issue of American Woodturner, "it soon became clear that what had brought us to Tennessee was more than just a lust for tools and techniques. It was a thirst for the process of learning. Several hundred turned objects were on view in both formal and informal [Instant Gallery] display--as if the energies of the past decade were brought before us in a moment. If there was a single thought on everyone's mind, it must have been, 'where do we go from here.'

At this symposium, Dick Gerard, who would later serve as the AAW's treasurer, submitted a survey calling for the formation of an association. The first brainstorming session took place after hours, among a group of the symposium participants. The next day an invitation to serve the organization went out to the rest of the participants. A vote was taken, an ad hoc board of directors was formed, and the work began on framing a charter. By April of 1986 the American Association of Woodturners was formally named and incorporated as a non-profit organization."

Toby Winkler, a woodturner from Groton, MA and his wife Carolyn Kinloch-Winkler attended the 1985 Arrowmont conference.  Toby became a charter member of the AAW and Carolyn won a contest to create the AAW logo.  In late 1986 and early 1987, Toby made calls to woodturning friends and new AAW members in the area about forming a local Chapter.  These early organizers included Bill Frost, Bill Lucas, Paul Fennel and Tom Sherwood.  The organizing meeting for CNEW was held in the spring of 1987, with Toby Winkler elected president, Bill Lucas as vice-president and Paul Fennel as Secretary, and Tom Sherwood as Treasurer.  By 1988 the Chapter had grown to about thirty members and was very active with demonstrations, a collection of turned items that traveled among the members, guest speakers and full day turning events.

That growth continued, and on April 18, 1989 the Chapter filed Articles of Organization as a Massachusetts Nonprofit Corporation signed by the same four officers.

Today, in 2020, we continue to strive as a successful club with approaching 100 members in our ranks.