South Puget Sound Woodturners showcase their work

William Bender holding "Abbadon." Photo by Joan Cronk

The Fred Oldfield Heritage Center in Puyallup, with its old west theme was the perfect venue for the recent showcase of the South Puget Sound Woodturners.
Joella Oldfield, Executive Director of the Fred Oldfield Heritage Center at the Puyallup Fairgrounds, said that the art of wood turning has been done for “hundreds of years.”
Members of the South Puget Sound Woodturners (SPSW), invited woodturners from three other states Oregon, Idaho and Montana to join them and over 100 pieces were displayed at the art show.
Ed Quesnell, a member of SPSW said, “The purpose of the show is to educate the public about woodturning and the art and the procedure that you go through.”
Ninety-four-year old Oldfield, a well-known local artist, was in attendance, as was SPSW member and founder Ted Bartholomew, who is 92. The two had never met before and Joella Oldfield got a real kick out of watching them interact.
Fred Oldfield has been referred to as the “Granddaddy of Western Art,” and his generosity with his craft is well-known.
Bartholomew is also generous with his knowledge of woodturning. Not only is he an extremely proficient woodturner, he also has built many lathes and taught classes for years.
“There is something about people from that generation that makes them tough and strong,” Joella said.
SPSW member Bill Bender won the Judge’s Choice award for his piece, “Abbadon.”  This was the first time Bender had entered a piece and he was pleased with his win and encouraged to enter more events in the future.
Bartholomew walked away with an Honorable Mention ribbon for his turned hat with a knit band.  The People’s Choice award went to Paul Crabtree for piece called “Majestic.”
SPSW President Dan Stromstad said it was a great event. “It was really nice of Joella to put that on for us,” he said, adding that they have received many positive comments from folks who attended.
SPSW has over 200 members, the youngest being 11 years old and the oldest, Bartholomew. Both genders are well-represented within the group.
“Our club teaches a lot and I think that is why we are so popular because we have a constant source of great teachers, plus our own teachers within our own club,” said Stromstad, adding that everyone is willing to share.
“We have done a great deal to improve the meetings themselves by purchasing a new lathe and equipment and a better sound and video system,” said Stromstad proudly, adding that the SPSW is the largest club in the State.
The friendly nature of members and their willingness to share are two of the things that make the SPSW a very popular club.
“I joined the club and went to meetings and learned a great deal and tried and tried, but when people took the time to hands on teach me, then I really excelled. Now I’m doing that for other members,” said Stromstad.
This was the first year for the woodturners event at the Fred Oldfield Heritage Center and members hope to make it an annual event.