Club Community Activities

  • 2017- Present: Blind Turning Project
  • 2014 – Present: American Craft Council Show Demonstrations
  • 2014 – Present: Atlanta Woodworking Show
  • 2012: Rutledge Sunflower Farm

Blind Turning Project

Andi Sullivan of Tampa started this national project in 2013. Andy is blind and in 2012, she convinced the instructor and staff at Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN that she was capable of taking a class in pen-making on the wood lathe. The empowerment and enjoyment she gained through that class and continuing to make pens when she returned home was the seed of an idea. The American Association of Woodturners (AAW) was holding their national symposium in Tampa and she would start a woodturning school for the blind with their help.

Since 2012, she has been instrumental in starting similar schools in cities that the AAW has held symposia. There are now operational schools in Pheonix, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Kansas City.

The GAW Turning for the Blind project began in August of 2017 and as of January 1, 2018, has had approximately fifty students.

Student’s first project is a keychain. Then the progress to more complicated projects like making a pen, a bottlestopper etc.

The project is ongoing with sessions twice a month and two to four students per session. 

American Craft Counsil Show

In 2014, GAW was invited to demonstrate woodturning at the Atlanta American Craft Council show held at the Cobb Galleria. The demonstrations were very popular and GAW has been invited back each year since.

Many club members have demonstrated over the years. Each demonstrates for two hours at a time. Items made included spinning tops, bottle stoppers, finials, small bowls, small goblets and small vases.

The primary intent of the demonstrations is to enhance the show experience for attendees by teaching them something about the lathe, its operation and the techniques used. In addition, demonstrators are able to relate their techniques to those used by show exhibitors in the creation of their work, thus adding value to the exhibitor’s work. Demonstrators also provided information regarding the GAW and craft related schools in the area to include John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC and Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, TN.

Each year, several attendees express interest in joining the GAW and learning how to turn or to increase their current skill level.

Atlanta Woodworking Show

Each year, the GAW, Atlanta Woodturners Guild and South Metro Woodturners team up to provide several lathes at the Atlanta Woodworking Show. Most of the lathes are used for the “Make Your Own Pen” project with some dedicated to demonstrations. The Make Your Own Pen project has been extremely popular.

The booth is very busy all weekend with the aisles packed most of the time. has supplied discounted slim line pen kits and about 150 kits are purchased each year. The first year, the event was so popular that the when the show ended the promoters invited us to do the same thing the following next year with more space and a promise to include us in their advertising for the following year’s show.

A number of spouses turn out to help organize the crowd. The event is a rewarding experience for all involved. We have helped children as young as five turn a pen and we have helped adults in their 70’s and 80’s turn a pen. All leave with a pen and a huge smile.

Rutledge Sunflower Farm

Rutledge Sunflower Farm was, until March 2012, the site of the largest known sassafras tree in Georgia. The tree had to be taken down and the GAW was fortunate to get some of the wood. The club turned items to be sold at the 2012 Sunflower Festival June 30-July 1, 2012. Proceeds of the items sold were donated to Camp Twin Lakes which is a camp for disabled and seriously ill children ( .)

Saturday June 30th was one of the hottest days on record for Georgia at 106 degrees. July 1st was also hot, reaching 102 degrees. Members were fortunate with their booth placement. It was under an oak tree so they had some shade. The heat was oppressive and the turnout was limited. The GAW sold $175.00 of the Sassafras, and donated all the remaining pieces to be sold at the welcome center at Camp Twin Lakes.

A GAW member visited the farm and talked with Robert Asbury who said he was a caretaker on the property at the Sunflower farm. In the image, he is standing by the stump from the record Sassafras tree. It was not only large, but it was growing in a very awkward location.