I had a very enjoyable demonstration the other evening. I’d been requested to do a “colouring” demonstration, and did a slightly re-worked version of one I’m actually bored with doing now, having done it over and over this last twelve months or so.
There are problems with demonstrating to Woodturners, which may not be apparent to other Woodturners. In a nutshell – you can’t please all the people. This much a demonstrator has to accept, if it’s a major problem then don’t demonstrate, if it’s a big problem but you wish to demonstrate…get over it and do the best you can for the largest number of the audience, and hope that’s enough.
But putting yourself up is always a dangerous proposition. There will be detractors, those who feel your pitch was: too high/too low/too boring/too complicated/too advanced/too basic, and in the case of colouring wood…too sacrilegious!
I think quite a few of the audience were genuinely interested in ringing a few changes, and were vocally enthusiastic, others perhaps only mildly, but at least one remained staunchly anti to proposition.
I often think that the audiences assume it’s a Catholic or Protestant kind of scenario…be one or the other! But of course it isn’t. Colouring can simply be another tool in the bag of tricks; an accent to be used when the wood isn’t singing on its own merits. And very often it can simply provide a framed area to accentuate the natural beauty of a particular area of wood. A photo frame.
The other major difficulty in demonstrating is where you pitch the rhetoric; the advanced turners in the group? The novices? Sadly there is no happy median line. So inevitably the pitch is a jumble on various levels,, switching between interest and understanding levels of a diverse group, and the knack, I suppose, if there is one, is to make the whole seamless and fluid, and by this make the demonstration interesting for everyone at some point or other.
It’s a long and tortuous learning curve, and unlike most curves, I’m not convinced that there’s an end to it.