I traveled to San Diego, California this past weekend to take an early look at the annual Design in Wood show, and—standing in for editor-in-chief Randy Johnson—to select two "Best of Show" awards that are sponsored each year by American Woodworker.
For those of you who are not familiar with Design in Wood (DIW), it is an annual competitive exhibition held in conjunction with the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on the north side of San Diego. It began 31 years ago with a modest selection from 35 members of the newly-formed San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association. It is now one of the largest competitive woodworking exhibitions in the country. This year more than 350 works in 24 different categories—furniture, turning, carving, scrollsaw work, musical instruments, intarsia, modelmaking, etc.—were juried into the show.
All the work had arrived but was not set up in its final display when I visited the show—DIW doesn't officially open until June 8. But I've included a number of snapshots I took to give you an idea of the scope and variety of work.
All the big categories were further divided. For example, furniture was organized as traditional, contemporary, art, etc.
Here's a sampling of that work.
Another feature of DIW is a reproduction of a 19th-century Cabinet Shop, filled with antique tools from the collection of Bob Stevenson. (Bob, by the way, has been in charge of the show since the mid-90s.) Traditional hand-tool woodworking is demonstrated in the shop during the hours of the show, and there is an annual effort by volunteers from the Woodworkers Association to build 50 small oak children's chairs during the duration of the show that will be donated to various schools, day care centers, and so on.
The show runs from June 8 until July 4, so if you are planning (or perhaps now considering) a trip to San Diego, check it out.
And for all who won't get a chance to see the show in person, I will be writing a fuller article on the Design in Wood show (including pictures of many of the winners) for an upcoming issue of American Woodworker.