ARTS: CARVING A PLACE IN THE ART COMMUNITY
BY BRIDGET BALCH FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
As anyone with an eye for décor would tell you, the pieces of art that give a space personality don’t necessarily have to hang on the wall. And no one would agree with this statement more than the members of the Fredericksburg Area Woodworkers Guild.
The guild, which had its first official meeting last November, came to fruition after years of discussion between local woodworkers Tim Eggers and Curtis Fitzgerald. They felt the Fredericksburg area needed a place for them and other locals interested in woodworking to gather, discuss and learn from each other, with the goal of making Fredericksburg a destination for woodwork connoisseurs.
Fitzgerald provided a place to meet at J.C. Forest Products lumber warehouse in Massaponax, and the guild quickly grew in membership and popularity. Now, the monthly meetings, which take place on the first Saturday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., typically draw in about 40 area woodworkers of every stage of expertise, from beginner to professional.
The meetings are designed to provide members with an opportunity to learn more about the craft, as well as offer a venue to show their own work and share their skills. Each meeting includes a demonstration of some technique from a local artisan; a show-and-tell portion, where members are encouraged to bring in their latest project; and a tool swap, where members are welcome to trade or sell old tools. Membership is open to anyone, no matter their level of expertise, and is free.
To showcase the wide variety of talent among the members of the guild, Liberty Town Arts Workshop will display an exhibit of about 60 pieces made by 25 members of the Fredericksburg Area Woodworkers Guild through Sept. 1. The exhibit includes ring jewelry, desks, tables, chairs, musical instruments, birdhouses and other pieces, all of which will be available for sale.
Eggers, who has a studio at LibertyTown, will feature some of his own work as part of the exhibit. He said that he first began to pick up his woodworking skills when he worked at a furniture manufacturer during college, but did not seriously pursue woodworking artistically until he bought a house and wanted to furnish it his own way.
One of his more striking pieces is an end table that seems rather unremarkable except for the fact that one of its four legs is a tree branch, bark and all. Eggers said he had been walking in a pasture when he came across the branch, and he knew he had to use it in one of his pieces.
“Anyone can go to Powell’s Furniture and buy a table with four perfect legs,” Eggers said. He prefers the whimsical touch the branch adds to the table, although he admits that people’s reactions are very hit-or-miss with it. Some people have even offered to buy the table—if he would agree to “fix” the fourth leg.
“They either see the humor or they don’t get it,” Eggers said. “Most people appreciate the art. ”This exhibit at Liberty Town, Eggers hopes, will give the guild the exposure it deserves as an important new part of the Fredericksburg art community by making local art lovers more aware of the artistic possibilities woodworking has to offer, as well as providing the woodworkers a chance to display and market their skills.
The Fredericksburg Area Woodworkers Guild will have their pieces on display from July 5th 2013 Until Sept 1, 2013
Liberty Town Art Workshop 916 Liberty Street, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401 540-371-7255