We are pleased to report on the success of the first National Intarsia Carvers Association's (NICA) Discover the Art in Intarsia Expo, March 9 - 10, 2013 at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
We were even blessed with mild weather over the weekend.
NICA's vice president of membership, Terry Tornow, coordinated and hosted a very nice pre-show social at one of the NICA sponsored hotels, providing yet another chance for intarsists to connect. This event was attended by 35 to 40 people and the show hadn't even begun!
To start with, the show setup was exhausting but went together without a glitch due to the enthusiastic and experienced group of volunteers.
The venue, though sparse and bare, but when festooned with banners, signage and table covering, became colorful and alive. Much of it was designed by Jeanie Tornow, the other half of the VP of membership team. She also provided the brilliant blue T-shirts for the staff. Jeanie was not able to attend because someone had to stay with their 5 "children" (Don't tell her they really are dogs and cats). Jeanie gave a professional look to everything she did, from business cards to banners and signage to certificates.
Our advertizing tactics included providing packaging flyers to an extensive group of vendors, local radio, television, wood working magazines and newspaper coverage. We also posted flyers at numerous places in and around Cedar Rapids.
Hotels were inspected and contracted with NICA (at discounted rates) and were conveniently located to the expo and area restaurants. Road signs were posted to clearly map the rout to the expo building.
Our extensive pre-expo preparations paid off and helped bring in a large turnout on Saturday, the first day of the expo.
We had visitors from 16 states and from the border of northern Canada and Alaska. (Check out our website picture of the "where are you from" map. Visitors were provided restaurant and local attraction lists.
We were told by the Hawkeye Downs management that the Discover the Art in intarsia Expo's Saturday attendance surpassed that of a local TV station sponsored home owner's show in an adjacent building.
The expo was buzzing Saturday with the NICA membership drive, seminars, ongoing demonstrations and a high level of vendor and attendee interaction. Terry Tornow staffed the NICA booth and proactively worked with the crowd, which resulted in eighteen new NICA members.
The Art gallery was a very nice with several NICA members and other participants showcasing their talents and high quality projects. Easels and tables were provided for the participants. Verne Behuler and Judy Gale Roberts shared their extensive personal intarsia art portfolios.
Saturday afternoon Judy Gale Roberts gave a seminar on creating her famous intarsia raccoon through a step-by-step breakdown of the entire project including wood contouring, fitting, assembly and finishing. The seminar was a hit! We heard positive comments from many satisfied students.
Diane Soper gave invaluable seminars titled "Scrolling with Accuracy" and "Scrolling: The Basics". Her scroll saw puzzles displayed at her booth were very innovative.
Jill Goldman of Flock-It! gave seminars titled "Flocking: The Basics" for adding an "extra touch of class" to your projects.
The following is the list of booths.
We were blessed with numerous door prizes and silent auction items from numerous vendors, including items from several vendors who were unable to attend the show. More than $3000 in door prizes were given away including:
Numerous on going demonstrations were conducted Saturday and Sunday:
Many positive comments were received from the attendees relative to our broad coverage of the wood art form and high quality demonstrations.
The social element of the show was emphasized with great success as one of NICA's missions is to bring the Intarsia community together and raise awareness of this beautiful art form.
Our social area consisted of several decorated tables that featured conversation starters and games, refreshments, puzzles, NICA BINGO, intarsia word find, and the game of 20 questions. Prizes for completing the word games encouraged rich interaction amongst the participants.
We also had a veteran's table to raise awareness of the goal to provide a therapeutic wood working shop for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area veterans.
Several key things happened on the second day of the show; An intarsia discussion forum was conducted in the afternoon. The session began with Judy Gale Roberts giving a history of intarsia, including her and her father's work to revive the art form and bring it forward to today's wood working community. Joannie West, NICA's president, led a brain storming discussion concerning NICA's mission and it's "next steps" for growth. General suggestion were solicited and recorded from the forum participants.
There was much anticipation for the "grand finale" of the show, a 2:00 pm drawing for the awesome door prize of an 18 in. Sand Flea sander from RJR Studios. Stephen Raffo presented the Sand Flee, valued at $500, to a very surprised and pleased Mr. and Mrs. Gary Reif of Illinois. Thanks again to RJR Studios for donating such a nice door prize!
Now that the Expos in successfully behind us, we have much work to do! We will be focusing on our NICA newsletter, refining the NICA organizational structure and beginning plans for the 2014 "Discover the Art in Intarsia" expo.
Lastly, please remember that Intarsia is now an official category in the International Wood Carver's Congress sponsored by the American Wood Carvers (AWC). The annual competition is held in Maquoketa, Iowa June 8th to 16th. The AWC is allowing the intarsia category for a two year trial basis, so it's very important for us to make a great showing of our art work. We will be working to help create a unified definition of intarsia for the AWC judges.
Contact Carol or Larry Yuddis, 563.505.2700 or go to www.awcltd.org
Intarsia is truly a rich wood art form, as evidenced by the Discover the Art in Intarsia Expo's Art Gallery showing.
I would personally like to thank Kevin Bierman who was with us from start to finish and everyone who contributed to making our expo a success. There are always "behind the scenes", folks who we may have forgotten to mention, but we know they made things happen and we greatly appreciate everyone's efforts.
Vice President Membership, NICA