January 13, 2022 at 11:16 am #9753
Rolf’s recent post on FaceBook reminded me of a topic I’d like to discuss for the upcoming LIW show in the fall of 2022.
Background: Many years ago, I had a VW Beetle and the plastic gear shift knob broke off. To replace it, I picked up an unfinished wood draw pull and that worked just fine. I never applied a finish, but, over time, the oil from my hands gave it a great color and smoothness. In addition to this, over my working career, Brookhaven Lab held many art shows. I recall one artist in particular, Ann Meinhold, who produced excellent wood sculptures. Objects that just begged to be touched. In fact, several of her sculptures had a sign that read “Pease touch me”.
Proposal: In the past, we have always (appropriately) requested visitors to our show to not touch the exhibits. Hard not to when we produce such beautiful work that just begs to be caressed. Well, along with our current display categories (i.e. furniture, turnings, scroll work, carvings), I propose we create a category of “Things to be touched”. I envision sculptures and other carvings as well as some scroll work. Rolf’s beautiful latest piece may be too delicate for general public fondling, but it represents a direction we might go in to create more club/public interaction.
Let’s discuss this.
January 13, 2022 at 11:51 am #9754
I think that’s a great idea. At a previous show there was a woman who was annoyed at the do not touch signs. She said wood is meant to be touched, Steve Fulgoni told her we would try to find the person that made a piece and ask permission if she wanted to examine it more closely and pick it up. I like the idea of visitors being able to interact more, some scroll saw puzzles that kids could put together might be fun.
January 14, 2022 at 12:22 pm #9755
An interesting idea, Bill. Of course, there are potential downsides to be considered. Possible breakage, damage, and theft to projects may occur. If one or more of these events should happen, who bears responsibility? Is it the exhibitors or the LIW?
The possibility of such a scenario suggests a secondary concern, i.e., the need to have show volunteers assigned the task of constantly monitoring the “touchable” exhibit.
January 14, 2022 at 1:17 pm #9756
I appreciate the concerns as expressed by Mike Mittleman, but I still feel that doing this is worthwhile. To address Mike’s concerns:
1. An exhibitor accepts that the project might be broken if handled and is good with that or doesn’t agree to the exhibit.
2. The same for other damage.
3. The same for theft.
4. No one bears responsibility. We declare “No fault” and just enjoy the potential for a positive experience.
5. I envision minimal monitoring.
Look, we know going into this that the risks Mike focuses on are real and accept that, if we choose to exhibit a project in this category, bad things can happen. If we decide we need to be so “careful”, we can hire a lawyer to draw up release from liability contracts to be signed by exhibitors. I think that’s silly, but consistent with these fears. Or we could decide to just not do it at all.
Still, I think it’s worth doing.
January 14, 2022 at 1:28 pm #9757
As a follow-on to my previous comments, it occurred to me that I hadn’t been entirely clear on what I was proposing. I am proposing that we have a separate category of projects that allow them to be touched by the public. Those projects will be displayed in a separate area from the other projects and signage will clearly state what can and what cannot be touched.
January 14, 2022 at 2:39 pm #9758
Thanks for the extra detail, Bill. To be clear, at this point I am neither for nor against the idea. I think that the proposal should be discussed at the board meeting. OTOH, you are the Show Chair. The board will do what it can to support the directions you think have merit.
January 14, 2022 at 2:42 pm #9759
Thanks Mike. I brought this up with the very thought of presenting it to the Board at next Monday’s meeting, along with some other show issues to be discussed/resolved.
January 14, 2022 at 8:00 pm #9760
Gentlemen, not only touch but also sit down. Invite people to sit in the chairs we have made.
January 15, 2022 at 8:52 am #9761
Mike, it’s a hard balance. It’s very natural to want to invite people to enjoy your chair by sitting in it but some chairs have so much work in them, that the builder might be very protective.
The way this would work is that we ask the builder if he or she is comfortable letting the public sample the seating and then place the chair in the “touch” or “NO touch” zone as appropriate.
January 15, 2022 at 11:52 am #9762
Of course. The same way we would allow people to handle the turnings.
January 16, 2022 at 11:43 am #9763
This all comes under the “nudge” category that Richard Thaler won a Nobel Prize for. We mostly don’t mind the stuff being touched, but there are exceptions. And things like creating a new category or segregating the touch only items is heavy handed, and creates a lot of work. The “nudge” is to simply put up a sign for those projects people don’t want to be touched. Then those projects will stand out as a no toucher and will likely mostly be complied with. Those who still touch it will simply think rules don’t apply to them and never did anyway.
January 17, 2022 at 9:33 am #9764
Perhaps a compromise is in order. We could assign members, that is volunteers, to be assigned to an area to answer questions and to move pieces around for the public. The volunteers should not be identified with signs declaring they are there for security reasons but rather as “answer people”. Use hats, shirts, aprons, whatever to identify them. The volunteers would require info on the many projects we display and pricing on the pieces that are for sale.
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