Do you know much about the choosing process? We've hired a few big names
in the past who turned out to be only slightly more interesting than
drying paint. Conversely, we've hired amateurs who were extremely
interesting and informative.
60-90 minutes, sometimes with 1 or 2 eight hour workshops for a
We recently hired a highly recommended expert who came and announced
that he couldn't cover any part of the subject in a short time span and
so spent the time essentially doing an infomercial for his school. I was
pissed, he should have refused the offer if he couldn't introduce the
subject. No one expects much in such a short time span, but I do expect
them to at least introduce the subject. That's why I was wondering if
people check references, it's something I want to do but some others
feel that would be inappropriate.
Lon Schleining has done a good job for us. Roy Underhill is comming this
month, but he's local.
Our newsletter is at http://www.ibiblio.org/twa /. The newsletters report on
programs and you can try asking for a speakers list. Travel is expensive,
so we charge enough for workshops to cover most of it. Members usually put
the speaker up in their homes, although there may be some speakers who don't
want to visit. Workshops are conducted in some of the larger shops of
Our club is http://www.diablowoodworkers.com/ We have a fellow in charge
of speaker selection, but his name escapes me right now. Ping me on the
easily unmunged email address, and I'll see if I can get the contacts for
We're a large club, and our members go lots of places. Generally, someone
knows or has met the folks we have in to speak.
For our monthly meetings, we usually have 60-90 minutes on a topic, with
slides, pass-around examples, and show-and-tell. Too crowded in the shop
to turn on any tools during the meeting.
Recently, we have been focusing on the design creation processes. Some of
the reaction to the artsy stuff has been humourous to observe. We have a
lot of WWII-era folks, some of whom are a bit more 'classical' in their
tastes, shall we say...
Often, our speaker will feel like he has little to say, in a prepared
presentation. The questions from the audience are what usually dictates
the direction the chat will take. The interactivity is what we enjoy. All
of our folks are pretty well-read. The owner of the sharpening service
didn't think he had enough material to go more than 10 minutes, but we had
to call a stop to things, with more questions to go, almost two hours into
The workshops the club facilitates are independent of the actual club
activity. Essentially, they are an activity hosted and run by the
individual teacher/craftsperson. All financial and logistic issues are
their responsibility, as I understand it.
And as I said, someone has generally met, or worked with, or taken classes
from these folks before. But then, in the San Francisco area, we are
blessed with many wonderful people and resources. It's probably a lot
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