August Demonstrator – Dan Ackerman

Dan Ackerman boxI started woodturning in 1986 after witnessing a few turners demonstrating at the Bellevue Craft show. The first five years was just a compulsive effort trying to learn tools, sharpening, design, etc.; starting with bowls,, then hollow forms, then boxes, and a variety of other shapes and disciplines. Along the way, I was fortunate to assist David Ellsworth at Arrowmont School for the Crafts and we became friends. He was very helpful in giving me insight and direction. Then I ran for the board of the “National Association of Woodturners” and during the next five years influenced the start of their now active film library! As a board member I got to go to the national symposium for all five years and watched some of the world’s great turners and learn.

Dan Ackerman BoxMeanwhile during this time, I experimented with all sorts of ideas, including starting a rosewood gift business with my wife Kathy and a few employees. We did that for 10 years until I burned out on doing production turning 7 days a week, with no vacations and, it seemed like, no rest. By then we were doing some of the best shows in the country: Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York. But, we weren’t seeing the return we expected and we were both burned out, Kathy on marketing and me on production.

Dan Ackerman boxIn doing all this turning I had become quick and self assured and I had decided to do boxes as the most stimulating form of turning. My “nitch” design is the box within a box which you will see at the demo. It is unique and it stimulated an old hobby of mine, woodcarving, which I combine with my design boxes. I’ll have some examples of carved boxes also at the demo and look forward to seeing some of my friends at the Fife Club. Thank you for having me.