The Indiana County Woodturners Association has been around for approximately 20 years.
The group meets the second Tuesday of every month, from September through May, on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus.
Their organization’s goal is to educate woodturners and the general public in the art and craft of woodturning, whose origins date to ancient Egypt.
“We are a local chapter of an international organization called the American Association of Woodturners and there are several chapters like us located all across the United States,” local president Daryl Roamer said.
“Our organization is for people who have never done it or for people who have done it at the highest level. There is stuff for everybody to do at our meetings, no cost.”
The meetings, which start at 7 p.m., are held in the turning studio on the lower level of Sprowls Hall.
“We have about 25 people at our meetings, depending on the time of the year,” Roamer said. “We have people bring things for show and tell, and things they are working on. It could be as simple as a little spindle or as complicated as a segmented pattern of beautiful wood boxes.
“We have a monthly competition where they make something at home, bring it in and we vote on it. We have cookies and coffee. We have people that are beginners and people who sell professionally. And guests are encouraged to attend.”
Woodturning is done on a lathe, which holds and spins wood securely while it is being shaped with sharp carving tools.
“We always have some kind of demonstration and at last month’s meeting, we learned how to use a router on a lathe to make ornaments,” Roamer said. “I have been turning for 10 years, but sporadically, since I also work full time. I took woodshop in junior high and that was the last time I used a wood lathe until I started doing this.
“It is fun. It is enjoyable. It is beautiful. And it’s very stress-relieving for a lot of people.”
Roamer, who lives in Punxsutawney, said the local group includes members from Indiana County as well as others from counties such as Cambria, Jefferson and Butler.
“Our region covers a pretty wide area,” she said. “We have people from Johnstown, Brookville and Butler.”
Woodturning became a popular hobby and developed into a professional art form soon after World War II. By the early 1980s, woodturning began to appear in galleries and craft shows across the country.
“Our organization made wooden finger tops and I took 200 of them to Ecuador with me four years ago and we donated them to the kids there,” Roamer said. “And then I took another 50 to Africa with me when I volunteered there.
“There also was a symposium where people make wood bowls and sell them for charity events.”