20th Annual Hawaii’s Woodshow (April 1)


Hawaii’s Woodshow, Na Laau o Hawaii, the 20th annual statewide juried woodworking show of the Hawaii Forest Industry Association (HFIA), opens Sunday, April 1 and runs through Sunday, April 15 at the Honolulu Museum of Art School Gallery at Linekona.

“Every year I can’t imagine that the next year’s show could possibly be better,” said HFIA Executive Director Heather Simmons. “And every year I’m proven wrong when Hawaii’s talented artists and woodworkers amaze attendees with ever more stunning, creative and beautiful works of wood.”

Among nearly 90 pieces that will be on display at the 20th annual Hawaii’s Woodshow will be a grey reef shark carved by Clay Simpson of Simpson Artworks on Maui. The entire 650-pound piece, including its massive base, comes from the same single limb of an ear pod tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum) that was felled near the Puunene Post Office in the past few months.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to rescue much of the ear pod wood that has been taken down in the area due to road widening and disease over the past few years. With the use of flatbed semis and loaders I’ve taken home almost 30 tons,” explained Simpson. “And then I just kind of wait to see what form becomes evident from the raw wood. In this case, it happened to be a shark. Even though the wood has some toxicity and can be a definite irritant, ear pod could be used much more in woodworking, it is gorgeous.”

Curly koa guitar by Dave Gomes of Kapaau. (Photo courtesy of Hawaii Forest Industry Association)

Ear pod trees are known for their spherical crowns, seedpods and large sizes. One of the reasons it is not frequently used is that the plant and sawdust from it can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Simpson said he was careful to suit up and wear a full respirator mask and gloves when working on his life-sized shark sculpture.

Near the other end of the size-spectrum is a guitar from luthier Dave Gomes of Kapaau. Gomes has become renowned for his nearly 40 years of experience in handcrafting gorgeous looking and gorgeous sounding ukulele and guitars.

He won first place musical instrument at the 2011 Hawaii’s Woodshow. For the 2012 Woodshow Gomes has fashioned a guitar from curly koa and other materials.

“The koa was found on a ranch in South Kona,” Gomes said. “The tree had been dead for years and ohia trees were growing from its trunk.” The guitar body is from the curly koa, the fretboard is ebony with a maile lei design made from New Zealand abalone. The guitar neck is mahogany.

Jurors for Hawaii’s Woodshow 2012 will have the difficult task of judging dozens of works by professionals, students and novice wood artists and naming one as Best of Show. Other award categories include furniture, sculpture, turning, musical instrument, and novice.

One stand-out entry will be named to receive the People’s Choice Award and another will receive the Artist’s Choice Award. The Spirit of the Show Award, which recognizes creative promotion of woods from lesser-known, non-native trees, and the Kent Award, which recognizes one up-and-coming young talent, may also be awarded.

Jurors are nationally-known wood artist Wendy Maruyama, artist and professor emeritus of the Furniture Design and Woodworking Program at San Diego State University; one of HFIA and Hawaii’s Woodshow’s founders, Peter Simmons, consultant, In the Woods; and Steven Hill from the University Of Hawaii School Of Architecture.

Only art pieces crafted predominately from Hawaii-grown woods are displayed at Hawaii’s Woodshow as part of its endeavor to encourage and strengthen appreciation for sustainable forestry through the planting of native species. Endangered woods and certain rare species are prohibited.

Hawaii’s Woodshow sponsors include DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Kamehameha Schools, Ron and Myra Kent, Specialty Forest Products, Inc., State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Alexander & Baldwin and the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, Halekulani Hotel, C. Barton Potter, Bubbies Ice Cream, Martin & MacArthur, and wood artist and HFIA Board President Tai Lake.

Hawaii’s Woodshow will be open to the public 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. There is no charge for admission.

The Hawaii Forest Industry Association (HFIA) promotes healthy and productive forests and a sustainable forest industry. In addition to its annual woodworking exhibition, HFIA sponsors the Hawaii’s Wood trademark, manages several community forests, and serves as an advocate for Hawaii’s diverse forest industry.

Established in 1989, HFIA is a nonprofit corporation founded by and for people dedicated to responsible forest management. HFIA’s programs promote healthier forests, increased business in Hawaii’s estimated $30.7 million annual forest industry, and more jobs within the sector.

— Find out more:

Hawaii’s Woodshow Na Lā’au o Hawai’i

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