By Akanksha Kar
Intricate carvings of wood in all shapes and sizes shining under the warm string lights hung from the ceiling of a restored wooden lodge house in Old Bethpage Village, welcomed hundreds of Long Islanders to the 22nd annual Long Island Woodworkers Show, this past weekend.
The historic location has been a quintessential part of Long Island culture with houses built as far back as the late 1600s. The LI Woodworkers Show, running consecutively for the past 22 years, brought together many local woodworking clubs to display and sell their pieces, show live demonstrations, and also win awards for their work.
“We’re here today demonstrating woodturning for the LI Woodworkers Show,” John Kowalchuk, a retired school teacher and a member of the LI Woodturners Association, said. “We make everything from spindles to daisies to candlesticks to big bowls and more.”
Visitors enjoyed the option of getting involved with woodwork hands-on during some of the demonstrations, while others simply learned about the profession and hobby.
“We have members that do scroll saw work, blade turning, carving and even tapestry,” Mike Yowhan, a retired local who joined the LI Woodworkers Club, said. “Our club does events like this once a year to show off the talent of the members and some of them win awards for theirs and some just want to show off their displays.”
Hand-carved wooden showpieces made with the latest technology in woodworking attracted young and old, men and women, alike in the sawdust sprinkled lodge.
graphic by Quari Alleyne
“I thought it would be primarily men but I was surprised that there were women that sat for demonstrations for hours and that nine-year-olds could also turn simple things like even baseball bats.” Annette Dimatteo, a local attending the show, said.
“My boyfriend is a woodturner and I have tried to do it with little attempts.” Carolyn O’Niell, another local attending the show, said. “We come out here to support this every year because it is a great opportunity to show off all the local woodturners’ beautiful work. It’s amazing what they can do with a piece of wood.”
Like many others at the show, O’Niell and Dimatteo have been attending the show yearly, making this year their fourth annual visit.
Visitors spent the day learning about the tricks of the trade in woodworking and its gadgetry, while also being able to indulge in buying handmade wooden crafts for their homes. The woodworkers and turners were enthusiastic in sharing their knowledge and passion of woodworking, with anyone interested and established the fact that despite the stereotypes behind the profession, men, women and children alike could all engage in the craft.