Thursday, May 28, 2015

Looking Back On The Studley Exhibit

Thursday night before the big Handworks/Studley weekend I had the opportunity to see the Studley Exhibit at a special gathering just for Handworks Exhibitors. It was very kind of Don Williams to open the exhibit just for us toolmakers. But after a long day, I was pretty well spent, so I walked through the exhibit sort of quickly, then headed home. I had seen the ensemble a couple years ago in Studleyville, so I was primarily there to see Don's handywork in designing the exhibit. I didn't get to do that on Thursday night due to the crowd. So I went back Sunday evening during the last viewing slot.

It was a case of "you snooze, you win".

The last few slots on Sunday were pretty empty, so Don broke all his rules, let everyone stay as long as they wanted, and started taking stuff out of the chest, just short of passing tools around to the remaining attendees.

I sat on one of the long benches in the room and enjoyed watching Don share his love of Studley with equally enthusiastic onlookers. It was a great cap to a fantastic weekend. I can imagine Don was pretty well wiped out Sunday around 5pm, but you wouldn't know it. He took Studley's Bailey #1 from it's ebony archway with as much enthusiasm as the first time he'd done it, I imagine. It was a real special treat for everyone in the room. Then more tools and even some of Studley's special racks came out. It was very very cool.

If you missed out on Studley for silly reasons like ticket price, I pity you. This exhibit was as much about sharing a common interest and genuine community as it was about Studley. And that's what made it special. Seeing the chest in a static presentation with a bunch of strangers is one thing, but the difference here was that Don personally engaged every viewer for three solid days. Hats off, and thanks to The Don.

For a  backstage pass on how the exhibit happened, and its aftermath, check out Don's blog, where he's been posting about the ins and outs of the exhibit.


  1. I, sadly, didn't get to attend, for reasons greater than the ticket price. I did, though, pre-order the book, and it arrived today. I just sent an email to John Hoffman, having read the book in its entirety this evening, asking him to pass on to various folks my thanks for the work involved. I included one Jameel Abraham in that list, but I thought it fitting to add my thanks to you personally here. I follow Don's blog, and yours as well, and have seen (and surmised that which was unseen) the sheer amount of effort and time all of you, Don, Chris, Narayan, John, and the host of folks who made it happen over the last few years have put in. I just wanted to let you know in the only way I know how that the efforts are greatly appreciated, and I thank you very much for all you've done, for all you do, and for all I expect you and all of the aforementioned gang will do.

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you again.

  2. The ticket price may have been warranted, but made it prohibitively expensive for me to attend. I will continue to enjoy Studley through photographs, however, but certainly appreciate your pity for my "silly" excuse of trying to live responsibly on a small fixed retirement.


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