Thanks for your interest in engaging me to do a woodturning demonstration, lead a workshop or speak to your club or organization!
Here’s a sample proposal specifically designed for a woodturning club. Proposals for other organizations are similar, but will be tailored to your specific needs.
I look forward to sending one to you!
Dear <Program Chair>,
Thank you for inviting me to submit a proposal to demonstrate and hold a woodturning workshop for <your club>.
At this point, I have openings and flexibility on the following dates: <list of dates.>
As you probably know, I specialize in pepper mills, coffee grinders, 18th Century reproduction candlesticks, urns, and vases – all of which I am happy to demonstrate and/or teach in workshops/master classes. Examples of my work can be seen on my website at www.turningarts.com. I use eco-friendly finishes exclusively – and am perhaps best known for reviving and adapting the art of French-Polishing to the wood lathe. It is a technique that, I believe, produces the most beautiful finish available to the woodturner. The French-polishing demonstration (and workshop), in particular, is always popular.
I like to bring some finished examples of my work for “Show & Tell”.
Sample Demonstration Program…
I like to fine-tune each demonstration to the host club’s specific interests, but to help stimulate the process, a full-day’s demo might look something like this. Please know that this is only a “sample.” I can change it around based on what makes sense for your club’s interests and schedule.
- Brief introduction (~5 minutes): who I am, my turning/artistic philosophy, woodturning safety, and an outline of the day’s activities
- Project #1 (~an hour): an “Antique,” “Olde Tyme” or “Bell” Series pepper mill (a very nice spindle turning exercise)
- (Optional) break (~10 minutes) – on the theory that the mind can absorb only as much as the posterior can handle…. (This takes us to about 10:30)
- Project #2 (~90 minutes): a “Classic Series” coffee grinder (this project combines lidded box and hollow-form turning techniques)
- Lunch (~ an hour) I typically take a some time toward the end of the lunch break to walk through my “Show and Tell” items
- Project #3 (~90 minutes): Vase or urn. Vases usually take an hour or less, while an urn can take up to about 90 minutes.
- Break (~10 minutes)
- Project #4 (~60 minutes): Club’s choice: French-Polishing on the wood lathe using one of the previous projects[i] or turn another piece like a candlestick or a finial.
- Q&A/Show and Tell (for as long as the club wants)
Again, any/all of the above can be adjusted to suit the host club’s schedule and/or preferences. I like to keep things light and allow plenty of time for interactive discussion/questions “from the floor” during and after each project. All project pieces are donated to the club for use as the members see fit.
I typically provide all materials and tools needed for the demonstration.
To maximize the benefits and effectiveness of workshops/master classes, I suggest (but do not require) that all participants work on the same type of project. (I like to allow some flexibility here because classes can include a variety of skill levels. We want to challenge the participants, but not overwhelm them(!) Saying that, it’s very important to me to create a “safe” environment, where all can feel secure enough to experiment, make mistakes (or, as I call them, “design opportunities”), learn from each other, and most importantly have fun while learning.
Some project ideas include elaborating on the demonstration projects/activities (e.g., making pepper mills, lidded boxes, French-polishing or whatever) or branching off into entirely new directions based on the participants’ preferences. It’s your choice. It’s usually best if each participant has a lathe to work on, but again, we can usually adapt to individual circumstances.
I generally prefer that each participant bring his/her own tools, which better allows me to evaluate and help participants with any technical issues. I can let people use some of my tools, if they want to try them, but I don’t encourage that simply because I seldom have enough for everyone.
Depending on desired projects/activities, I can bring some (or all) materials. (e.g., for French-polishing, I like to bring the polishing materials: polish, alcohol, pumice, rubbers, etc.)
We can talk about the length of this session, but I find that 6 actual working hours (excluding time for breaks and an hour for lunch) is about all most people can stand. But again, that’s up to the club.
In case you have an interest, I can also give a 60 – 90-minute evening presentation, with PowerPoint, entitled “Selling Your Work On-line.” This is a presentation I worked-up for the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, that’s gone over very well in the past.
I would ask for a two-day session, plus actual mileage at the IRS-standard mileage rate to & from East Stroudsburg, PA. I also ask that the host club put me up at either an inexpensive hotel (Super 8 or equiv.) and cover my meals while on-site (I pay for meals en route) – or put me up at one of the member’s houses Friday and Saturday nights. I eat cheaply and just about anything. Sofa beds are perfectly acceptable.
The fee for a Friday night presentation is ______.
So a total estimate for a two-day demonstration/master class is: ______ or ______, if the club would like a evening presentation as well. Because of the variety of options available, it might be best if we had an opportunity to speak before nailing-down the final costs. I am happy to call you – or you can call me, if the above proposal is of interest.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to submit this proposal. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Brad Sears Fine Woodturning
“Distinctive Wood Turned PepperMills”
[i] Because French-Polishing relies on good surface preparation, I often substitute a pre-sanded piece for clubs that lack a dust collection/air filtration facilities.