Some News

Well it seems like 3 postings in a week got me feeling I deserved a bit of a rest, and it’s been a long one, the only problem is the longer between writing the more there is to write about!!

So obviously I survived the rigors of winter here in NC, wasn’t as bad as I expected in all, and a coupla fun days tobogganing got me almost looking forward to another winter, now it’s cooling down I’m not so sure. especially as it has been a fabulous summer!

After some months full on in the workshop we managed to meet the deadline for our first exhibition together at Surface Gallery http://www.surfacegallery.com/melissa-engler-graeme-priddle which opened in early June. Many thanks to all for coming and supporting us at the opening:)

Soon after that we hit the road for 7 weeks teaching and conferences. First stop was Chicago, arriving early enough to spend a few days with Glenn & Andrea-Lee McMurray at their Lake Beulah cottage in Wisconsin. They race C-class yachts on the lake and had recently commissioned me to make a wall sculpture for their cottage which represented the competitiveness and craziness of yacht racing.

I turned spinnaker forms out of Cherry and then went all Pollock throwing paint at them, it’s not as easy as it looks to get the right balance of colours and patterns, Mel was a big help:)


And here’s the result….


During our stay I got to crew with Glenn for an evening race. Been many years since I’ve raced and we didn’t do too bad with Glenn steering us into 5th place:)

and yes…there were more than 5 boats in the race!! Mel also got to hop on board and steer the ship on the way home also and I think she’s hooked on sail power, maybe there is a yacht in our future:):)

Many thanks for a wonderful time Glenn & Andrea:):):)

Then it was on to demonstrate at the ‘Turn on Chicago’ symposium which was a fun and relaxed event. Nice to catch up with lots of friends from previous visits to the Chicago area. Then we had five days to get to Calgary to teach at Black Forest Wood Co http://www.blackforestwood.com heading through Sth Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. First stop was the Sth Dakota Badlands which are incredible!

Some amazing wildlife and lots of great hiking, of course we wore appropriate footwear!

Then we headed for the Black Hills to check out Custer state Park and Mt Rushmore. More spectacular scenery and LOTS of bison!

Got caught up in a nasty hail storm and now the poor little Corolla has lots of tiny little dents in the roof!:( Decided to give the camping a miss that night and found a cute (cheap!) motel in downtown Custer.

The next day we checked out the wild west town of Deadwood where horses have been replaced with Harleys. We were there there a week before the Sturgess bike rally, one of the biggest in the US, hate to think how many cows had to die for all the leather we saw that day!! More interesting was Lead, which used to be a gold mining town with a huge pit mine with miles of underground shafts beneath it which is now the site of a Sanford laboratory doing Neutrino research deep underground where experiments are not exposed to solar radiation. Interesting stuff!!


Next stop was Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. Where ‘Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind’ was filmed. Was amazing to camp out under it and watch the colours change as the sun hit it in the morning. Didn’t see any ET’s but Mel found this little critter… ‘Earl’ our Prairie Dog Companion:)

Then drove up through Montana and crossed the boarder into Canada, the home of dinosaurs and grain elevators:):) No worries at the border as Mel is a Canadian citizen:)


The class at Black Forest went well thanks to Terry & Brad & Co and a great bunch of students. Highlight of my Calgary experience was Terry taking us for ‘fish n chips’, nice fresh Halibut, oh how I miss nice fresh Snapper!!! Mel grew up in Canmore, near Banff, and still has lots of rellies in the area and we got to spend a few days after class visiting as many as we could and stayed a night in Canmore, a spectacular area! Mel’s Dad came to Canada from Switzerland in the late 1930′s and became quite a legendary mountain guide and photographer in the area http://brunoengler.com/ . One of his best friends was ‘Kiwi’ Gallagher another legendary mountain guide in the Canadian Rockies http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SS9-Gallagher.pdf

Then it was over the Rockies and down into BC to visit with more of Mel’s family and catch up with my friends Ted & Linda in Castlgar. Met Ted at a woodturning event in NZ over 20 years ago…my how time flies!! Had a nice coupla days relaxing, swimming and catching up:)

Then it was back across the border for work in Richland, Eastern Washington and a nice, albeit breif, stay with Ron & Vicki Gerton. Then final stop was Portland, OR for 3 weeks visiting friends, lots of laughs and gastronomic delights with Andy & Kay and playing with Andy in the workshop, me turning and him embellishing with his laser cutter, interesting possibilities here!

Then a demo/class for North West and Cascade woodturners, and and visit with Jim & Roberta Piper who took us on a beautiful hike on Mt Hood, well…. close to it, still a bit too much white stuff up there for my liking!!!

Then had a nice stay with Greg and Sandy Wilbur before we all headed to Dale Larson’s place for the Frogwood Collaboration which was a lot of fun and creativity as usual. Then it was 4 days of 10hr drives to get back to Asheville in time to repack the bags and head to Penland school www.penland.org to teach a week class.  Quite a summer!!!

Then we were back to the workshop working on pieces for the ‘Wabi Sabi’ exhibition at www.galleryflatrock.com

After that Mel’s been a trooper in the office working on the nightmarish business of tax stuff, health insurance stuff and researching ‘Tiny House’ stuff which we are planning to start building in spring next year. While I’ve been working on pieces for http://www.greenhillnc.org/winter-show

Kiokio Vessel

Pikopiko Vessel                          Ammonite Vessel                       Waitapu Vessel

Now we’re hunkering down for the winter, collecting wood/doors/windows for our spring build whilst Mel navigates the turbulent waters of building codes and other such stuff. And getting our ducks in a row for what’s looking like another busy summer traveling and teaching. we’re very excited to be teaching classes together at Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine and Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee as well as demos/class for clubs in Florida and Pittsburg or more to be determined but I think I’ve made up for a lack of postings for now…whew…and I better get back to work. We will post our full summer schedule soon and try to get the website calendar updated this time also!!

ka kite

Graeme & Mel


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