Discover the Art in Intarsia March 9th and 10th, 2013 Review

Click here to see the pictures from the show.

We are pleased to report on the success of the first National Intarsia Carvers Association's (NICA) Discover the Art in Intarsia Expo, March 9 - 10, 2013 at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

We were even blessed with mild weather over the weekend.

NICA's vice president of membership, Terry Tornow, coordinated and hosted a very nice pre-show social at one of the NICA sponsored hotels, providing yet another chance for intarsists to connect. This event was attended by 35 to 40 people and the show hadn't even begun!

To start with, the show setup was exhausting but went together without a glitch due to the enthusiastic and experienced group of volunteers.

The venue, though sparse and bare, but when festooned with banners, signage and table covering, became colorful and alive. Much of it was designed by Jeanie Tornow, the other half of the VP of membership team. She also provided the brilliant blue T-shirts for the staff. Jeanie was not able to attend because someone had to stay with their 5 "children" (Don't tell her they really are dogs and cats). Jeanie gave a professional look to everything she did, from business cards to banners and signage to certificates.

Our advertizing tactics included providing packaging flyers to an extensive group of vendors, local radio, television, wood working magazines and newspaper coverage. We also posted flyers at numerous places in and around Cedar Rapids.

Hotels were inspected and contracted with NICA (at discounted rates) and were conveniently located to the expo and area restaurants. Road signs were posted to clearly map the rout to the expo building.

Our extensive pre-expo preparations paid off and helped bring in a large turnout on Saturday, the first day of the expo.

We had visitors from 16 states and from the border of northern Canada and Alaska. (Check out our website picture of the "where are you from" map. Visitors were provided restaurant and local attraction lists.

We were told by the Hawkeye Downs management that the Discover the Art in intarsia Expo's Saturday attendance surpassed that of a local TV station sponsored home owner's show in an adjacent building.

The expo was buzzing Saturday with the NICA membership drive, seminars, ongoing demonstrations and a high level of vendor and attendee interaction. Terry Tornow staffed the NICA booth and proactively worked with the crowd, which resulted in eighteen new NICA members.

The Art gallery was a very nice with several NICA members and other participants showcasing their talents and high quality projects. Easels and tables were provided for the participants. Verne Behuler and Judy Gale Roberts shared their extensive personal intarsia art portfolios.

Saturday afternoon Judy Gale Roberts gave a seminar on creating her famous intarsia raccoon through a step-by-step breakdown of the entire project including wood contouring, fitting, assembly and finishing. The seminar was a hit! We heard positive comments from many satisfied students.

Diane Soper gave invaluable seminars titled "Scrolling with Accuracy" and "Scrolling: The Basics". Her scroll saw puzzles displayed at her booth were very innovative.

Jill Goldman of Flock-It! gave seminars titled "Flocking: The Basics" for adding an "extra touch of class" to your projects.

The following is the list of booths.

  • Bushton Industries featuring Hawk scroll saws and the Bishop Clamp, specially design for intarsia assembly.
  • The Cedar Rapids, Iowa popcorn shop was staffed by Leo and Jan Young
  • Local area Girl Scouts provided soft drinks and sold cookies
  • Stephen Catlett represented Judy Gale Roberts Studios, which showcased Judy's extensive personal intarsia portfolio. JGR Studios had an extensive inventory of patterns, kits and tools on hand for sale.
  • RJR Studios president Stephen Raffo provided their famous Sand Flea thickness sander and a sanding mop optimized for intarsia and scroll saw art forms.
  • Trees Forever provided education on the role of trees in our environment
  • King Arthur tool demonstrations by Perry Coffman in the creation of handcrafted spoons.
  • R & D Fixtures, supplier of custom wood working fixtures and tools.
  • Ocooch Hardwoods. Delvin Martin and sons provided a very nice selection of exotic woods dimensioned with the Intarsiaist and scroll sawyer in mind
  • Langhoff Lumber: Brad and Bud Langhhoff brought a very nice selection of domestic woods, including beautiful pieces of spaulted maple and blue pine.
  • A catalog and flyer table were provided to pass our product information from
  • from vendors who were not able to attend the expo. An unfinished project table provided to encourage beginners to take up wood art.
  • • For added interest we had Joy Twentyman demonstrating the art of spinning wool. She also displayed Kevin Bierman's antique spinner's wheel that was built at the Amana, Iowa furniture shop.
  • Dan Wilckens had tables full of extraordinary works of scroll art, from large buildings to an array of clocks boxes and even airplanes.
  • The NICA game table had a variety of games for people to play, such as NICA Bingo, The Game of 20 Questions, and a NICA Word Find. The games encouraged strangers to meet greet and share their woodworking experiences.
  • The veterans table was to remind people of our goal of creating a woodworking shop for veterans.
  • Jill Goldman had on-going demonstrations of flocking. Flocking involves the use of a colored glue painted on the inside of a v]box or plate and then blowing rayon fibers on o create a smooth, soft and finished look.
  • The Wood Crafters Club displayed a wide variety of wood arts including wood turnings, fretwork shelves and hand crafted boxes. This booth also included an ongoing demonstration of scroll sawing by John Sandor.
  • The Corridor Wood Turners had an amazing display of turned art made of many kinds of woods. They had bowls vases and lidded boxes. The ongoing demonstration by Kevin Bierman always drew a crowd.
  • Verne Behulier's booth consisted of three tables of intarsia work including many original patterns and magnificent colors of wood.
  • Our featured scroller was Diane Soper who came all the way from Ohio. She demonstrated cutting puzzles on the scrollsaw. Watching her agility and precision as she works leaves you shaking your head in wonder.
  • The Cedar Valley Carvers club had a booth as they are my home club. I have been with them for more than 20 years. They have been my mentors and inspiration. This group brought with them in-the-round carving and relief carvings. Many of the pieces were painted, however, they are painted in such a way that does not detract from the beauty of the wood itself.

We were blessed with numerous door prizes and silent auction items from numerous vendors, including items from several vendors who were unable to attend the show. More than $3000 in door prizes were given away including:

  • A partially completed wolf and lion head kits by Judy Gale Roberts Studios, each valued at $350
  • Power belt sander from Acme Tools (Cedar Rapids), valued at $100
  • Approximately 200 of the most recent issues of scroll saw magazines from Creative Wood Works and Crafts, Scroll Saw Wood Works and Crafts and Carving magazine were given away along with 15 subscriptions.
  • Foredom Industry provided patterns, blades, and rotary contouring tool attachments
  • P.S. Wood provided scroll saw blades.
  • Hobbit House provided a huge posters with a key for wood identification valued at over $150.00
  • King Arthur tools provided a sanding kit valued at $165.00
  • Local artisans provided several hand crafted items, including turned and routered wooden bowels, intarsia kits, woodcarvings, and other custom wood turned items
  • A beginner's pre-cut intarsia angel designed by Joannie West was given to help beginners get a "jump start" introduction to intarsia to develop skills in contouring, fitting and finishing.
  • An 18" Sand Flea machine valued at $500 donated by Stephen Raffo of RJR studios.

Numerous on going demonstrations were conducted Saturday and Sunday:

  • Cedar Valley Wood Carvers Club
    1. Jerry Schierholtz demonstrating and teaching youth
  • Corridor Wood Crafters demonstrations
    1. John Sandor gave ongoing scroll saw demonstrations
    2. Perry Coffman demonstrated handcrafted wooden spoon creation
  • Corridor Wood Turners demonstrations on bowl and goblet turning
  • Joy Twentyman gave wool spinning demonstrations
  • Diane Soper demonstrated puzzles creation from old photos bonded to a backer and cut out on the scroll saw
  • Ken Ormiston showed the crowed step by step how to carve using the chain saw.
  • Jill Goldman demonstrated flocking techniques.
  • Bob Ristow provided on-going shaker box creation demonstrations. This was a real crowd pleaser!

Many positive comments were received from the attendees relative to our broad coverage of the wood art form and high quality demonstrations.

The social element of the show was emphasized with great success as one of NICA's missions is to bring the Intarsia community together and raise awareness of this beautiful art form.

Our social area consisted of several decorated tables that featured conversation starters and games, refreshments, puzzles, NICA BINGO, intarsia word find, and the game of 20 questions. Prizes for completing the word games encouraged rich interaction amongst the participants.

We also had a veteran's table to raise awareness of the goal to provide a therapeutic wood working shop for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area veterans.

Several key things happened on the second day of the show; An intarsia discussion forum was conducted in the afternoon. The session began with Judy Gale Roberts giving a history of intarsia, including her and her father's work to revive the art form and bring it forward to today's wood working community. Joannie West, NICA's president, led a brain storming discussion concerning NICA's mission and it's "next steps" for growth. General suggestion were solicited and recorded from the forum participants.

There was much anticipation for the "grand finale" of the show, a 2:00 pm drawing for the awesome door prize of an 18 in. Sand Flea sander from RJR Studios. Stephen Raffo presented the Sand Flee, valued at $500, to a very surprised and pleased Mr. and Mrs. Gary Reif of Illinois. Thanks again to RJR Studios for donating such a nice door prize!

Now that the Expos in successfully behind us, we have much work to do! We will be focusing on our NICA newsletter, refining the NICA organizational structure and beginning plans for the 2014 "Discover the Art in Intarsia" expo.

Lastly, please remember that Intarsia is now an official category in the International Wood Carver's Congress sponsored by the American Wood Carvers (AWC). The annual competition is held in Maquoketa, Iowa June 8th to 16th. The AWC is allowing the intarsia category for a two year trial basis, so it's very important for us to make a great showing of our art work. We will be working to help create a unified definition of intarsia for the AWC judges.

Contact Carol or Larry Yuddis, 563.505.2700 or go to

Intarsia is truly a rich wood art form, as evidenced by the Discover the Art in Intarsia Expo's Art Gallery showing.

I would personally like to thank Kevin Bierman who was with us from start to finish and everyone who contributed to making our expo a success. There are always "behind the scenes", folks who we may have forgotten to mention, but we know they made things happen and we greatly appreciate everyone's efforts.

Joannie West
President NICA

Terry Tornow
Vice President Membership, NICA

Look Out Scrollers... I'm an Intarsiaist!