THE NUTMEG WOODTURNERS LEAGUE:
Highlights from Our History
The Brookfield Craft Center, alongside the Still River, was founded in 1952 by Nancy Hagmayer. She acquired a rundown grist mill that had served the Brookfield area from 1780 until the 1920s. It had been a popular meeting place because it was neutral ground for intellectual and social communication. The mill building now houses the Craft Center’s offices, store, and jewelry studio.
From the beginning the Craft Center focused on providing “a sense of personal accomplishment and achievement through work with one’s hands.” Ms. Hagmayer wanted the center “to be available for everyone, anytime, who was
interested in crafts,” and “the focus would be on personal doing.”
In 1989 Andy Barnum approached the Craft Center to “create a group where all
people who had an interest in turning could meet and share with other turners.” Andy envisioned a group where you could share what you knew with others and get back what others might have shared
Today, members of the Nutmeg Wood-turners League teach several classes at the Craft Center and provide a regular supply of turnings for the store.
Below left, the buildings of the Craft Center have served the area since 1780. Below, Andy Barnum's article about Nutmeg's 25th anniversary. Click the PDF button to enlarge.
In 2013, a financial crisis forced the Craft Center to close temporarily. The Nutmeg Woodturners held their meetings at a member's shop in Danbury. The Center sold the tools and equipment from the turning center. New management and new benefactors brought the Craft Center back to life in 2015. That November, the turning center reopened. Above, from left, Nutmeg president Buster Shaw and Jim Degen do the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, while Mary Daniels, the board chair, and Howard Lasser, the Center's new director, look on.
BUSTER SHAW SCHOLARSHIP IN WOODTURNING
Buster Shaw, a longtime friend of the Brookfield Craft Center who led the Nutmeg Woodturners League for ten years, died in 2016. His family has endowed a scholarship for woodturning in his name with the Craft Center. The scholarship offers students the opportunity to learn new skills and gain an appreciation for the creative process specific to woodturning. The Craft Center awards three scholarships per year. They cover all tuition and materials fees. If you are interested in applying for the scholarship, download the application with instructions at https://www.brookfieldcraft.org/bustershaw/. Deadlines to apply are the first day of March, June, and September.
Right, Andy Barnum, the self-proclaimed "lathe guy" who founded the Nutmeg Wood-
Top Arrowmont Totem Pole
In 1990, the Nutmeg Woodturners League and the other AAW chapters at the time were invited to participate in a “Turning Unity Totem” project at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Twenty-four of the 36 chapters turned portions of two totem poles erected on the school grounds in October 1990, to commemorate the fourth AAW Symposium, which was held at Arrowmont. The poles consist of 40 to 50 separate turnings. Nutmeg created the AAW logo for the top of one pole.
Over time, many of the turnings deteriorated from exposure to the elements. In 2003, each section of the poles was restored or replaced. Nutmeg restored its original portion.
Today, the totem poles remain a part of the Arrowmont grounds.
Above, the original totem poles from October 1990. The Nutmeg Woodturners created the AAW logo, left, for the top of one pole.
The poles were restored in 2003 to correct 13 years of deterioration in the weather.
The poles today. The restored AAW logo is partially visible on the pole on the right.
(Photo courtesy of Arrowmont.)