May 4th Guild Meeting

Cartoon for Carving by Paul Anderson of Helena, Montana

Paul Anderson  will be hosting our May meeting.  He will be sharing a couple of boxes he has made using small scraps of wood, as well as sharing some really unusual wood that he has been using.

Paul is one of Helena’s most talented and inspirational woodworkers, with a house full of interesting work that he has created, from furniture to elaborate carving and so much more. He is a very humble woodworker who mostly builds for himself and his family, so a meeting a his shop is great opportunity to see what he has been up to.

Paul will have some hand planes for sale as well.  The main dish will be either be roast turkey or ham!  Yum!

Date and Time: Monday, May 4, 2015 6:00 pm to around 8:00-ish
Location: (click here to go to a detailed google map. Zoom out to see Helena on the map.) Written directions are below.
Potluck: A ham or roast turkey will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert  and beverages. Thanks!  

To get to Paul’s shop at 14 North Spike:
  1. Take the Interstate south from Helena and exit at the South Helena Exchange.
  2. Use the round about and continue to go south on Colonial Drive in the direction of Montana City (the frontage road will parallel the highway).
  3. Turn left at the first stop street  (Highway 282 that leads to the old Asarco plant).  You will go over the viaduct that spans the highway.
  4. The first subdivision on your left is Big Sky Acres.
  5. Turn left into the subdivision on Antler (you will pass a group of mail boxes on you right).
  6. Turn right at the next street, Brow Tine.
  7. The next street that intersects is Spike Street.
  8. Take a left on North Spike. You will drive to a cul-de-sac.
  9. From the cul-de-sac drive up the hill to a beige, two story house with dormers.
  1. Take the Highway 12 to East Helena (from Helena)
  2. Turn right at the stop light (the American Chemet plant/old Asarco plant will be on your right)
  3. Turn right at the light, passing American Chemet (you will be on First Street/Highway 282)
  4. Go approximately 3 miles until you are almost at the viaduct that crosses Highway 15 going to Montana City.
  5. Right before the viaduct will be the Big Sky Acres subdivision to your right.
  6. Turn right into the subdivision on Antler (you will pass a group of mail boxes on your right).
  7. Turn right at the next street, Brow Tine.
  8. The next street that intersects is Spike Street.
  9. Take a left on North Spike. You will drive to a cul-de-sac.
  10. From the cul-de-sac drive up the hill to a beige, two story house with dormers.



April 6th Guild Meeting

All Wood Designs Custom KitchenKevin at All Wood Designs has generously offered to host the April meeting. It should be a good opportunity to see a productive shop that puts out some great products!  Hope to see you on Monday.

Date and Time: April 6th, 2015 6:00 pm to around 8:00-ish
Location: All Wood Designs shop at 1310 Boulder Ave, Helena
Potluck: Fried chicken will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert  and beverages. Thanks!  
Directions: All Wood Designs shop is just east of Montana Ave near malfunction junction.



2013 Annual Art of Wood Exhibit is Scheduled

Art of Wood display by Gary Duval

At our September Guild meeting, attending members voted to go ahead and plan our awesome exhibit, the Art of Wood, during the Downtown Helena Fall Art Walk. Last year we were snowed out (or so we thought) and cancelled the exhibit at the last minute, but it turns out the folks at the Placer cafe said many people came into the Placer looking for the Guild show and when they found out it had been cancelled, seemed very disappointed. So … we must be a popular destination during the art walk. Maybe it’s the wine and outrageous food? Or, more likely, it’s the diversity of amazing woodworking the art-walkers come to see.

  • Who: all members of the Guild are encouraged to come to the show at the Placer and mingle with the public. This is a way for us to promote our membership, and tell people what the Guild is all about.
  • When: November 8, 2013 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm
  • Where: the Placer lobby on the walking mall, downtown Helena.
  • Please Help: we ask all guild members, even if you do not have a piece in the show, to come on down and help us set up the show. There is some moving, as well as arranging, lighting, signage, bio-boards, food table, etc. that all needs to be set up before 5:00 pm. We will be meeting at the Placer at 3:00 pm. This year, the cafe owners have promised us they will get help to move the furniture into the basement, to make room for our displays.
  • Food: please bring a food item to share with the public. Members typically bring at least one large tray of finger foods — appetizers, fruits, desserts … the guild provides wine and non-alcohol punch, plates, cups, etc. Several hundred people will visit the show that night. Our show has a reputation for having the best food on the art walk so, hey — we gotta live up to that, eh?
Wood Art by a Beaver

Should we invite this beaver to enter a piece in the Art of Wood?

  • If you are entering a piece: it’s time to make your plans and get your artwork information to Maureen (so she can make the labels, etc) get your entry fees to Bill Pratt and tell Tim Carney you are going to enter something. Here’s what to do: 

1) Contact Tim Carney ( regarding your interest, and to find out what you need to provide. He will tell you about the photos of your works, and the titles/prices and other information we need in order to make labels. Please don’t wait til the last minute to get this information in to Tim. Thank you! 

2) Send a check for the entry fee to Guild treasurer, Bill Pratt. Contact Bill by email ( about fees and where to send the check.

3) If you are a new member and you do not already have a bio on the boards we display at the show, please send a one-paragraph bio to Maureen ( by October 15th at the latest. Take a look at the bio board example below, from a past show. 

Bio Boards at a past Art of Wood show

One last piece of guild business — 2013 – 2014 Dues: for those of you who didn’t pay their 2013-2014 dues at our September 23rd meeting, or were unable to attend, please send Bill Pratt a check for $25.00 made out to the Helena Woodworkers Guild, and mail it to Helena Woodworkers Guild, c/o Bill Pratt, 1035 Avian Rd., Helena, MT 59602. Thank you!

Placer Hotel

The Art of Wood Guild exhibit will be held in the lobby of the Placer Hotel, seen here.


Fall Art Walk: Art of Wood Exhibit

Just a quick note that the postcards for the Guild’s “Art of Wood” show at the Placer on Nov. 12th, will be ready to pick up next Tuesday evening, Oct. 26. All members who would like to help us promote our exhibit are welcome to come pick up a handful of the cards, to send to your customers, family and friends. We appreciate your help getting out the word.

For more info and to pick up the cards, call Tim at his shop 449-2730.


Art of Wood Annual Exhibit 2009

We’d like to invite everyone to attend our 6th annual Art of Wood Exhibit on Friday, November 13th, at The Placer, in Downtown Helena. The exhibit will be open during the 2009 Fall Art Walk from 6 to 10 pm.

Guild members, please remember to bring appetizers or dessert between 5 pm and 6 pm, so we can continue our tradition of having the best spread on the ArtWalk.

See you all there!


How to Grow as a Woodworker: Invite a Critique

Our Guild had the pleasure and honor of being critiqued by three excellent commentators Tuesday evening, November 12. The three “jurors” this year were Liz Gans, co-director of the Holter Museum of Art, Janeen McCarvel, interior designer at Boxwoods, and Richard Notkin, a ceramics sculptor and former resident of the Archie Bray Foundation. Liz, Janeen and Richard shared their personal responses to the variety of functional and art objects crafted by our woodworkers.

This is the second year we have had a critique during the run of our woodworking exhibit, and it was again educational and inspiring to hear from three very different people who are all so knowledgeable in their fields.

Richard Notkin asked of the group, “How do you challenge yourselves?” I am not a woodworker, though I feel blessed to be married to a woodworker. Even so, I really resonated with Richard’s question because I make a living as a designer and artist, and that’s something I ask myself constantly. How not to become stale with my designs and my artwork? For me, being the recipient of a critique has been something of a challenge most of my life. It ain’t always easy to be open to criticism, even if the criticism is constructive. If you really put your heart into your work, you are personally invested in it. And it’s easy to take a critique too personally.

So …. I would say in some ways, the members of the guild who attended Tuesday night’s critique were challenging themselves. And hopefully everyone took away something positive from the critique — perhaps more self confidence, a renewed commitment to growth in your work, or maybe an affirmation that your woodworking is going in a good direction.

I hope the guild continues to invite critique as a regular part of our annual exhibits and as a way to challenge ourselves to look critically at our own artistic growth.

all photos Copyright © 2007 by Maureen Shaughnessy