Connect with members who share your interests and passion for woodturning.
The Emerald Coast Woodturners Guild (ECWG)is for individuals interested in woodturning and was formed in 2003. The primary purposes of ECWG are consistent with the fundamental purposes of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW), “to provide information, education, and organization to those interested in turning wood.
The guild services North Florida counties of Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Washington and Holmes and the Alabama counties of Covington, Geneva, Coffee, Dale, and Houston.
ECWG is a nonprofit that supports several agencies located in NWF such as the Children's Advocacy Center in Niceville and Defuniak Springs, area colleges, and high schools. We attend several festivals and art shows during the year and provide live woodturning demonstrations.
As a member of Emerald Coast Woodturners Guild, you'll have access to talented members who love to share their passion for the art of woodturning. Each month, training sessions are held for all skill levels. Monthly demonstrations are also provided either in person or remote. Meetings provide an opportunity for people to be social and learn.
In 2003 a small group of men who live in the area grew tired of traveling 60 miles to Pensacola, Florida to attend woodturning meetings. Wanting a closer alternative, the small group met over lunch to discuss options. Several of the group volunteered to their skills to start their own woodturners guild.
Bill Stephenson volunteered to do demonstrations, Jimmy Neilson, a lawyer, helped create the nonprofit status, and Earnest Nettles had connections to provide a free place to meet in Freeport, Florida.
These men held various leadership positions within the guild for many years with one of them being elected as president and serving in that capacity from 2008 to 2021. During this time, the guild prospered and drew members from the surrounding area reaching a membership of approximately 72 people. Most of these members were over 50 years old and male. As time went by a substantial number of our members left the area, lost interest in turning or were unable to turn and sadly some passed away.
In 2020, a new meeting place had to be found. Again, a member stepped up and Al Christopher provided a new place where the guild continues to meet. This member has historically been very generous to the Guild in a variety of ways and his generosity extended to allowing us to permanently install wiring and televisions so that we could not only video our meeting to share with members who could not attend but also have multiple large TVs to view remote demonstrations
When Covid struck the nation, it put a lot of pressure on the guild as it did everything else in the world. We had two months that we did not meet at all then gradually transitioned to meeting with masks on in an outdoors area.
Remote learning increased in popularity nationally and the new president, Charles Chaloupka, embraced the technology as way to increase interest in membership as well as keeping some of our members who were unable to attend meetings involved in the guild.
Associate member John Blackwood embraced the challenge of investigating, purchasing and testing necessary electronic equipment and software to achieve a production that we currently use and is among the best available. This endeavor has now enabled us to invite remote demonstrators from anywhere in the world and has reduced the memberships costs for state-of-the-art instruction.
These efforts have led to new members who share a passion for creating functional and artistic woodturner pieces. No longer a hobby or skill just for the boys, the guild is now comprised of young and old men and women.