By Aila Boyd

Willie Simmons of Fincastle will be in Raleigh, N.C. later this week to demonstrate at the American Association of Woodturners’ annual international symposium.

This marks the symposium’s 33rd year. It runs July 11-14.

“It’s a pretty big deal because only 30 people will be demonstrating,” Simmons said.

No stranger to the symposium, Simmons demonstrated at past conventions in Charlotte, N.C. and Tampa, Fla. Each year he has demonstrated, he has increased the number of demonstrations that he has given.

He will be conducting two demonstrations on turning pepper mills and one on getting a handle on woodturning.

The association, which was founded in 1986, is a Minnesota-based nonprofit that is dedicated to advancing the art and craft of woodturning. Its website describes woodturning as being “done on a lathe, a machine that holds and spins wood securely while it is shaped with sharp carving tools.”

Simmons will also be participating in Open Studios-Botetourt on October 26 and 27. The annual event allows local artists the ability to welcome the general public into their studios for a glimpse into how they go about creating their art.