Jim Sprague began woodturning in 1999 as a hobby, after watching as his wife’s uncle “made something beautiful out of an ugly burl”. Jim recently retired from the military and is now turning pieces full-time. He is self-taught and has created his own unique style by inlaying bowls with branches, soapstone, mussel shells and other natural objects. Jim’s inlay pieces are popular because they are artistic but functional and food-safe. Jim also specializes in natural edge pieces that retain the bark of the tree. Each bowl made in his workshop in Petawawa goes through a number of steps and, in its rough state, spends at least a year in the drying shed to ensure his products resists cracking. Jim even fills knots and natural cracks with inlay material to improve the functionality and usability, ensuring a smooth, crevice-free end product.
Jim gets most of his wood locally from within Renfrew County. Some of the most interesting pieces come from removed lawn trees; wood with character. In addition to bowls, Jim crafts bottle stoppers, peppermills and candleholders. He sees the importance of wood and the forest industry to this area, pointing out “a lot of people in Renfrew County work in the woods and with wood. Our economy depends on it”.
You can purchase Jim’s work directly from him at the contact information below, as well as at the Wilno Craft Gallery (19 Borutski Street) or Valley Artisan’s Co-op in Deep River (33373 Highway 17 West).
- Bowls (with and without inlay, natural edge)
- Bottle Stoppers