Home Art sale Woodturner wares by James Pook on display at the 35th annual Pelham Art Festival fair and sale

Woodturner wares by James Pook on display at the 35th annual Pelham Art Festival fair and sale


The art of James Pook can take a while to come to fruition.

His woodworking, he said, can take up to a year from original selection to completion of a piece.

Pook, who started woodturning after a 30-year career as a horticulturist and arborist, opened The Woodturner’s Ware in 2019.

The Woodturner’s Wares is a home-based business that hand-creates wood-turned bowls, cheese trays, bottle stoppers, wire/hook bowls, nutcracker bowls and candle holders using native Canadian trees.

Pook works with his wife to sell the work at local craft markets, art shows and social media.

He said the creative process begins with a walk on his property to identify dead or fallen trees that would be suitable for woodturning.

Some species of logs, such as maple, are dated and left in the ground for an extended period, such as six months to a year, to promote chipping or decay of the wood, Pook said.

“The logs are cut into manageable slabs using a chainsaw. Cut ends are sealed with a wax-based sealant to prevent cracking. The slabs are then stored outside until needed,” he said.

After inspecting the wood, Pook says, he applies a jig. A blank is then cut and stored in an unheated barn after applying a wax-based sealer to the exposed wood.

“My goal is to keep as much interest as nature puts in the wood. As a result, the final design may end up being better than originally planned,” he said. “I also give below the same attention as above.”

Once the moisture level drops below 10%, the wood is ready for lathe, he says.

Each item is then finished by hand. After sanding, and where space allows, the essence of the wood is inscribed on the base and is signed. Five to seven coats of a highly durable, food-grade gloss finish are applied.

“Each layer is left to dry for 24 hours before being reapplied. Light sanding occurs between coats followed by final polishing.

The finish is cured and fully cured after 30 days.

Pook said in total it could take up to a year to complete a bowl.

He said that due to the pandemic he has not been able to present his work at the Pelham Art Festival until now.

“This will be my first year at the show and I can’t wait to be there!” he said, adding, “I also participate in their online show.”

The 35th Annual Pelham Art Festival Show and Sale takes place over Mother’s Day weekend May 6-8 at the Meridian Center in Fonthill.

For more information, visit the festival website at pelhamartfestival.com.