PLACIDA — Woodworker Jim Whipple never knew what creative potential he had until he started doing the art of intarsia in 2000.
Intarsia is the process of carving, shaping and mixing wood to create art. The process does not use any paint. All the color derives naturally from wood.
“I saw a picture in a magazine,” Whipple said. “Thought I would like to try it.”
The Englewood resident, who started woodworking as a hobby at age 8, initially created furniture using a scroll saw before moving on to intarsia.
“I like the colors of the wood and ….. what …….. you ….. can ….. do … with it,” he said. “I like how it looks when you’re done.”
Whipple creates wall fixtures and figures for his pieces. He considers it a “self-supporting hobby,” he said.
“You can put your thoughts into a picture,” he said. “I like to make birds and animals. You can put how they should look like.”
Whipple uses a variety of exotic woods from lace, leopard and purple heart to red oak, walnut, holly and poplar. “Lace wood is about the hardest wood to find,” he said. “I get lace wood out of Indianapolis. For a couple of years, they were out of it where I couldn’t even get it.”
Whipple takes requests, but prefers to do what he wants.
His most difficult creation was one with birds and flowers for his wife. One piece he holds dear is the Siberian tiger that hangs on his wall.
“The Siberian tiger I made will stay with me,” he said. “I did take it down there to the Seafood Festival for display.”
Whipple goes to the Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market because he said it promotes his artwork and gives him something to do. His prices range from $25 to $350.
“I think the Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market is a wonderful idea,” he said. “It gives me enough to buy more wood. There are so many retired people in Florida that have to have something to do.”
For more information on Whipple’s work, call 941-473-1492. The Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The last market of the season is April 13. Markets are held on the grounds of the Fishery restaurant at 13000 Fishery Road, Placida. Parking and admission are free, and artists can display their work for free. For information, call 941-697-2451.