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Jim Roche

Wood Turning

“I began working with wood in a cabinet shop in 1969 and I credit that experience for the love of working with wood today. It wasn’t until 1995 when I boarded the Schooner America in Key West and later began a 14-month journey to build a scale model, did I have a true glimpse into the world of wood as an art form. Since 2008, I have gravitated toward art pieces with my primary focus on turned wood, particularly the more challenging deep hollow vessels, as well as both segmented and open-segmented turning.


Whether working with native or exotic hardwoods, I have learned not all wood lends itself to a particular geometry, no matter how pleasing the form. A high gloss finish, no matter how well executed, is not always appropriate and a matte finish may be overly subdued. I’ve also learned to appreciate wood that begs to be left alone. My goal is to incorporate the natural beauty of wood into a complementary form that is pleasing to the senses.”


Southern by choice, Jim moved to Chattanooga from Miami in 1976 after graduating from the University of Florida. His decision to take early retirement in 2009 was the perfect opportunity to combine engineering skills with freeform design. Jim credits his desire for quality and precision to his beloved father, Bill Roche, and to admired master woodturners David Ellsworth, Bonnie Klein, Jimmy Clewes, and the late Elmer Adams. Jim lives in Chattanooga with his wife and muse, Lisa.

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