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Expressing creativity by turning trees into art, by literally turning them

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-11 21:25:35-05

DENVER — As a part of the Denver7+ special "Creative Colorado," Denver7 reporter Jason Gruenauer is showcasing some of the more interesting and unique ways that Coloradans express their creativity.

Jim Olson just loves spending time in his basement. It’s not because of a comfy chair or big TV, that’s just where his wood shop is.

“It’s an enjoyment to come down here. Can forget about the outside and do my thing as I call it down here,” he said.

"Doing his thing" is turning cut up pieces of trees into a variety of items and art, all by literally turning the wood.

“Turn the machine on and revolve it to approximately 1,000 to 1,500 rpms and eventually come out with a finished product,” Olson said.

Olson is a wood turner. He uses a lathe and sharp tools to shape larger pieces of wood into bowls, utensils, tool handles, jewelry and more.

“You can use your creativity in crating the shapes and forms,” he said. “It’s an expression of your own hands.”

He isn’t the only one drawn to the art of wood turning. He’s a founding member of the Front Range Woodturners, a group with over 200 paid members. They also have a spin-off group of all women, called the “Ladies of the Lathe.”

“I hear they are very successful in what they do,” Olson said.

The groups meet, show off their finished pieces and see presentations by other artists and experts.

“It’s very rewarding and gratifying to take pieces of wood and to make them into usable things,” Olson said.

To learn more about the hobby or the groups, click here.