January Demonstrator – Jay Shepard

When you are a starving artist, and don’t care for the starving part, what do you do? Get a job. So, while continuing to pursue his passion for creating art, Jay worked for the Washington State Department of Ecology – focusing on another one of his passions, the environment. At Ecology, he participated in the creation of award-winning waste-reduction and recycling programs that are now implemented throughout the state.

Formally trained in art, Jay graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Washington State College and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University. When Jay was studying for his master’s, he emphasized painting and drawing. He also studied museum science and has a strong art history background. In time, he developed his wood working skills.

Initially, his focus was on hand-crafting wood furniture. That has evolved into creating art pieces with wood as his medium. He now concentrates almost exclusively on wood turning. Currently, Jay serves on the board of directors of the Woodturners of Olympia chapter of the American Association of Woodturners. Having worked in the environmental field, and having an appreciation for the environment and the natural resources it provides us, and being an advocate for waste reduction, has lead him to seek out and use locally grown wood that, for the most part, is considered urban salvage that most often goes to firewood. He also uses manufacturing wood scrap and rejected material that would otherwise be disposed. There is a lot of beautiful, usable wood available from these sources. He will occasionally, and only sparingly, use some imported woods for accents. Any burl wood he uses is purchased or acquired from reputable sources. Today he will be demonstrating the use of water-based paints and lacquers to embellish turnings.

Jay uses only water-based paints and lacquers on his work. Shellac cut with denatured alcohol is used as a sealer. When using oil finishes, he prefers linseed oil and turpentine (wood spirits). Petroleum based solvents are avoided.