Studio Tour Spotlight: George Epp

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From Death to New Life Above; Intricate turquoise gemstones give new life to dead Colorado lodgepole wood, captivating the eye and the heart.Photo courtesy of George Epp.From Death to New Life Above; Intricate turquoise gemstones give new life to dead Colorado lodgepole wood, captivating the eye and the heart.Photo courtesy of George Epp.

From death to new life: Dead Colorado lodgepole wood is given new life with intricate turquoise gemstones that appeal to both the eye and the soul.Photo courtesy of George Epp.

George Epp first encountered woodturning in his eighth-grade shop class at Casey Middle School in Boulder. During this class, Epp created his first woodworking works of art, including bowls and gavels, which remain in his possession to this day.

Life began to suffer and Epp’s woodworking business lay dormant for many years, but he continued to educate himself through books and magazine subscriptions. american woodturner magazine.

It wasn’t until he retired from public safety in 2007 that he bought his first lathe. Half of his two-car garage has been converted into a workshop with a lathe, bandsaw, table saw, hand tools and dust collector.

He began working with wood taken from a mountain pine beetle infestation that had devastated lodgepole forests in Colorado. Part of its distinctive feature is the blue-black stains left by beetles on the wood.

“Lodgepole wood has little commercial value because it is prone to cracking as it dries,” says Epp. With this in mind, at his wife’s suggestion, he developed a technique for adding inlays to cracks using turquoise stone. ”

He experimented with different methods of fixing the stone in the cracks and how to achieve the right finish. “I gradually found better sources of turquoise and new and better materials and techniques to fix it. I’m pretty happy with the technology now, but I’m looking for ways to improve it further. I am.”

“While developing my skills and techniques, I never thought of myself as an artist, but around 2010, when I gave a piece of work to a family member, he said to me, “You are an artist.” “I realized that maybe I was like that too,” Epp confesses.

Epp strives to create shapes that are “not only pleasing to the eye, but also reminiscent of traditional shapes used by Native American, Asian, and other artists.” Most of his works are decorative, but he also includes functional pieces such as bowls and vases.

Epp recognizes the importance of taking time while creating. Slowing down allows him to enjoy the process. He likes listening to his KUVO Jazz Radio while he works and claims it helps him “focus.”

Epp worked for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years, including 12 years as Boulder County Sheriff. Since his retirement, he spends most of his days at the store.

Epp plans to continue applying to the Forest Service for the necessary annual cutting permits to find enough suitable wood (which may include dead aspen) to continue woodturning.

“Aspens are very different from Japanese beetles, but they also have hidden beauty that is fun to bring out,” says Epp. Basically, he loves the look and feel of wood.

“It’s always a surprise to see beautiful patterns appear on the pieces of wood as I work rough logs into bowls, vases, or hollow shapes. Each piece I make brings me a spark of joy, and I hope it makes someone else happy as well.”

Epp’s father, an “avid amateur photographer,” died 10 years before Epp started woodworking. Epp hopes his father will take pride in his work.

George Epp’s art is on display at the Old Gallery in Allen’s Park. For more information, please visit: Or call 303-579-5456.

Register to be an artist or sponsor for The Mountain-Ear’s Studio Tour, September 22-24, 2023, at

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