I am a fifth of seven generations Whyte in the Comox Valley. My great-great-grandfather and family came to the coal mines in Cumberland about 1888.
Working with wood is a common thread through those generations. After a thirty-five year career with the telephone company, Jim found himself picking up some of the old wood working tools and dusting off his old wood lathe.
I had my first wood turning experience in junior high school. It was at that time a “seed was planted”, but would take another fifty years to take root.
Jim uses wood from trees that have to be removed in land clearing, building projects, dangerous trees near buildings or damaged by storms. Maple is a favourite of his and presents a variety of colours, figures and beautiful grains. Burls are quite scarce but particularly beautiful.
Natural edge bowls are a favourite and he likes to turn and finish them "green". As they dry they will "move", which further enhances their beauty.
The stylized "W" burned on the back or bottom of each piece is Jim’s craftsman's "mark". In ancient times each craftsman had a unique mark by which his work could be identified and his wages were paid on this basis.
Living in the Comox Valley I have always been close to the ocean and mountains and find their influence revealed in my work. Every day presents a new picture and each piece of wood offers a new opportunity.