Work by more than 100 Artisans inside new Carmel more

Woodworking, especially woodturning
CCA Gallery, Indianapolis Museum of Art Greenhouse Gift Shop, Artifacts Gift Shop
Jim Dupler

“Indiana has some of the finest types of wood which lend themselves to my art.”

As a youngster in Jamestown, New York, Jim Dupler was 10 when he got his first lathe. As he turned wood for some of his earliest projects, he honed skills that grew into the grain of a career that has spanned more than 40 years.

After Jim graduated from high school, he began crafting functional work at the furniture factory where his father, also a woodworker, unknowingly had launched a family legacy. “Woodturning has always been my first love,” Jim said. “I learned furniture making from an old craftsman.” And that education became the root of what grew into a successful custom furniture and antique repair business in New York, where he was much in demand at the famous “Chautauqua Institution” as well as in Canada and Maine.

Following a move to Indianapolis in 1994, he began turning toward decorative work, woodturning to create art pieces. It’s inspiring, the Marion County artisan said, “to take a piece of rough wood and watch a fine piece of art appear while it’s turning on the lathe.”

His wood bowls, lidded boxes and other artistic forms can be functional or decorative. “The type and structure of the wood quite often determines the outcome of the piece,” he said. “My signature piece, if I had to name one, would be the lidded boxes. These boxes take on different shapes and colors with decorative handles to complete the piece.”

In addition to his exceptional work on the lathe, Jim also turns some pieces thinly enough to be pierced using a high-speed dentist drill. This gives the surface a lace design. He then applies various dyes to complement the wood’s natural color.

With control over every part of the process, Jim can ensure each piece of wood has its own character, which he develops.

He loves his craft and thoroughly enjoys teaching it to others. He teaches classes monthly at Woodcraft and is an active member of the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Woodturners.

He was drawn to Indiana Artisan as a way to further develop his art career and to meet other artisans. Being designated an Indiana Artisan “is a high honor,” he said. “I work hard to maintain my craft to meet the organization’s standards.”