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Sterling Sanders is a resident of Sandpoint Idaho. He was born and educated in Utah, which was home until he retired. He still sees Utah as his second home. Ster's creativity began at an early age. He remembers the art teacher in Jr. High giving him a lousy grade on a project because he didn't do it just like the others. He wrote poetry and stories in high school and had a love for photography for many years. He has also mastered other art forms such as stained glass, metal sculpture, woodcarving, and carved scrollwork.

Ster loves nature. One summer he worked on a mountaintop in Idaho as a fire lookout. All food, water, and supplies had to be carried in. There is a memorable self-portrait of Sterling bathing in a steel tub with nothing but majestic mountains behind him. Until woodturning took over his life, Sterling was the captain of his own 27ft. trimaran sailboat. He still owns the boat but doesn't come out of the shop as often anymore.

Sterling has only been turning for two years. The first gallery to display his woodcarving was Artworks in Sandpoint. It was at that time he started to notice turned pieces and decided to buy a lathe. Life hasn't been the same since. Ster joined the Inland Northwest Woodturners of Spokane and the people there have made a major contribution in his quest to become proficient at woodturning. Members gave him tremendous support, inspiration, and encouragement in developing skills and techniques. He has continued to build his skills by attending demonstrations by both professional and amateur turners. He attends symposiums and takes classes whenever they become available. He also reads every book on woodturning he can get his hands on.

Many friends have come into Ster's life because of woodturning. He enjoys spending time with the members of his turning club and feels very grateful for the friendship and mentoring of Jim Christiansen. Jim gave Sterling encouragement when he was just getting started and it has made all the difference.

Ster's first commissioned piece was a lighthouse, turned and carved from cottonwood bark, leaving the rough bark at the base of the lighthouse to simulate an outcropping of rock. He has made two sconces for an 1890 pump organ that match so well you'd think they were original. His love of nature currently inspires his designs. He uses a natural finish to complete the look. When you see his work you want to pick it up and feel the wood. On some pieces he also uses woodburning for texture.

The lathe Ster turns with is a Powermatic 3520 but he started on a Jet 12x36 and learned a great deal on that lathe the first year. He builds many of his own tools and will often wake up in the morning with an idea for a new tool that will make his current project even easier. He is willing to share his tool ideas with anyone interested.

Sterling only recently entered his first juried show, the West Coast Woodturning Competition, sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild. The piece was awarded an honorable mention in the open division. What a thrill! He has two boxes on display at Northwest Fine Woodworking as part of their Box and Container Show in Seattle. He was also delighted to find that his "Thorn Flower" piece, which was photographed at the 2003 Utah Symposium, has been featured in UK Woodturning magazine. His work is currently displayed in Misty Mountain Gallery in Sandpoint. Sterling is a member of AAW and WOW.

Jeff Strauss, a great friend and neighbor, is credited with the photography of these pieces. Jeff is a professional photographer with vast experience and talent. His time and effort is gratefully appreciated.


  "Walnut Pod"
Walnut with a Cedar base.
6 1/2" tall, 4 1/2 in diameter.
  " Ashes To Ashes, Dust To This!"
Butternut, Yellowheart,Cocobolo.
6" tall, 2" in diameter. Textured with a woodburner. This piece can be seen at "Northwest Fine Woodworking" in Seattle Washington. It is entered in their "24th Annual Box and Container Show".
  "Safety Within"
Birch, Gambles Oak, Nigerian Ebony, Porcupine quills. The inclusions in this box were hand cut and embellished with ground coffee.
  "Cedar bowl with vessel".
Both pieces were turned from Cedar root. The bow. is 8" in diameter, 2" deep. The hollow form is 4 1/2" in diameter, and 5" tall.
  "Cocobolo Vessel"
1 1/2" tall, 4 1/2" in diameter.
Elm and Gambles Oak. Nigerian Ebony and porcupine quills were used to create the sea urchin inside the box. 5" high, 6" in diameter. A woodburner was used to create the octopus arms and texture the head
  "Feed Me"
Walnut, Butternut and rose thorns. 8" tall, 5" wide, 7" long. This piece was photographed at the 2003 Utah symposium and published in the December 2003 issue of the UK Woodturning" magazine
  "Juniper Vessel"
12" diameter, 10" high
Finished with Danish oil and buffed.
  "Natures Revenge"
Walnut , Butternut, Vera, Nigerian Ebony, Cocobolo with porcupine quills. Texturing was done with a woodburner. This piece was awarded "Honorable Mention" in the open division at the 2003 West Coast Woodturning Competition. This event was sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild.
Walnut, Yellowheart, brass wire and porcupine quills. The wire stem is coated with walnut particles and the acorn cap was embellished with a high speed carver.
  "Spalted Birch Vase"
Spalted Birch.
15 1/2" high, 3" in diameter.
  "Spiny Hollowform"
English walnut, Juniper, Nigerian Ebony
7" in diameter, 4" tall.
  "The Guardian"
Sycamore, Gambles Oak, Nigerian Ebony and porcupine quills. This piece can be seen at "Northwest Fine Woodworking", located in Seattle Washington. It is entered in their
"24th Annual Box and Container Show".
  "Box Elder Burl Box"
Box Elder Burl.
4''tall, 3" in diameter

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