NEAFAA Member Eric Lima
Eric Lima, by day is a Machine Service Engineer, operating his own company in Chandler, AZ. By night (and weekends too) he turns into Wood Turning Artisan Eric, creating beautiful works of art on a wood lathe that he built himself. Working with Arizona wood, such as mesquite, olive, ironwood and pistachio to name a few, and using natural Sleeping Beauty Mine turquoise, from Globe, Eric creates unique bowls and vases that take your breath away.
Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Eric took every class he could in Junior and High School in shop, in both machine and wood. After moving to Tucson Arizona, Eric went to Pima Community College and worked in the machine trades, first as a mold maker, then taking on more jobs and moving up the education ladder and into the computerized area of machinery. He ultimately started his own company servicing and repairing CNC machinery, which takes him all over Arizona and the border area of Mexico.
Eric had a hobby racing Quads, but after an accident, which he received only minor injuries, and assessing the costs, realized that with a wife and children that was not a wise hobby. Since he loved working and creating with his hands, he needed to keep busy, and since he had learned woodworking early on, decided to work in wood. He did the usual woodworking things, but it wasn’t until he re-discovered the lathe and turned wood that he found his niche. Eric built his own lathe, and his first project was to make his son, who was 2 years old at the time, a small baseball bat. For Eric that was the beginning of a 17 year vocation that is still going strong.
At first Eric filled up the house, and then gave his turnings as gifts, until one day someone at work saw one of his bowls and purchased it. That was when Eric realized that his hobby had turned into art. Something he had always been interested in, but never thought he could do.
The creative process begins when a log is cut with a chain saw into a rough form. Then, it is mounted on the lathe, where it is turned to its basic shape. The piece is set aside to dry for a period of time, then is back on the lathe and gets its final shape. Next the turquoise inlay work, a meticulous process that has been perfected over the years. Finally, the piece undergoes sanding and several coats of Tung oil finish for a magnificent sheen. The entire process can take a few months to over a year, depending on the size and type of wood.
It took many years to perfect the unique style and outstanding quality that Eric takes pride in. His works continue to expand, and he has received awards, including first place in his category at “The Best of Scottsdale” art show, held each spring in Scottsdale.
His wood & turquoise turnings can be found at the following art galleries:
You can see more of Eric’s work at www.ericlimawoodturning.com and
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