Woodcarver Jim Sprinkles was a local celebrity before his death in January, but not in the way that most people would expect.
In fact, his passing was the subject of a major documentary about woodcarving history.
That documentary was filmed in 2017 by the Woodcarving Today program on PBS.
It aired on October 26, 2017.
The documentary, entitled “Jims and the Wild West,” features interviews with Sprinkle, a fellow woodcarve enthusiast and a man who has dedicated his life to documenting and preserving America’s wild west.
The story, titled “A Tale of Two Woodcarves,” explores the influence of Jim Sprackles on American culture and is currently being re-filmed.
It was shot by The Washington Post’s Laura Harrier.
“Jim Sprinkling was one of the great American woodcarvesmen and he was a legend to the wood carvers around the country,” Harrier said in a statement.
“We were thrilled to have him in the program and hope he will be a part of future Woodcarved Stories.”
Sprinkler joined the Woodcrafters Association of America (WCAA) in 1949 and spent much of his career as a member of the lumberjack community.
In 1966, Sprinklers first foray into the trade came when he was offered a job as a woodcarved carver at a local lumberyard.
“He was one who really liked to talk about the wood and how it was made,” Harriers said.
Sprinklestilts first carving job was at the New England and Eastern States Railway Company.
“I was there for five years.
We built a railroad for a year and a half, and he helped me with the cutting of the wood,” Sprinklegs first apprentice said.
“My apprenticeship was pretty good.
I was able to work with wood that was very thick.
I would get to know the wood, and it would be a long time before I was comfortable cutting that.”
The job did not last long, however.
“They said they couldn’t keep up with demand and they’d have to close down the mill.
I’m not sure how long they’d keep up, but that was the last time I saw him,” Sprinkleles apprentice said of his former employer.
“There were some people who worked for him for a few years, and some other guys that worked at the mill who knew him.
I can’t remember the names of those guys.”
“He came back and he would talk about all the different types of wood that he’d cut.
There was a big wood carver, a little bit of a lumberjack, and then a little guy,” Sprinleles apprentice explained.
“Then he went into the big city and saw a lot of different types.
He had all kinds of different kinds of wood, but he was the guy that would talk the most about it.”
Sprinklele went on to become a woodworker at a number of other companies and became a wood carving legend.
He has been involved in the industry since the 1930s.
The National Woodcrafters Association (NWCA) was formed in 1970 to educate American woodcrafter about the industry.
In 1984, Sprinkle joined the board of the American Woodcarve Association.
“The Woodcarvist” was a major influence on the careers of many other local and national woodcarvists, including John Gough, John P. Schubert, John S. M. Bannister, and Jim Sprinkle.
“If you’re a woodcrafter and you’re working in the wood industry, you’re probably a wood-carver by trade,” Harries said.
It’s a job Sprinkled enjoyed, and the story of his life is a story many woodcarvy aficionados have wanted to hear.
“That story is what we want to tell and what people will remember and how we want them to remember that story,” Harrie said.
The Woodcar Visions, a podcast series, premiered on October 25, 2017 and will air on PBS the following year.
“What the Wood Carvists have done in the past, they are making wood products that are very hard and tough and beautiful, and I think that’s a lot more appealing than a plastic cup,” Harry said.
In addition to the Wood carving History, the podcast also features interviews from Woodcarvin Historian David Riechmann.
“One of the greatest woodcarVERS has been a collaboration with David Rieschmann and the WoodCarving Today crew,” Harriere said.
Riescherman has worked in the lumber industry for nearly 40 years.
“Woodcarving today is all about the craftsmanship,” he said