Artist Bio

I am Jeff Powell, commonly referred to as "The Master Scroller", and I live in Eaton Rapids, MI.  I have been a woodworking hobbyist all my life.  When I was only around 10 yrs old, I built my first project which was an auto repair garage with ramps for my dinky cars.  My father is an Engineer and he collected tools in his garage, but he never used them.  I took it upon myself to play with his tools and wood, creating imaginary cities to incorporate my little cars and lego's with.  My parents did not stop me from using the tools at such a young age and unsupervised, rather they encouraged me to do so.  Those were the days!

Originally, I am Canadian.  I met my wife Samantha in 1999.  I was an over the road truck driver at the time and we would hang out together on weekends.  After about a year, we married and I immigrated to the USA.  She has two kids, Amber and Shane, and together we had a girl named Autumn.  My parents separated shortly after my getting married.  Dad gave me some of his tools, but there was not very much room in our house.  We only had half of a basement.  One of the tools he gave to me was an old scrollsaw.  Neither of us even knew what it was, let alone how to use it.  In my boredom, I cleaned all the rust off the machine and tinkered with it until eventually I figured out what type of blades it uses and what some people use these for.  It was the perfect tool for me, being in such a confined space, where the only projects that can be made are small ones, and the need to not make too much dust through the house was quite important.  I began by purchasing fretwork patterns and eventually discovered intarsia.

Intarsia is generally refered to as painting with wood. You have a design similar to a coloring book and instead of filling in the areas with a crayon, you use wood.  Different types of wood allow you a pallette of colors.  Shaping and sanding give the picture life.

In the beginning, my intarsia's were not very good.  I did not know about shaping at all.  My first intarsia was only 1/2" thick and completely flat, with big gaps and not very intricate.  By looking at catalogues, I caught on to the shaping aspect pretty quick.  I have natural abilities to be very precise with my cuts and am also a natural when it comes to carving. I am even blessed with being a pretty good pencil artist.  I never knew about these abilities of mine until I tested myself.  It's quite amazing what a person doesn't realize about themselves!

So, I have been scrolling now for about 9 years.  I have won several awards in that time for my scrollwork, in particular my intarsia work.  Because I have a regular full time job as a local truck driver, I am able to take my time with my projects and make only the types of things that I am passionate about without all the worries of making a living at it.  All my scrollings are completely original now.  I do not sell patterns. When it comes to intarsia, I design my own and generally only make one version and then move on to something new.  I am a very picky person that is very meticulous in all that I do, and am always thinking about the next challenge to come.

In 2007, I was on a quest to learn new techniques that I could add to my artwork.  This is when I found the International Association of Penturners. I have always been fascinated by pens, and thought I would give it a try.  Instantly I was hooked!  After about a year of penmaking, I knew enough information about the principals of a pen that I began to develop techniques for scrolling artwork into pens. In 2008 I won several awards for my scrolled pens.  Early in 2009, I submitted a pen to the Pen Makers Guild and was accepted into the Guild.

After winning the 2008 World Scrollsaw Show, I was asked by Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine to do an artist profile/interview.  My artist profile was in the 2009 summer issue of their magazine, and I have been contributing articles about intarsia and penmaking ever since.  Please be sure and view my articles in the article section.

This is me.


This is my workshop.


My youngest Daughter Autumn, making a pen.


This is the main workstation in my shop after cleaning day!