Success stories

Terroir Wood Studio

Boyne City, Michigan


“Northern Initiatives met with me in my studio, provided me with the funding to expand my customer reach, and helped with web page development, marketing, and other tech support.”  – Jason Sharp, owner

The recently opened Terroir Wood Studio (TWS) gallery just outside of Boyne City, MI, showcases heirloom custom furniture handmade by craftsman Jason Sharp. Terroir (pronounced ter’wär) is a borrowed French term loosely translated as ‘A Sense of Place.’ It is used to denote wine, coffee, and tea, lending credit to the special characteristics that the geography, geology, and climate of a certain place bestow upon particular varieties. Terrior is based on the sum effects that the local environment has on the end product. Jason’s previous career was as an executive chef, and his love for the culinary arts married with his love of wood was how TWS was born.

Jason Sharp found his own sense of place in the woodshop early in life. His grandfather, an engineer by trade, lived ‘just around the corner,’ and he and Jason spent hours together in the basement workshop. It was here that Jason learned how to use a lathe and other woodworking tools. Although Jason has lived and worked extensively throughout the U.S., his love for woodworking, garnered during those initial years, remained.

Traveling more than 20,000 miles a year during the summer months, Jason displays his exquisite furniture pieces and connects with clients at juried art shows all over the United States. He spends the winter months in Boyne City completing custom orders.

During his travels, Jason meets with wood sawyers across the country. These sawyers harvest 100+ year old trees, from both urban and rural development sites, that would otherwise be burned or sent to a landfill. Jason is inspired by the details in the wood that tells the story of the life of the tree. He purchases whole log sets at one time so his furniture pieces can be created from the same wood source.

Modern efficiencies are mixed with time-worn techniques to create custom heirloom pieces. Jason works with the wood, following continuity in the grain, color, and texture, to hand-craft each piece. With a set of vintage Japanese chisels and other hand tools, Jason can enhance the details and imperfections in the wood. It can take days of precision work to add hardware to each piece. The result is sustainable, one-of-a kind furniture, with core attention to the terroir of the wood.

Northern Initiatives is more than just a funding source for TWS. “Northern Initiatives met with me in my studio, provided me with the funding to expand my customer reach, and helped with web page development, marketing, and other tech support,” says Jason. “I’m a solo guy. I can’t dedicate the time, nor do I have the knowledge for this part of my business. Northern Initiatives also helped me make invaluable connections in my community.”

TWS has been a part of the Northern Michigan landscape since 2012. While he doesn’t have any employees yet, Jason hopes, he too, can one day pass on his woodworking knowledge and skills.

Terroir Wood Studio Impacts

  • Jobs Created:  1 Full-Time


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