Jim WestCreator / Host, Executive Producer
Known around the world as an energetic and enthusiastic visionary and travel entrepreneur, Jim West has the knowledge and experience to deliver beyond the expectations of the people who work with him. As a world traveler and cruise expert, Jim worked onboard cruise ships as a professional cruise director for over ten years and has over 1563 cruises logged in his nautical diary. He has explored all seven continents, traveled throughout 116 countries around the world, is the author of four travel books, and was featured as the cruise expert on the Travel Channel’s “Cruise Ships FAQ.”
Following his cruise expedition in Antarctica with Sir Edmund Hillary, Jim wrote his first book, “The Essential Little Cruise Book,” containing over 750 practical cruising tips. Hillary provided a quote for the cover of the book commenting, “A very practical book with sound information for everyone, from people planning their first cruise adventure to hardened travel agents.”
In 1995 Jim was the first person to create an opportunity for crafters to travel on a variety of different cruises & tours with like minded people. He is the publisher of the longest running online craft magazine, Craftposium, is also a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul, and was the host of the weekly radio show Travel News & Views in the Chicago area.
Jim was the founder and managing director of the first International Quilt Festival of Ireland, and in 2017 is planning the first International Batik Show in Bali.
As an actor for ten years, prior to becoming a travel expert, Jim guest starred in many television shows and national commercials in the 1980’s.
Jim West has been involved in the travel and craft industries for nearly 30 years and brings an enthusiastic passion to Destination Craft with Jim West.
We travel to Tuscany and Milan in an episode where we explore the culture, traditions, food, and passions of the Italian people where we feature workshops in Italian frescos, Florentine paper marbling, leather journaling, and a pasta cooking lesson.
We visit the studio of master artisans who create amazing mosaic art, and talk to a master embroidery artist who has worked with the most iconic names in fashion. We travel inside the factory of Aurifil Threads and feature a never before seen look at how this popular thread is made. We even have some fun crafting the perfect gelato.
The theme for this episode is crafts and the family or “la famiglia.”
We travel to Bali in an episode where we explore the culture, traditions, food, and passions of the Balinese people through woodcarving, batiking, painting, weaving and cooking.
We journey inside Monkey Forest where we see crafters working on decorative cement sculptures, visit the Elephant Safari Park where the elephants are painting T-shirts, film a segment in a rice field and talk about how rice farmers do crafts while they are waiting for their rice crop to grow, and we feature extraordinary footage of markets, palaces and the Balinese way of life, right down to the Bali smiles.
The theme of this episode is crafting with spirit.
We travel to Guatemala to the Lake Atitlon region and also to the artistic city of Antigua in an episode where we explore the culture, traditions, food, and passions of the Guatemalan people.
We feature workshops in cotton dying, back strap and loom weaving, embroidery, basket making, and candle making. We craft the perfect cup of coffee, enjoy a cooking lesson where we make tasty tamales and guacamole, see a demonstration in iron working, learn about crafting a medicinal garden and create a special artistic journal with celebrity artist Pam Holland.
The theme for this episode is colorful crafting for necessity.
GERMANY & AUSTRIA
We travel to the city of Salzburg, Austria and throughout Bavaria as we highlight crafts associated with the Christmas holiday.
This episode features a trip to the tiny village of Oberammergau where we visit the workshop of a master wood carver. We make a delicious homemade apple strudel in a three hundred year old cafe, show the craftsmanship of the centuries old Glockenspiel in Salzburg as we see behind the scenes on how it operates, and we provide the recipe for a delicious mulled wine called “Gluhwein.” Our host takes us to different stands in the famous Salzburg Christmas Market and we learn about a variety of crafts. We also take a tour inside an antique toy museum, participate in a hands on workshop making glass ornaments, see a demonstration on making Austrian lederhosen, and sing Silent Night in a tiny Bavarian village.
The theme of this episode is crafting for the holidays.