Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner

I began woodturning like most woodturners, making bowl, lots of bowl. It had to be done on the lathe or I wasn’t interested in making it. Gradually, I began to look for ways to set my work apart from other woodturners. I started exploring bowls with handles and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the time spent carving. The bowls led to spoons and on to vessels. Now a very small percentage of my time that goes into a piece is spent on the lathe.


I look at African and Oceanic art and find myself especially drawn to the ancestral altars in Benin, a small country on the eastern coast of Africa. These altars are covered with offerings of brass busts and ornately carved tusks to honor the dead, reminding me of my dresser top where I keep special objects and photos neatly arranged. These funerary relics influence the more formal ebonized vessels that I make. The carving of the intricate patterns is time consuming but is an important reference for me to the African artifacts. This embellishment also gives me more time with each piece – making it more personal.

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Mark Gardner