Mark Gardner

I’ve been working with wood since I was a teenager in Cincinnati. I attended the University of Cincinnati where I received a BFA in Theater Design and Production. Upon graduating I took a woodturning class at Arrowmont and realized I was hooked on the process. I currently live and work in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Saluda, NC. The focus of my work over the years has been functional and decorative bowls and vessels. Much of the inspiration for my work comes from my interest in African and Oceanic art as well as modern painting and ceramic design. Consequently much of my work is embellished with patterns that are carved, engraved and burned into the work. I also use milk paints to emphasize these patterns.

I teach woodturning around the country at craft schools and woodturning clubs. My work can be found in many public collections including the Museum of Art & Design, The Center for Art in Wood and the Yale Art Gallery.

Turn hollow forms without the hollowing – Cut it in half

Hollow forms turned through a small opening were always a challenge for me to turn.  In this demo I’ll show how I make hollow forms, using green wood, much like you make lidded boxes only I’ll glue the lid back on.  Not only is there less risk of turning through the side of your vessel but it is also easier to gauge the wall thickness as well as remove the shavings from the inside.  I’ll focus on techniques for making a precise joint to help insure that the piece stays together as it dries.  Time will be spent demonstrating various ways to then hide the seem in your vessel.  This vessel will also have handles.

Surface embellishment for your turnings

I will demonstrate all the various techniques and methods I use for embellishing my work.  I’ll start by showing how I layout geometric patterns on my turned vessels.  Some of the techniques I will cover include, carving with hand and power tools, engraving, and even some textures done on the lathe.  I’ll show how I use milk paints and dyes to enhance the carved patterns and lastly how I sharpen my carving tools using a simple homemade MDF strop.

Turn a shrink box

A shrink box is a container that is made from green wood with a bottom that is a dry disk of wood that is fit into a groove in the base of the box.  The green wood box shrinks as it dries locking the bottom in place.  Traditionally these were hand carved.  I’ll demonstrate how to turn the box, cut the groove and carve and shape the bottom to achieve a good tight fit.  Typically turned wood boxes are made from dry wood, I like this technique as it is a way to make lidded containers but still use green wood.