I’ve delayed a bit on writing this, mostly because I am still processing. Last week, I spent an amazing four days with Mark Lindquist, son of Mel Lindquist, both of whom not only reinvented spalted wood for North America, but also brought woodturning out of craft and into art (and made it a mainstream American woodworking form). Mark also helped set up the American Association of Woodturners and Arrowmont.
If you can’t tell, I am a huge fan.
I was fortunate enough to interview Mark for the spalted wood book, back in 2014 when I was working on it, and included a good bit of his family’s history. Mark kept in contact and in spring 2017, we finally decided to meet up. Historical spalting and new spalting. Groundbreaking artist and wide-eyed upstart. Pot stirrer and…pot stirrer. Heh.
Yes, I’m wearing a ‘Wicked’ t-shirt. If you don’t like ‘Wicked’, you are clearly dead inside.
We talked a lot. Eventually Mark got out the ole iPhone and started recording, so at some point, you might see video. We talked spalting, Mel, woodturning, and of course, roller derby. I made Mark and Kathy watch part of the 2016 WFTDA championships. I think Bonnie Thunders blew their minds.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to turn with Mark. It was great to be with someone with a similar disregard for the perfect surface, the perfect form, the perfect tool angle, the perfect bowl thickness. We turned. We laughed. I got to wear Dale Nish’s old smock (which was the coolest thing, ever).
Partially turned spalted wood bowl by Lindquist and Robinson, and The Most Awesome Turning Smock Ever, by Dale Nish.
It was an absolutely amazing four days, which are impossible to capture in a blog post. There may or may not be video at some point, but there will definitely be more visits and more collaboration. I’ll also post photos of the collaborative bowl as I continue working on it.
Thank you for everything, Mark. For woodturning, for spalting, for your art and for ‘art camp’. You’ve done more in your lifetime than most of us can even dream of.
It’s not often we get to meet our heroes. I’m really glad I’m one of the lucky ones.