"square turned bowl"
Greetings! I am Mark Placek, a life long resident of Lewiston and carpenter by trade.
From my childhood memories beginning at age eleven being a carpenter was all that I wanted to be. Having my Father, Grandfather, Uncles & Cousin's (from both sides of my family) in the house building business, becoming a carpenter was the natural choice for me. The person who deserves the most credit for teaching me all phases of carpentry is my cousin Tom Placek, he's most certainly a "Master Carpenter" excelling in Cabinetry & Finish carpentry. Tom is currently a general contractor building massive custom homes in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
I was taught carpentry in a very traditional way, hand tools played a key role in my early years. Learning the trade in this manner makes me appreciate how our ancestors labored in this craft. It has taken many years for those lessons to come full circle. Without the knowledge of hand tools instilled in me, these wooden vessels shown here would not be possible.
I started turning small bowls in March 2005. As my skills increased, so did the size of my turnings. The technique I employ to make my bowls is called: "Cut ring stacked lamination" This is an old technique, but a very difficult one to master. I feel fortunate that this technique works for me. I now turn square & rectangular bowls exclusively, and have added features to enhance their appearance. As you can see in my latest turnings that I am cutting the bowl after turning on the lathe is finished. I found that adding the visual effect of light to my bowls makes them more spectacular.
My quest to be a well recognized artist will be my lifetime goal, patience is another skill Tom has taught me. The making of these bowls has become an overwhelming passion these days for me. I've learned over the years that I can finesse wood into the shape it was grown to be, forever holding its God given beauty. Working with wood has consumed a great deal of my time, I guess you could say that I've got "sawdust running through my veins" Wood turning has been a progression in my quest to be the best carpenter I can be. You can decide for yourself by looking at my work. Along the way to becoming an artist I have found great joy in giving my bowls away to charity. I feel having my artwork enhance the lives of sick children is a wonderful gift from God.
All the wood in my current turnings are exotic, meaning that they are not domestic species. I search endlessly to find the most unique examples possible, then using them in the best combination of color, figure and grain to create a turning that is visually stunning. Every bowl is made from a naturally occurring colored wood, no stains will ever be applied. Colors enhanced only by the oil finish. The techniques I apply during the making of a vessel are not trade secrets, they are common among all wood turners, but learning these steps takes many years of trial and error. As the size of the vessel increases, the more dangerous they are to turn. Having a 20+ inch square bowl spinning at 500 rpm's can be very unnerving because it acts like a 28 inch bowl, the corners disappear just like an airplane propeller!
I will continue to bring you the most innovative style and distinctive design I possibly can.
My Thanks to you.. Mark Placek