Article: Mark Gardner TLC Class

December 19, 2011 17:17, submitted by Mike Fiantaca (author: John Stroud)

Twas eight days before Christmas and all through Ox Creek Community Center could be heard nine jolly elves - turners - doing what they do so close to Christmas. First, the rule is "do what Melissa says." Unload the trailer; check tools; Bob said check your lathe speed (someone started a lathe on fast while watching the blank sail past their head several months ago - another learning opportunity); put the spur in the head stock and bring up the tail stock - real tight. Crash, boom, bang - there goes a piece flying and the lathe is not the same; move to another lathe. "The best laid plans of mice and men go asunder.....even after very good instructions. Another learning opportunity.

Well, that's what Ox Creek Community Center on Sunday December 18, 2011, was all about - learning, learning, and more learning. No matter how long you have been turning, you always learn something new and develop new friends. That's the goal of Carolina Mountain Woodturners and membership continues to grow because of the quality of demonstrations and learning new techniques. One person said: these Sunday one day sessions are the best deal on earth if you want to learn. World-class demonstrators give you personal assistance throughout the day. Can't beat that anywhere!

Mark Gardner (<www.markgardnerstudio.com>) found that everyone had attended his demonstration the day before at the Blue Ridge Parkway Folk Art Center and knew what to expect. So get started. Put the blank on your lathe and go to work - maybe this should be" go to fun." All nine Santa Helpers diligently start work on a split-hollow form. Piece of cake with Mark at your side.

What happened during the course of six hours stays at Ox Creek. Well, OK, we'll share some of the good time: shape the wood into a six inch cylinder, part at the widest part, mortise and tenon, glue back together, and finish top and bottom. Then you have an opportunity to bring out your artistic side. How you embellish is your decision and Mark shows alternatives. Using your power carver, engraver, burning device, or other tool are just some of the options. Dyeing of the piece is optional and Mark had black leather dye available among other choices.

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but regardless of your skill level, Mark gave skillful assistance throughout the session. Our many thanks to Bob and Melissa Gunther for their purchase of the wood and planning the session. Their commitment of time and energy is deeply appreciated.