Woodturning is an art that should be explored and felt with each piece of wood we have the good fortune to work with.  Artistic inspiration for me presents itself in many ways.  When I allow myself to slow down, I become more aware of the natural beauty that surrounds us.  I am amazed by the movement of water as it slowly carves and gently sculpts the ever changing shorelines.  I continue to be humbled and in awe over the wonders I encounter while paddling in my kayak.  Keeping an open mind while developing a new piece begins a journey worth traveling.

      Mark has been working with wood since he was a young boy, helping his father who is a cabinetmaker/turner.  He took woodshop for a year in high school where he first turned on a lathe, and still remembers his teacher’s name  (Mr. Snyder).  It’s funny, some of the things one doesn't  forget.  After high school Mark served a four-year apprenticeship and became a Journeyman Carpenter.  Thru the years his interests moved towards the finer aspects of building which enabled him to become an accomplished Cabinetmaker as well. 

            In 1982, Mark moved from Pennsylvania to the mountains of Southwest Virginia where he still lives today with his wife Barbara.  Their three children are grown and branching out in their own careers. 

            After working years in the field of building, Mark was approached and asked if he would consider teaching woodworking to high school students.  Eighteen years later he continues to teach at a rural high school and enjoys it.  Thru the years, along with some very caring contributors, Mark and his students have built up a virtually empty shop into a fine woodworking facility.  It is set up for a full range of carpentry & cabinetmaking along with woodturning and carving.

            Mark’s interest in woodturning came from a weekend visit by his father who brought a weed pot and small tagua nut vessel he turned, along with his excitement about turning.  Well, that was the spark that ignited an interest in woodturning.  Twenty years later Mark still enjoys exploring the endless possibilities of woodturning with enthusiasm and creativity.

            As an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Blue Ridge Woodturners Club in Virginia, Mark has served as vice-president, president & activities coordinator along with hosting their club meetings at the high school shop on a monthly basis.  He is also a member of the American Association of Woodturners where he has served as a member of the board of directors.  Several years ago the AAW produced a “Skill Building Projects” video featuring some of Mark’s teaching techniques.

            Mark has been an active demonstrator and workshop leader for turning clubs, along with demonstrating at many regional and national symposiums.  He is currently on the faculty list of Arrowmont School of the Arts in Tennessee, Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee,  Peters Valley Craft Center in New Jersey, and the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Mark also finds satisfaction in teaching woodturning courses for a local college.  His work has been shown at many venues and is in private collections.

            Known for his sense of humor and ability to effectively teach a variety of age groups and skill levels, Mark’s teaching techniques are easily followed and incorporate much skill building. His enthusiasm for woodturning has offered him the opportunity to meet a variety of individuals who share his interests in woodturning.   Exchanging ideas with woodturners and clubs throughout the world, gives him the opportunity to contribute to the continual process of growth and learning in the field of Woodturning.  


Copyright © 2006 Mark St.Leger