Ten years ago on a business trip, Mark stopped in a book store and purchased a book on carving working fish decoys. Having a deep appreciation for wood since childhood, this book rekindled his desire to work with wood once again.
After completing a few decoys, and realizing Mark would never enjoy ice fishing, he began carving life size “keeper” folk art fish carvings. He soon came to the realization that procuring basswood in the required sizes was either impossible or prohibitively expensive. This took him to Vermont and New Hampshire where he acquires whole linden (a/k/a basswood) trees, has them transported to a sawmill, cut to the required sizes, then kiln dried and stored.
Historically, the carving of wooden fish began with Native Americans who created small decoys used for spear fishing. Over time, carving fish of all sizes and uses has evolved into an American folk art.
Mark’s fish carvings include a selection of North American fresh and saltwater fish that are accurate representations in size, shape, and color. After the carving is complete, finely sanded, fins added and glass taxidermy eyes installed, Mark begins with a shellac-based primer to create the surface for the acrylic paint(s). The fish carvings are then coated with a few coats of high gloss polyurethane and then mounted on a dowel and Oak base.