Work by more than 100 Artisans inside new Carmel more

Segmented Woodturning
Mark Waninger

“I never tire of watching rough chunks of lumber being transformed into a finished piece, seeing the natural beauty of the wood emerge even more as it is shaped into some form. The combinations are endless when different wood species are paired together and turned into various shapes of bowls or vessels. It is fascinating every time.”

Mark Waninger’s functional and decorative wood creations are what results when a master millwright listens to his artistic muse.

“I have always enjoyed any lathe work that has been required during my 20 years of doing custom millwork for residential builders, lumber yards and cabinet companies,” said Mark. “When I turned 50, I decided it was the right time to express more of my creativity. Segmented woodturning allows me to combine my expertise in joinery with my imagination to create unique items on the lathe.”

Segmented woodturning involves fitting together precisely cut pieces of wood in a way that allows their unique shapes and pattern to emerge as the form is turned on the lathe. “As the excess wood is cut away, a newly created piece of art gradually takes shape,” the Boone County artisan explained.

Mark follows this process to create candy dishes, decorative vessels and bowls. He primarily uses walnut, maple, cherry, white oak and ash — all native Indiana hardwoods –complementing them with exotic woods such as mahogany, purple heart and ebony to create contrast and color accents.

Mark says he developed a deep appreciation for wooded areas as a child, having retreated to forests near his Southern Indiana home to escape his three sisters. “I spent many afternoons every summer wandering among the beautiful native Indiana hardwoods, watching the wildlife and appreciating the serenity. The time I spend in the shop now, producing this artwork, offers a similar feeling of relaxation.”

He is committed to reforesting so that future generations “will have the opportunity to enjoy the same pleasures these resources have offered to me. I have personally hand-planted nearly 4,000 trees.”

Mark is honored that his work carries the Indiana Artisan brand and is appreciative of what the organization does to raise awareness of Indiana art and artists.

“I have traveled to many parts of the United States, and I have seen areas that have been successful in attaining a level of worldwide recognition of local arts,” he said. “I want to be involved in helping expand the image of what Indiana has to offer, and I appreciate Indiana Artisan’s efforts to help artists gain wider recognition.”

Mark’s work gained wider recognition when he took home several awards from the November 2012 Artistry in Wood show in Dayton, Ohio. He entered three pieces in this, his first competition. A large maple and ebony vessel was named Best in Class for wood turnings, Best in Category for segmented wood turning and Third Best In Show for woodworking. A piece he calls The Purple Heart and a maple candy dish were awarded second place in segmented wood turning, and a cherry and ebony vessel received honorable mention.