Artist of the Month: Mark Erickson

Mark Erickson with some of his beautiful birds

Mark Erickson with some of his beautiful birds

Barbara Johnson

Mark Erickson has long been known for his beautiful carved works – birds, boards, letter-openers, utensils, etc. When I asked him how he got into the art of woodcarving, he attributed his interest to his father-in-law, who was a woodcarver in the mid ‘80s. Being drawn to the intricate detail and precision involved, Mark started on his own in 1993.

But first a little background on the artisan (don’t we always ask other residents here where they’re from?) Mark was born in Everett, Washington, and grew up in Marysville. He went into the Navy right after high school, and spent seven years with that branch of the military. During those seven years, he was stationed in San Diego, Long Beach and Japan. After leaving the Navy, he went to work at Boeing, where he was an electronics electrician for 29 years. During this time, he also attended night school at Central Washington University, where he received a dual degree in business administration and industrial relations.

After retirement, Mark and his wife Lorraine moved to SaddleBrooke, where he continued his love of woodcarving. He is currently in both the SaddleBrooke Woodcarvers Club and the Southwest Wood Carvers Association (where he has won numerous awards over the last 15 years). He is on the board of both of these clubs and has served as President of the SaddleBrooke Woodcarvers for nine years. Mark has never received formal instruction in woodcarving – he is entirely self-taught. But you’d certainly never know it when you see his finished products. As you can imagine, it’s impossible to get a bird to pose for the length of time needed to make a carving, so he does all his work from photographs. Once you see the tremendously intricate detail that goes into his work, you really come to appreciate his art!

When Mark was in Sedona several years ago, he bought a bracelet which combined leather and intricate metal work. He was intrigued by the design and wanted to figure out how to make ones like it. One aspect he needed help with was forming and attaching the silver end caps and, thus, he joined the SaddleBrooke Silversmith and Lapidary Club three years ago. He also serves as treasurer of the club and is now teaching others how to make the bracelets, as well as unique styles of rings (some from coins). He views going in this direction as an extension of his desire to create, which he definitely does with flair!

Come check out Mark’s beautiful work – both his woodwork and his unique jewelry – at the SaddleBrooke Arts and Crafts Fair. You’re sure to find something that you simply MUST have!