Throughout our I HeART New Jersey series, we focus on many mediums, from paint and ceramics to textiles and photography. However, we keep coming back to wood for two reasons; because of the number of woodwork artists in New Jersey, and also because it uniquely connects us with nature.
The artists we spoke with this month create pieces of art that are both functional and beautiful. They make furniture customers can enjoy as well as artwork that speaks to artists and buyers alike. After all, wood is a piece of nature we come into contact with every day.
As an artist, Mark Bair went from watercolor to woodworking 20 years ago, and never looked back. Though he made the transition through trial and error, learning many lessons the hard way, the end result is satisfying; turning a block of wood into a piece of art gives him more pleasure than any other art medium.
These days, he mainly hand carves figurative folk art. Additionally, he creates signs, performs restoration work, and takes on personal commissions, but he loves making figures. Bair also has a studio gallery in Audubon, which is “open by chance or appointment,” as he says. At the studio, students can work alongside him to learn more about woodworking and painting, and using the proper tools.
You can find Bair’s work at over 30 fine craft shows as well as the ReFind Gallery in Bayhead; there’s also a permanent collection at the Tuckerton Seaport. Finally, Bair serves as a Master Artisan with the Pennsylvania Guild of Fine Craft.
To see more of the best artists in New Jersey, visit I HeART New Jersey: The Complete Series.