Terry Martin from Australia delivers speech about Mark Lindquist

Mark Lindquist

It's a particular pleasure to introduce my friend Mark Lindquist here tonight. I know that many of you are very familiar with Mark's name, but very few have met him and equally few know the full story of Mark's importance to the field of woodturning, and to the AAW itself. It is a wonderful milestone in AAW history that Mark is here to receive the 2010 AAW Lifetime Membership Award. Mark's father Mel received the same award in 1994 and this is the first time a child of a previous recipient has been granted the same recognition.

When I say that, you might get the impression that Mark built his career in the footsteps of his father, and of course Mark always acknowledges his debt to Mel. But in many important ways the shoe was usually on the other foot. For example, in 1978 the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution presented its first exhibition of woodturning, showing the work of Ed Moulthrop, Bob Stocksdale and the two Lindquists. This was unprecedented acknowledgement of woodturning. In that year Mark was 29 years old, while the other three were already very mature gentlemen.

How did he do that? Well, Mark started turning at the age of 10 in 1959. When the Renwick show was held he had already been turning for 19 years! Now he's been turning for 51 years. I imagine there are not many others here today who can make that claim.

From his early days as Mel's collaborator, Mark trained as a fine artist studying pottery and he bought that aesthetic to the craft of turning - in the process broke every rule in the book. He celebrated holes, left the tool marks on the wood, created robotic systems so he could turn beyond the human scale, and shook the turning world up so much that the reverberations are still being felt.

If you read my article in the latest issue of American Woodturner, you will find the detail of how Mark was also fundamental to the founding of the AAW. Mark was at Arrowmont before any other turner and his ideas and input were among the most important triggers for the formation of the AAW at Arrowmont nearly 25 years ago.

Mark disappeared from the woodturning scene for a long time, partly because his body was almost destroyed in an automobile accident, but also because as soon as he was able, he was off exploring other ways to push the envelope and to establish the credentials of wood as art. Many of the wood artists who have achieved so much now have followed a path beaten many years ago by Mark. So many of the things that today are taken as standard practice were pioneered by him gallery standard lighting and display, professional photography of the work, museum quality brochures and publicity, and on and on. Let me highlight one significant example. When you see a Binh Pho piece sell for $30,00 you are probably respectfully amazed. But it was Mark who first made such ideas even possible. In 1980, 30 years ago, Mark's work was selling for up to $10,000. That was when most turners were selling salad bowls for $30, if they were lucky. Mark broke the ground for us all and now everything he did has proven to be right.

A few months ago I was in Mark's studio in Florida watching him turn a log that was four times bigger than he is. I can tell you, he is still a great turner and he's still not afraid to take on the big tasks. He's always been involved in the big picture and is creating bigger and better projects than ever. Now, you all are going to see a short video on the life of Mark Lindquist, so thank you for your attention. It's been a pleasure to tell you about my friend. Please enjoy:

Cue video

Mark Lindquist saying a few words to the audience
Photo: John Kelsey

Longtime friends Giles Gilson (left) and David Ellsworth (right) pose with Mark (center) after awards ceremony. 
Photo: John Kelsey

Mark's friend Terry Martin clowns around saying "finally"!
Photo: John Kelsey

Former editor of Fine Woodworking Magazine, and longtime friend John Kelsey (right) and Mark Lindquist
Photo: Terry Martin

Mark (left) with long time friend and fellow turner, Dale Nish of Utah




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