Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Maker of the Week - Murray Marks

Murray Marks makes a wide range of Shaker kitchenware, mainly boxes, fruit carriers, etc. All are handmade in American Maple and/or Cherry, with lids of various woods, including burrs and specialist veneered tops. Murray trades as Marcovitch Shaker Box.



Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
After a lifetime in social work and an amateur interest in woodwork and furniture making I was able to develop my skills in retirement when I went to the USA to learn the art of Shaker box making with John Wilson, one of America’s foremost box makers, at his woodwork school (The Home Shop) in Charlotte, Michigan. John continues to supply almost all of my Shaker box materials.

Is being a designer / maker your only job? I am now making Shaker boxes and other Shaker ware almost full time.

One favourite living designer? Matthew Burt, based in Hildon South Wiltshire, is a furniture maker and designer whose work, both classical and quirky, I greatly admire.

One favourite historical designer? Frank Lloyd Wright. I have visited his house Falling Water in Pennsylvania several times and never fail to be amazed by his “organic architecture” - the way in which the house and its interior harmonise with the environment.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
While at university I ran an adventure playground in Tiger Bay, Cardiff working with a group of children building all sorts of structures, dens and go-karts out of scrap timber, usually acquired from demolition sites. This would never be allowed today with all our Health and Safety requirements.

What is your most prized item of design / craft? A wonderfully creative freestyle embroidery done by a psychiatric patient from a long stay hospital in Somerset which shows the inner workings of her mind and a great sense of humour. 

What item of design / craft do you covet most? An original piece of Shaker furniture whether a chair, box or table.

At age 16 who most influenced your style?
Nobody! I was too busy doing my own thing and banning the bomb!

Last book / film that blew your mind?
Film – “The lives of others” about the Stasi.

What music are you currently listening to?

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
No more than 30 minutes, if that.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
Very happy living here in Romsey Hampshire but with some more sun please!

Where and what is your studio?
I have a workshop at the bottom of the garden next to a small stream of the River Test.

Do you have a good work/life balance? Yes apart from when several shows are coming together when I worry about stock levels.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

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