Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mark Thomas, Craftsman to the Past

January 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Builder, Engraver, Folk Artist, Silversmith

Mark Thomas Featured Artist

Mark Thomas is a self taught artisan of diverse accomplishments featuring hand engraving of the various items he creates. Mark is a proficient hand engraver, wood carver and silversmith of objects relating to the time period of Colonial America to the mid 19th century. Flintlock rifles, powder horns, knives, tomahawks and various other objects of the time are examples of his talent. The sterling silver jewelry is an extension of the rifle, in a sense that the first jewelry pieces were influenced by the escutcheon plates used on the fore stock of a rifle during the Golden age of the Kentucky rifle. His jewelry and other silver objects are unique, one-of-a-kind, heirloom quality pieces of art made one at a time and engraved one line at a time. Mark works in various materials from silver, steel, copper and brass to ebony, ivory, various other woods and cow horn to name a few.

Mark began his artistic career with the assembly of a flintlock rifle in 1978. Moved to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in 1980 and in 1993 began his full-time venture as artisan of fine folk art. Over past decade Mark has collaborated with Mike Small to create a set of awards for the Contemporary Longrifle Association. In 2005, Mark built the powder horn presented to, Fess Parker, for his inspiration to the many members of the CLA with his portrayal of Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone.

He is a nationally recognized charter member of the Contemporary Longrifle Association, also member of the NMLRA, NRA, and FEGA.

The rifle shown in these pictures is a close rendition of an early gun, known for the engraved name on the side plate. This rifle was turned up in Virginia and had been handed down through an early Virginia family if memory serves. The other photos are of a variety of pieces that have been made within the last year or show a unique item of historic interest.

Please click on an image to see a larger version.

Rum cups, handwrought from sterling silver sheet and hand engraved with various patterns.

A low relief engraved sterling silver bracelet.

Three folding knives, the silver and cow horn in the middle is the very first folder made by Mark, all made from old files and cow horn. The lg. figural is ivory and cow horn, the other figural is all cow horn scales.

This pipe axe was inspired by the “Gadson” flag of 1754, “Don’t Tread on Me” with the segmented rattlesnake. The snake is one piece alternating silver and brass.

Spoon rack fashioned after a piece shown in a magazine ca. 1820 this one is made from poplar wood and the chip carving took many labor of love hours.“Craftsman to the Past”

Mark Thomas
“Craftsman to the Past”

10547 Union Springs Rd.
Dayton , Va. 22821

540 867 5829

mtgraver@yahoo.com

www.MarkThomas-graver.com

David Gillespie – Carver of Slate Tombstones – Pickens, SC

David Gillespie is a stone cutter; he creates period correct tomb and gravestones from slate.

David Gillespie is standing by his latest work. This stone is loosely based upon the Nathan Basset Stone, the first portrait stone in America. The original is at the Circular Church in Charleston, SC.

Why slate? David says it is as permanent as granite, is easier to work with and has better detail. And unlike marble it is impervious to acid rain. But I am sure the most important part of all is the way the material responds to the folk artist’s hands using only tools available two hundred years ago.

David says the basics of carving the slate are similar to wood. And David admits he would rather cut stone than wood. He can cut left or right without worry of the grain changing. But don’t let that statement about wood fool you. David can build a credible Gillespie rifle! And curiously he is not a descendant of the Gillespie rifle building clan.

David and his wife Renee, who is a spinner and artist, attend many events in period costume to demonstrate their skills. Their website has a schedule posted.

Please visit PumpkinTownPrimitives.com to see many samples of this folk artist family’s work.