My wife and I have always loved folk art and started collecting in earnest a couple of years ago. In 2006, we bought our first Jimmie Sudduth painting: a BIG alligator done in his signature mud. The gallery owner said, "If you like gators, we just got in a hand-carved bench made in the shape of an alligator." I asked her to send me a picture, saying if I liked it, I'd buy it (this was at the beginning of my obsessive acquisition period). She sent me the picture, but the bench sucked. I thought, shoot, I know a little about art and a little about power tools, and I know EXACTLY what I had in mind for a gator bench. So I decided to make one myself. Six weeks later and almost having been killed twice by sharapnel from disintegrating circular saws, I finished the gator bench and it was JUST what I had in my mind. Thien the question was, "Now what do I do with all these power tools I've acquired?"
     Ironically, that weekend we were staying with our friends, Cindy and Harvey in Birmingham, AL, while we went to the Kentucky Art Festival. Harvey is REALLY into his yard, and he insisted that he show me his newly laid out nature path in his backyard. We were walking around when Harvey stopped and announced, "And here I'm going to buy me a bench!" "Oh no you're not, Harvey." I said, "I'm gonna BUILD you a bench!" That night Harvey was regaling us with stories of his attempts to rid his attic of squirrels, which was when I decided to make him a squirrel bench.


     Squirrel bench begat chicken chair which begat porcupine bench and so on. Besides all those people who have been kind enough to let me build them a bench, always sight unseen since each one is unique and always price unknown beforehand since my charge is simply the cost of the materials. My artistic inspirations are Al Wadzinski, genius creator of found (read junk) art from Minneapolis, MN. Juanita Leonard, of Montgomery, LA, artist, preacher, and confidante, Kim Peterson of Fort Lauderdale, FL, artiste extrodinaire, soulmate, and astral twin, and OL' Roff of Graves Country Gallery, Lodi, GA, for the many hours we have spent ruminating on art.
     I hope you enjoy viewing my creations. Considering the TRUE art I have been fortunate enough to acquire over the years. I still refuse to glorify my work with this exalted title. What I do is not fine art, it's certainly not fine wood-working, but it's a helluva lot of fun! G-d bless!

  Mark's Ark 2006-2023