Echoes in Wood: Custom Carving by Woodworking Studio
What inspires an artisan to create a custom carved sculpture that is not just lifelike but has a sense of vitality in itself? CustomMade woodworker Mark Yundt of Woodworking Studio has a special appreciation of wood’s capacity for life and transformation, which he shared in a story for The Morning Call newspaper by Kathy Lauer-Williams:
“Carving is a symbol of my own personal journey,” says the intense Yundt. “Wood itself is very spiritual. You cut it down, it dies. Then you transform it and it lives again as sculpture.” Calling his work “intangible echoes of the soul,” Yundt strives to bring life to his wood sculpture and architectural carving that can be seen in churches throughout the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, as well as in the homes of celebrities such as Nazareth race car driver Mario Andretti.
Mark can create hand-carved wood pieces for homes or places of worship that will bring together “the client’s dreams, the designer’s ideas, and the artist’s inspiration” in distinctive works that will harmonize with their architectural surroundings. Here are a few projects from the Woodworking Studio portfolio on CustomMade.
This wisteria desk for a home office captures the colors and weight of the beautiful, flowering vine, a favorite of the customer’s wife. The desk itself is a very classic design, which heightens the impression that the basswood carving appears to be growing up out of the ground on twisted trunks and climbing under the desktop. The carving was designed deep enough to allow backlighting of the vines and desk front, too.
Mark began his woodcarving career by teaching himself to carve wildfowl. Within a short time, his carved feathered friends won a national and a world carving championship. You can see his gift for portraying wildlife in these elephant head island legs. Carved from walnut for customers who, evidently, love elephants, the four larger heads were for a kitchen island and the two smaller ones for range hood brackets. These big fellows are also part of the working environment of the clients’ kitchen. Two of the heads have hollow tubes inside so electrical service can reach the kitchen island.
All dimensions of this piece are exactly those shown in the original Shroud. Significant research was undertaken to ensure the accuracy of this piece. I met with doctors, researchers, theologians, authors, and others who have thoroughly studied the Shroud. Before even setting chisel to wood, I meticulously sculpted a full-size clay model that enabled me to work out every detail. The sculpture now resides in the Alvernia College Chapel in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Check out the “Religious Gallery” on the Woodworking Studio’s website for more images of this incredible piece (as well as a picture of the artist at work) and other custom carving commissions for churches.