Mike Mahoney, Professional Production Turner
Full Time Woodturner
I graduated in 1989 from San Diego State University from the Industrial Arts program wanting to be a fulltime woodturner. I was selling my work through local galleries and doing weekend art shows, while working a full-time job. After moving to Utah, I took the leap into full-time woodturning, trying to find additional galleries and opportunities to sell my work; looking for something a bit more stable I ventured into the wholesale craft market. I took my wares to The Buyers for American Craft Show in Philadelphia (a bi-annual show held at the Philadelphia convention center). This is where I built my business and was able to establish relationships with enough galleries to buy my work on a regular basis to make woodturning my livelihood.
The main staple of my business is making salad bowls, generally from 10" to 17" in diameter. All of the bowls are made from wood that is growing here in my valley. I use soft hardwoods, such as boxelder, silver maple, ash, English walnut, and poplars. All of these woods are excellent for utilitarian bowls. I also use highly figured woods for my bowls, which makes them easier to sell.
In addition to salad bowls, I make burial urns for humans and animals. This evolved from my interest in making hollow vases. I hand-chase threads on the lid and the neck of the hollow form so that it seals tightly, which makes it unique. The market for urns is never ending.
I also specialize in nested bowls. Coring bowls from the inner parts of my larger bowls manifested this skill. I felt that if I cored them properly they would fit together nicely and waste less wood.