2017-06-28 / Front Page

Local author and artist publishes children’s book

By Paula DiSimone

Gary Mead is one of the true “artistes” of the area. He is a folk artist continually challenging and learning new skills. He was born with his talent and has continually advanced it as he aged. Recently Gary has added author to his list of these talents. My First Tree Book, Sweet Sap is a children’s book about tree spirits with this one being the first in a series of four he intends to author. His objective in writing books is to educate and teach people to appreciate what we have.

A true local, Gary was raised on a dairy farm in New Kingston which didn’t leave him much time for woodworking. As a child, he just looked at wood as a material with which to make fires but soon his interest grew. In school, he became proficient in shop class, won awards and began to make furniture at age 16 for his bedroom and enjoyed the craft. He comes from a line of artistic people. His mother was a needle worker and made clothes without patterns, his great grandfather made art from twisted vines, obviously it’s in his blood.

In 1979 he decided to follow his dream. He left the farming life behind and started his own fine woodworking shop, Fruitful Furnishings which consists of a sawmill, dry kiln, the Gary Mead Gallery and three employees. Mead first cuts and kiln-dries boards, then creates.

Originally Gary worked with imported woods but soon realized he was “tripping over” wood at home. Now his furniture and sculptures are all crafted from the local butternut, soft maple, red beechnut, pine, birch, and hemlocks that he loves. His famous Xylophone Table is made of cherry, walnut, and wormy maple. Gary loves all wood, even that bound for the scrap heap. There’s no such thing as imperfection, notches, knots, wrinkles—all are appreciated.

Of all his creations Gary has no favorite pieces, “I love them all passionately, equally for what they can provide, I bring the wood to their destiny”. He adds “My love for woodworking began as an addiction but has developed into a passion.”

Several people have approached Gary to apprentice with him but that’s difficult because of the way he works. He does not plan his furniture but is led by the wood that evolves into art. He says. “When the average person looks at a tree, they see a tree, I see many things.” Even in pieces overlooked by other woodworkers, Gary sees a piece of art.

Visit the Gary Mead Gallery located in Margaretville right on Southside Road anytime the sign is out on Route 28 at Fair Street or go online @www.gary-mead.com. His book is available at his Gallery, the Nest Egg in Phoenicia and Catskill Seasons on Main Street in Margaretville.

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