On the Table
Eau Claire furniture artist Mark Ruddy
When walking into a house, most people are quick to comment on the art hanging on the walls. Mark Ruddy is attempting to change that convention, one piece of furniture art at a time. Since 1970, he’s been making various furniture pieces with a functional approach while always keeping a sculptor’s perspective in the forefront of his mind. The traditional sculptural elements of form, line, and texture can all be found throughout his one-of-a-kind pieces. Most of Mark’s pieces start by the inspiration that comes from one lonely piece of wood. Though he is open to commission work, his business is at a standstill while he remodels his bungalow on Eau Claire’s Eastside Hill into a work of art that he can live in. In his most recent work, he explored the idea of designing a place of solitude in client’s homes into a place with a spiritual purpose. “By coming to the same physical environment on a regular basis would complement their prayer life.” When asked how this idea of furniture art came to be, Mark simply said, “It was a way out of my depression.” After getting a college degree, Mark “finally realized I was meant to be an artist.” After teaching himself the skill and design sense needed for this labor of love, 40 years later, he is reaping in the benefits. Creating something both beautiful and useful is how Mark “searches to find [his] authentic self which relates directly to staying out of depression.” When questioned on his plans after the house, he laughs and says, “Oh, so you think that will ever get done?” On the back burner on his mind, he would like to build a new lecturn for his church as a gift and also create art for his 22-month-old grandson. Otherwise, “the best I can do is live in the present, and tomorrow will take care of itself.”
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