Local artist to carve wood gifts from trees on campus

Friday, March 30, 2012

Gary Mrozek

Gary Mrozek learned a great deal about woodworking in classes he took at St. Cloud State University. Photograph by Neil Andersen 96.

Gary Mrozek Wood Bowl Wood Plate 

Wood harvested from a St. Cloud State oak tree will be made into gifts for University partners around the world.

The wood comes from a tree cut down to make way for the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility under construction at Eighth Street South and Second Avenue, east of the Education Building.

St. Cloud State officials tapped artist Gary Mrozek to put the wood to use. The St. Cloud artist already had a relationship with the University, crafting black walnut bowls as gifts for friends of the University.

“My grandfather was a master carpenter and cabinet maker, though sadly he passed away when I was very young,” said Mrozek, who took art classes from 1999-2004. “I grew up influenced by the many creations he left behind. Woodworking became a necessity when my wife and I purchased a home built in the early 1900s. We couldn’t afford to hire things out, so we did it ourselves, often with the tools my grandfather had used – his generation was prepower tools. It gave me an appreciation of truly working with your hands.

“Mrozek said classes he took at St. Cloud State “were a foundation for my art form. It was in Mathematical Thinking (MATH 193) that I learned of symmetry, proportion and natural occurring patterns such as the Fibonacci Sequence. General Woodworking (ETS 130) is where I had my first formal exposure to a wood lathe and Principals of Sociology (SOC160) exposed me to cultural art.”

Said Mrozek: “I’m thankful for the influence and education of St. Cloud State University and my ability to give back to the community. One good ‘turn’ deserves another.”

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