Mark Coleman exhibits wares at Calico Fort

Published 4:38 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

Calico Fort organizer Frieda Cross pulled out her list of artists and craftsmen registered for this year’s Calico Fort and stopped reading at the name Mark Coleman. She walked across her office and pointed to a wooden cross that is painted like an American flag.

“This is what makes Calico Fort so wonderful,” Cross said. “It’s people putting everything from their imagination into their work.” 

Cross said she is fascinated by what mediums artists use. She has a collection of everything from animals hewn out of od golf balls to crosses made out of wood. 

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“This cross is by artist Mark Coleman,” she said. “I have another one hanging at my house.”

Cross purchased the work during one of the Calico Fort festivals, and she is eager to see what Coleman will share this year.

Coleman has participated in Calico for about nine years. He enjoys working with wood.

“I have primarily wooden puzzles. I have some wooden crosses with a flag motif. I will bring word art with biblical scripture,” Coleman said. 

The Greenville resident said he uses wood from all over the world when creating his work.

“I have some things that are made out of walnut, African Mahogany, and South American wood,” he said.

Coleman said he has family members who enjoyed his craft as well. 

“My family has a medical history,” Coleman said. My grandfather was a medical doctor, but he made fine furniture and wooden puzzles too.”

“ I like to use wood to make something that people find enjoyable and can see the prettiness in it,” Coleman said.

Coleman said  his tradition of selling his work at Calico is important because of the people who come to it every year.

 “Since I grew up in Fort Deposit, and lived in this area most of my life,  a lot of what I enjoy at Calico is seeing people I know or ones that I haven’t seen for a while,” Coleman said.

Cross agreed with Coleman that seeing old friends and new art is important to her. When asked why she continues going to Calico, she leaned forward, smiled and said, “Because it’s fun.”