When I was at John C. Campbell Folk School earlier this year, I was fortunate to get to know Marc Himes and his lovely wife Rene’ who were taking classes there at the same time. I really enjoyed spending time with them and realized quickly that Marc would be an excellent subject for our “Behind the Art” series.

Although he was born in Winfield, Kansas in 1947, Marc has spent most of his life in Michigan. Both of his parents were artistic so it’s not surprising that Marc has been involved with artwork on and off for most of his life. “My mother, who was born and raised on a farm in the Upper Peninsula, was a weaver and could also draw and paint. She was in an art class at the University of Michigan when she met my father in 1939. My father became an architect who, after a successful practice in Kansas, went into teaching. He was also a painter in both oils and watercolor and in the early 80s, after retirement, started woodturning. He took some classes from Rude Osolnik and Dale Nish and bought a Conover lathe. I still have some of his books signed by Rude and Dale. It was in his shop in the late 80's that I first saw and tried a lathe. I think I made a bud vase. He was living in northern Minnesota at the time and I was very busy with a family of 5 children and a demanding Nephrology practice in Marquette. I had no place or time to add another hobby.”


“I had developed an interest in art while in high school in Ann Arbor, where I learned how to make pottery on the wheel. My interest continued during college and medical school, taking ceramics classes at the YMCA. Making pottery was very relaxing and enjoyable, so I actually bought my own wheel and kiln. Although I have not done any pottery since the move to Michigan, I have and display quite a few pieces of my own and local Raku artists in my home.”

Although he spent most of his early years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Upper Peninsula was always a special place for Marc. “As a child, vacation was always synonymous with going to Grandpa's dairy farm, my mother's childhood home. My mother's parents both came to this country in the early 1900's from Finland, never learning to speak English. In the small town where they settled most people were Finnish and still spoke the language. Grandpa was a woodcarver and made horses and spoons, while Grandma, like many of the other Finnish women, was a weaver. My 3 siblings and I had 6 aunts, 10 uncles and 40 cousins. We always tried to get to the farm in the summer to help with the hay crop. It was great fun learning about driving the tractor, harvesting hay, milking cows and just hanging out with everyone else in the family. The uncles also took us hunting and fishing and of course, being Finnish, we used the Sauna (pronounced sowna, not sahna. You have to have the ow sound) as both our only bathing activity and also a great social time. There are great conversations to be had when you are relaxing in the sauna.”

After graduating from medical school at the University of Michigan and completing his medical residency in Minneapolis, Marc found an opportunity to get back to his beloved UP. “I saw an ad for a Nephrologist in Marquette and decided to pursue that branch of medicine so I could return to the UP. I poured myself into the practice, devoted myself to the care of my patients, while being involved in the teaching of residents and medical students who were getting their training at Marquette General Hospital. I was very well received as a physician and a teacher, getting several teaching awards as well as Doctor of the Year from the Nurses. I found the practice of Medicine, and especially Nephrology, to be much more of a calling than a job. It was intense, demanding, and engrossing on emotional, intellectual and personal levels, not to mention the time involved. Work weeks were usually 60-80 hours. Balancing work and family was difficult as we had 4 young children when we moved to Marquette in 1979 and had another child in 1982. Eventually work and other factors led to a divorce in 1994 after 24 years. This was a difficult time but we all went through it as well as we could.”


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Saturday the 20th. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.