Hidden in the Mather House basement is a small room known as the wood-turning studio, run by Alan Hark, an accomplished artist and wood turner. He’s spent his 18-year career perfecting the craft of the wood-turned bowl, and he also does production and restoration turning and teaches wood turning to the Harvard community. According to Hark, the Mather wood-turning program is the only wood-turning program in the Ivy League.

The program began eight years ago when a Mather resident tutor took a class with Hark outside Harvard, and liked it so much that he insisted Hark try teaching at the University. In the past few years, the studio for wood turning moved from a small space near the dean’s office to a nicer one with new equipment in Mather’s basement. Students from all of Harvard’s Houses as well as University affiliates are welcome to take Hark’s wood-turning classes.

“The wood-turning program is unique in several ways. Wood turning is a highly specialized activity that requires heavy equipment and expertise. Not only is the studio established with resources for several students, but Mather House has been very fortunate in identifying an outstanding teacher, Alan, who is dedicated to teaching and loves the work and students,” said Amy Deipolyi, a former Harvard undergraduate and now a nonresident tutor and clinical fellow in radiology.

“The other wonderful aspect of Mather wood turning is the way it brings together students, tutors, and others. I’ve met several inquisitive and talented undergraduates, graduates, and members of the larger Harvard community. The sharing of a common experience united us in a common purpose, and allowed us to learn from others with diverse backgrounds.”

— Scott Eisen

1 Students in Mather House learn the art of wood turning.
2 Demetrio Anaya `15 (right) gets some assistance from artist Alan Hark during a class in the Mather House wood-turning studio. Hark has been teaching wood turning at Harvard for eight years.
3 After his one-on-one with Hark, Stephen Mackereth `15 carefully puts his new skills to use.
4 Anaya focuses intently on his work.
5 Mackereth dons protective face wear while working on his latest creation. Hark oversees the action.
6 Mackereth makes grooves in his wood piece.
7 Mackereth gets some pointers from Hark.
8 Students work in the Mather House studio using high-end wood for their artistic creations.
9 A variety of glues and other materials are used in the wood-turning studio. A variety of glues and other materials are used in the wood-turning studio.
10 Wood-turned bowls sit pretty. They were created in Hark’s advanced wood-turning class.
11 Examples of some of the student artwork created in studio.