Art Biography

Photo of Gordon shaping a piece of hardwood with a traditional spokeshave.

Folk musician/composer Gordon Bok has been a woodworker for most of his life, having grown up with the local shipyard as his playground and place of learning. While not a boat builder, he has built a few small boats and repaired and maintained many larger ones. He has designed and built many tools and articles of furniture, houses and barns to his and others’ needs. His woodcarving was a natural extension of his woodworking. His bas-relief carvings celebrate the people, boats and fisheries he grew up with around the coast of Maine. Gordon has the ability to capture a way of life or to define a rare moment with an intimacy that is immediately engaging. Sometimes his art takes the form of poetry, and often the words find their way into a song. Sometimes there are no words, just deft fingers coaxing the story out of the guitar strings. Sometimes this intimacy is carefully carved into a slab of wood. Gordon has been a woodcarver for over thirty years; it is just another way to preserve the ideas and culture that are expressed in his songs.

“In a life spent working around this coast (and this country), I’ve collected some interesting people and experiences. Some of these I’ve managed to process: they’ve found voices in songs, poetry, writing and instruments I’ve designed.

“Carving seems to find experiences that have fallen through the cracks, perhaps because I often carve in silence. Some of these pieces represent the processing of some long-buried memories. Others are simply honoring the people I have known and the work they took pride in, that told me I could take pride in my own.”~Gordon Bok