Ships Ahoy! Owner of Deadrise Maritime, Mark Wiest is a skilled and talented shipwright and furniture maker. A resident of Tilghman Island, Wiest is dedicated to the advancement and preservation of the maritime cultural heritage of commercial fishing families along the Eastern Shore. Expressing this desire, he explained that he started as a home carpenter and is “passionate about working with wood as both an occupational art and a form of expression and [I] feel blessed that I get to make my living working with raw material and tools to build things every day.”
As a shipwright, Wiest will be showcasing these boatbuilding skills through a mast-carving demonstration that will highlight traditional woodworking methods. Using these woodworking skills, of both land and sea, to build, maintain, restore, and repair boats, Wiest does so with the support of his local community, which includes many watermen and charter boat captains. These types of maritime occupations are woven into the very fabric of Maryland’s coastal shores, and have shaped the cultural landscape of the region. A source of local identity for many, and with over 3,190 miles of shoreline in Maryland, the occupational maritime culture of the Eastern Shore is prevalent with deep roots, which Wiest aims to continue.
Wiest was mentored by master shipwright Mike Vlahovich, who was a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow. Vlahovich created the Coastal Heritage Alliance, which Wiest represented at the 2016 Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival. Wiest also received a Folklife Apprenticeship Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2018-19 to learn furniture making under James McMartin and James Beggings, owners and operators of McMartin and Beggings, a furniture-making company that employs traditional techniques.