Board Member Spotlight: Mary Gage-Los

Mary Gage-Los is one of our founding board members. She serves as our Board Secretary, sits on our Marketing Committee, and chairs our Development Committee. Prior to moving to Saratoga in 2010, Mary worked for 25 years for national and regional nonprofits as both an Executive Director and a Development Director, including the Student Conservation Association and the American Cancer Society. She has also consulted with businesses to help them initiate first time giving/grants programs.

We recently sat down with Mary to ask her some questions about how she got so awesome and how we got so lucky!

Why did you decide to become involved in the Joinery?

I became involved in the Joinery because I have been a very limited, self-taught woodworker my whole life but since I have never had an actual training I know there is so much to learn. Chris Bennett introduced me to John Haller and when John shared his vision of a community space where people of all skill level would be comfortable - I knew it was something I not only wanted to be a part of - but wanted to help make happen.  It’s been really exciting watching it take shape!

What sparked your passion for woodworking?

My dad had a shop in our basement and I grew up watching him make really beautiful things - including a doll house for me that was a replica of the house I grew up in - right down to the wallpaper in my bedroom. When I started painting, I learned to build my own stretchers.  My paintings were pretty big and it was a lot cheaper to build them.

Are you working on something now?

I am not working on anything that could be considered fine woodworking - but I did just do some built-ins for my laundry room - a lot of paint and caulk - don’t look too closely.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in woodworking?

I would not classify myself as an accomplished woodworker at all but -  I would boast that I can do more with a chop saw than anyone would think possible!!

What do you hope for personally with your Joinery involvement? 

I’ve been building simple oak frames for my paintings for a long time.  And they’re actually pretty nice - I like the simplicity - I’m not a fan of ornate frames.  But I really want to learn how to make a nice floating frame that joins together nicely.

Additionally, I know a lot of women in the area who are genuinely interested in trying their hand at woodworking but don’t know where to begin.  A lot of them just haven’t had access to tools. I’m looking forward to seeing them coming down to the shop seeing how rewarding it is to build something themselves.

Saratoga Joinery is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization. We rely upon community support to keep our blades spinning. We are so grateful for our many volunteers for helping us create this space; we truly couldn’t do it without you.