Martin & MacArthur: A 60 Year Legacy of Fine Koa Furniture
CEO says no live trees are cut – only trees that are fallen, dead or dying
In the cavernous 35,000-square-foot Martin & MacArthur workshop in Kalihi, Bach Nguyen leans over a 2-by-4-foot piece of Acacia koa – its proper name – moving a small hand-sander back and forth, back and forth, smoothing the board that will become the top of a dresser.
His right hand works the sander, his left leans on the board, feeling for texture, measuring the smoothness with the practiced touch of a master craftsman.
For 25 years Nguyen has worked here as one of the company’s 30 craftsmen – each with their own “bench” space in the warehouse workshop that produces handmade koa furniture.
Tim Nguyen lives on Oahu, Hawaii and his oil and lacquer paintings are exhibiting through out Hawaii, Asia, Europe, and America. Tim’s art is collected worldwide.
Tim Nguyen was always interested in art as a child. Tim began his career as an interior designer, yet ever since he can remember, painting has been his favorite form of self expression. After a visit to the Hawaiian Islands in 2001, Tim was so inspired and he decided to live here in the island of the Oahu. His first career in Hawaii as a taxi driver took a back seat. Tim got a shot of encouragement while showing ands selling his work at the Zoo Fence in Honolulu on a Sunday afternoon. After early success Tim parked his taxi and began painting full time. His brush has lead him many places including many trips back to his roots in Vietnam where he created and currently manages a lacquer painting factory. Tim paints with his power of emotion. This energy is apparent to anyone who looks at his work.
The Bookeys attended the Desert Woodturners’ Symposium in Arizona in February 2007, and were both mesmerized by the work of Binh Pho, which incorporated turning, piercing and airbrushing.
Returning home with a brand new airbrush, gold paints, an NSK carver and all the accessories, Pat and Peggy began to collaborate; the thin-walled vessels would be turned by Pat, and then Peggy would use the combination of her egg carving experience and the newfound inspiration from the work of Binh Pho, Brian McEvoy, Joey Richardson and J. Paul Fennell to enhance the surfaces of Pat’s turnings, gradually developing her own style of piercing. There were, however, plenty of other things keeping the pair busy: “We have had a significant role in raising our two grandchildren,” Peggy explains, “So we developed a system where Pat would turn a vessel while I looked after the kids, then we would switch and I’d work as fast as possible on the piercing… it was one heck of a feat working at that speed, I really pushed that drill!”
After working at their new collaboration for some time, the couple made their first foray into the woodturning arena at the AAW Four Corners Contest. The Alaska portion of the contest was held in Anchorage and judged by Dick Sing and Soren Berger; the Bookeys won best of show with their piece ‘Rose n’ wood’, but they didn’t take the win complacently, and asked J. Paul Fennell to further critique the piece: “It took me about 15 minutes before I could stop crying and comprehend J. Paul Fennell’s suggestions!” Peggy says, but constructive criticism from experienced turners has always benefited their work.