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.
"Most of my inspiration comes from my love for the sea, nature, popular surf breaks,
and the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands."
Growing up in a family of artists and artisans in Southern California, Heather Brown found her passions in both art and nature at a very early age. Later, working as a boat captain and dive master to put herself through the Bachelors of Fine Arts program at The University of Hawaiʻi gave Heather Brown the perfect vantage point to fill her head with the beautiful imagery of the Hawaiian Islands. Heather Brown honed her artistic skills as a student at the University, focusing primarily on the "lost arts" of intaglio printmaking, silkscreen printing, linocuts, woodcuts, and etchings which explains where her iconic style was born and bred. Heather Brown has made it her life's work to capture the true essence of the most beautiful beaches, surf breaks, and locales in Hawaiʻi and around the world. She has been coined the "Godmother of Modern Surf Art" by the Los Angeles Times. Heather Brown’s art has become a benchmark in the global surf art market, finding its way into collector’s homes around the world. Throughout Heather Brown’s career she’s been named "Best Artist In Hawaiʻi" for four consecutive years, and chosen as Rip Curl’s "Artist of the Search" for the past five years now garnering her own clothing line "Heather Brown for Rip Curl." She has created art for The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Festival, The Surfrider Foundation and many more as well as opening up Heather Brown Galleries in Tokyo, and Osaka Japan. She continues to work with numerous non-profits around the world, always keeping "giving back" extremely close to her heart.
Pat & Peggy Bookey
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.