Somewhere beyond the waves of corn stocks and down a country lane just west of Van Alstyne, stands the stately white home of Martin and Billie Beauford.
The pathway to the front door is accented with large mosaic covered stones. An inviting stained glass window above the front door warmly greets every visitor to the land of “Artistry from the Lathe” created by Martin and Billie Beauford.
Martin Beauford may by the artist, but Billie is the muse, cheerleader and the biggest fan of Martin Beauford’s work.
Except for the furniture and the shelving, just about everything in the home is turned wood by Martin Beauford.
Martin Beauford has handcrafted dozens of crafted wood-turned bowls, vases and pierced work in a huge variety of woods from the local woods to the exotics. In the living room is a wooden cookie jar. In the dining room, there is a clock as well as two special wall hangings made of turned wood. Many of the showcased pieces reflect Martin Beauford’s Native American heritage.
The most unusual display is the 355 piece bejeweled bowl using box elder, walnut and pecan woods.
Beauford’s interest in wood-turning was first kindled in his childhood. Martin Beauford’s father was a minister who traveled to many surrounding communities in northern Oklahoma and neighboring states where the family often stayed with host families.
Martin Beauford once visited a family in Colorado.
“The father took me into the basement and showed me how to make a rolling pin,” he said.
Beauford still has the rolling pin and it still turns.
Martin Beauford didn’t have much spare time for wood turning during his college years at Oklahoma State University or during his many years in the research and development department of Phillips Petroleum. His creative engineering energies went into the development of computer systems, seismic equipment, process control, and software development for which he has received five patents.
Since then Martin Beauford’s precision of an engineer was used to create hundreds of items including tops to salad bowl sets to what he calls “artistic turnings that emphasize the form and beauty of the wood.”
In his studio/garage is a wonderland of shapes, saws and sawdust carefully partitioned by slated plastic drops.
Martin Beauford’s philosophy is, “I enjoy the challenge of design of natural surfaces and shapes that express the potential of each piece of wood. I believe that my work should be an expression of the nature and beauty of the wood.”
Martin Beauford has been inspired by such great wood turners as Dale Nish, Richard Raffin, David Ellsworth, Mark Lindquist and Jimmy Clews.
He says he also “gets inspiration from nature, pottery (modern and classical) and other art.”
While wood turning is Martin Beauford’s main passion, he has worked in many other media such as black powder, rockets, stained glass, pencil drawing and oil painting.
“I have an insatiable curiosity,” Martin Beauford said. “If something is interesting, my standard procedure is to go to the library and learn about it.”
Most recently, Martin Beauford has written a short story that is a combination of Indian legend and science fiction. So everyone should stay tuned as there is another creative chapter in the works.