You never know what he will create next

Judson Beaumont from Straight-line Design creates furniture that is anything but straight, always hoping to create some shock with his ideas and make you think…

About the speaker


Judson Beaumont was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1960. He came to Vancouver, BC to study art at Capilano College, completing his studies at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. He graduated from their 3-D department in 1985 and that same year founded Straight Line Designs Inc., creating one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and commissions.

“When I was young, I used to think that in order to design and build anything; one had to get a set of instructions from a book or a magazine. I always assumed that someone else had to come up with the ideas and then you were supposed to build it that way.

“I guess that is why most furniture looks the way it does.” Mr. Beaumont continues, “In my first sculpture class in Art School I learned quite the opposite. I asked my instructor what it was that I should make, and his response was to do whatever I wanted. It did not matter whether it was a good or a bad idea; it was important to just try and do something different. Art school was a good influence; it made me look at things differently.”

Judson continues, “From that day on I never looked at building the same. I had a new focus: to design and build differently. I started with minimalist shapes that slowly transformed into functional furniture. My early furniture pieces were simple in form and shape for I was not a good builder. The more confident I became, the more unusual my ideas became.”

“My rule is: if you can draw and design it, you can build it. I love it when someone tells me that, ‘You cannot build that’ or ‘No one would want that’. These words only encourage me more.”

With passion for ‘something different’, Judson is always searching for new ways to make people question the objects around them. The challenge is to design pieces that are new, inspiring and always highly functional. “A person must dare to drift away from the tried and true in order to give a piece energy and interest. Be influenced and inspired by the norm, and then challenge it, change it, melt it, stretch it, alter it for the better” says Judson.

Judson has always striven to push the limits, try different things. He questions everything and takes it to the next level through functionality or bending the rules. Taking a different path with something that has been done over and over again, Judson incorporates a sense of uniqueness to his designs; proving that anything is possible and that ideas are limitless.

Judson has donated many pieces to charitable organizations including Arts Umbrella, the Vancouver Art Gallery, BC Guide Dog Services, AIDS Vancouver and BC Children’s Hospital. In addition to his donations, Judson takes time out of work to give talks and slideshow presentations to students of all ages as well as design professionals. He is an active member of BC Wood, Woodlinks and the Furniture Society and a regular speaker at woodworking related workshops at BCIT.

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career? Creativity is being curious. I am always curious and always asking questions. Many of my pieces begin with me asking the question of “what if?” Always trying to push the limits and see how far we can take an idea.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration? Everywhere! I draw creativity from everything, and try to always look at things differently. If I have to round it off to one, I really enjoy architecture. The more traveling that I do, the more I find that I am inspired by different forms of architecture. I am inspired by types, from grain elevators in Saskatoon to the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person? Growing up my older brother was always a talented woodworker and knew how to build things “the right way”. When I was younger I would try to build things “the right way” but they wouldn’t turn out right. I wish that I would have known that it’s okay to do things a different way, and to be different from other people. Maybe then I would have tried doing my own thing and had more fun with it.

Who would you like to hear speak at Creative Mornings? Nico Spacecraft, they do some really innovative work.

When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck? I will I push that idea away for the moment and take out another piece of paper and then work on something that is completely different. I always like to have lots of different projects going on rather than focusing on one thing at a time.

What practices, rituals or habits contribute to your creative work? I like to get up very early and go for a run. After that, I head straight to the shop, I like to be the first one in my studio because it lets me prepare for the day and makes me feel like I am getting a head start on everyone.

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