Martha Collins


Leaving graduate school in the early 1970’s, Martha envied friends who had a cabinet shop.  It resonated deep with her, that at the end of the day there was something  made that did not exist before.  After a short internship as a carpenters apprentice Martha was trained by the State of Michigan as a cabinetmaker.  Title 9 had just gone through and Martha was the first woman in this program.  Martha remembers it as being “a wonderful Two and half years of instruction, everyday from 8 to 3.”  Upon graduation she was hired by the John Widdicomb Furniture company of Grand Rapids as a management trainee in their sample room. 

In 1978 Martha opened her own shop in Kalamazoo,  producing cabinets and custom furniture.  At the same time she was apprenticing in a shop where wood jewelry was made.  It was here that Martha learned about exotic woods and  how to dye maple veneer.  Says Martha, “It was a “what if” moment when we discovered how to make the Helical Mosaic Chevron Bracelet,  taking a fletch of rosewood veneer and shifted the pieces, laminating and turning it.”  Upon examination the maestro of the shop said ” it looks like I made my own grain”  and the other apprentice said  ” What if we did this with a laminate material”!!   And thus it began:  this incredible journey exploring a wonderful process of laminating  different specie of wood and dyed veneers and then turning it on a lathe.

Having attended the University of Oregon,  Martha knew she wanted to live in the Northwest, so in 1983 her family moved to Sequim to a house and shop that she designed and built.  Here along with cabinets and furniture Martha produced a line of bracelets that she offered through galleries along the West coast.  In 1995 she was able to work for Admiral Marine in Port Townsend building the interiors of yachts.  It was challenging good work  which she loved.  

Since 2000 Martha has been back in her own shop, producing a full line of jewelry, bowls and tableware.  She shows her work at the finest craft shows in the country, including the American Craft Exposition in  Glencoe IL and the Bellevue Art Museum Artfair.  Martha offers classes in her own studio and teachs at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking , Pratt Art Center in Seattle and BARN on Bainbrige Island and has given many presentations to different chapters of the American Association of Woodturners.