Whimsical furniture artist Judson Beaumont dies
Judson Beaumont designed whimsical art that was also functional furniture like this “melting” dresser.

Judson Beaumont, a Canadian furniture artist and designer known worldwide for wildly creative sculptural designs, often displaying a healthy dose of humor and whimsy, died February 17, at the age of 59.

The cause of death was not immediately reported. His Facebook page listed his “sudden passing.”

A fixture in the Vancouver, B.C., art community, Beaumont was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 1960. He came to Vancouver to study art at Capilano College and completed his studies at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, where he graduated from their 3-D department in 1985. He told one interviewer that his career basically flowed from never wanting to leave art school.

Always with a sense of humor, Beaumont created works that made people smile, like this one called “Bad Table.”


The same year he graduated, he founded Straight Line Designs Inc., creating one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and commissions. According to a description on his website, he started doing hard-edged, geometrical, straight pieces, but after five years of that, “Jud got really bored. He decided to shake it up and try something different.”

That began a cavalcade of creative designs that literally bent the common concepts of what furniture could be. He built dressers that curved or looked like they were melting. He built grandfather clocks that looked like they had come alive and were sitting down to take a rest. Some of the pieces looked like they had just stepped out of an animated cartoon. His “Little Black Dresser” looked like a sexy black dress hanging from a hangar, but it was fully functional with drawers.

A visual pun, the “Little Black Dresser” was a fully functional dresser that hung up like a sexy black dress.

Woodworkers marveled at how he could accomplish these designs structurally. “My rule is: if you can draw and design it, you can build it,” Beaumont said. “I love it when someone tells me, ‘You cannot build that’ or ‘No one would want that’. These words only encourage me more.”

This grandfather clock designed by Judson Beaumont looks like it is tired and taking a rest.

Beaumont’s artistic philosophy was founded in breaking boundaries. “A person must dare to drift away from the tried and true in order to give a piece energy and interest,” he said. “Be influenced and inspired by the norm, and then challenge it, change it, melt it, stretch it, alter it for the better.”

This bench designed by Judson Beaumont was built to look like a sardine can with the lid rolled up.

A statement posted on his Facebook page following his death said, “Jud has touched, inspired, and challenged a large creative community during his time. He was a complex character and a driven craftsman; truly a one-of-a-kind individual with standards beyond us mere mortals. His personality was larger than life which reflected highly in his work.”

Lots of Judson Beaumont’s designs looked as though they were coming alive, like this one called “Ms. Pearson.”

Besides his own creative work, Beaumont was known for being supportive of other artists particularly in the Vancouver art community. Tiko Kerr worked with Beaumont at Parker Street Studios in East Vancouver for 30 years. He told Gloria Macarenko, host of the On the Coast program, “He just had a capability of really learning in the present and being one of the most positive human beings you could possibly imagine. There's nothing that's more appealing in life than an artist who is really connected to his creativity, and Jud had been in that position for his entire practice."

Beaumont is survived by his wife of 33 years, Kate, and children Taylor and Shelby. No funeral arrangements were immediately available.

To see an interview with Judson Beaumont, check out the video below.



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William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.