Don Mabry operates a small north-central Texas woodworking shop, Heirlooms Inc. As a woodworker, a lifelong appreciation of colonial antiques led to restoration, repair, and the creation of reproduction furniture.
While visiting New England, he toured Hancock Shaker Village where the woodworking shop sparked an interest in the methods, materials, and expertise identified with Shaker crafts, especially the elegant oval box. Later trips to Canterbury, New Hampshire, and Sabbathday Lake, Maine, added to this appreciation. Although he has crafted a few Shaker reproduction furniture pieces, he now specialized in oval boxes, carriers, and related items.
"I am amazed that such a simple design produces something so functional and beautiful," said Mabry. "The Shakers were incredible craftsmen. I suppose I am a 'traditionalist' in that I try to use the same materials and follow the 200-year-old Shaker methods."
Mabry works most often with maple, cherry, walnut, and pine and finishes the majority of his pieces with either a hand-rubbed natural oil finish or traditional milk paint. His goal is not to invent anything new, only to keep the art form alive.
"I would like to think I am creating a piece that can be treasured and handed down to future generations as a family heirloom. I always try to keep in mind a quotation from Mother Ann Lee, the founder of Shakers in America. She said, 'Your work will be standing long after you die. Leave a good mark.' I hope that I can leave such a "good mark'," said Mabry.
Heirlooms Inc. 2021 Vista Tr. Roanoke, TX 76262 Phone: 817-915-6336
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Biography updated October 3, 2016 Photograph updated October 3, 2016Contact information updated February 10, 2017
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