Showcasing Mexican huanacaxtle, or parota wood, Ruben Beltran designs a set of tables that highlight its grain. He works in a classic style, reminiscent of colonial haciendas. The set of three in graduated sizes nests together when not in use.
"I think that to be a master of our craft, we cannot resign ourselves to what we've already achieved; we must always try to surpass our achievements so each new work is better and better."
"I come from a family of furniture artisans. My father suggested I try my hand at furniture design and crafting, and I liked it.
"My friends consider me a very serious person, but it's easy to make me smile. They also describe me as very secure and optimistic.
"The most difficult time in my life was when my father died because, in a way, I lost my best friend. But he taught me to face life and go on, to work with honesty and a spirit of service. As time passed, things got better.
"I hope to have a lot of work so I can support my family and also to be able to teach this craft to young people from marginalized areas who face greater economic and social challenges. My dream is to reach a ripe old age when I can devote my time to reading.
"In my workshop, we use fine woods from certified sources, and I prefer finishes that don't hide the natural wood grain and color.
"What I most enjoy about this work is when an idea of mine takes shape in reality. And I like the challenge of conjugating aesthetics with functionality and good taste to please and satisfy the shopper.
"I believe that each piece has special characteristics, as a result of my inspiration, and in agreement with my mood when I create the design. I think that to be a master of our craft, we cannot resign ourselves to what we've already achieved; we must always try to surpass our achievements so that each new work is better and better.
"After my father's death, I felt alone and vulnerable because he was the one who'd obtain the materials but, little by little, with the things he taught me, I feel I am getting ahead.
"In the workshop, my mother is the administrator. My brother Francisco and my sister Maria del Refugio meet with clients. I work with our assistants, encouraging them to be patient and painstaking and to keep an open mind.
"Our designs are created with top quality wood, selected for its durability and beauty."