Story and photos by Shane Flug
Working from their home woodshop in Bowness, brothers Martinus and Adrian Pool bring new life to old skateboards and refurbished wood with their vibrant and colourful woodworking creations.
With community support and a little bit of luck going viral online last Canada Day, the wheels are in full motion serving a global clientele.
“A couple of process videos of how we make our bowls hit the front page of Reddit and went fully viral,” Martinus says. “Since July 1 last year, we’ve tripled our following and we thought we were doing just ducky then… We’ve been sending our bowls all over the world. It’s been a very crazy almost-year now.”
Earning such exposure for their woodshop, AdrianMartinus, began with childhoods spent catching the skateboarding bug.
At around fifth or sixth grade, the siblings’ love of skateboarding growing up at an acreage near Red Deer began with playing at a nearby mini-ramp at a friend’s backyard. After skating on a few first “piece of junk” boards and then buying a first premium wood set at Empire, “that was all we wanted to do or cared about,” Martinus reflects.
Their other shared talent for carpentry stems from using handyman tools at their father’s garage. “With skateboarding, you’re always building your own ramps and building treehouses and stuff…. so that was sort of what we started with.”
Adrian began his carpentry career apprenticing at SAIT in Grade 11. Martinus would follow suit after a career change-of-heart attending film school in Vancouver. Working together in both commercial and residential construction, the brothers took inspiration from Japanese skateboard artist Haroshi, collected jobsite wood waste such as hardwood flooring for “cheap or free,” and began experimenting during evenings and weekends.
Leveraging their connections with friends and Southern Alberta shops such as Ninetimes and Shredz, Martinus and Adrian built a small but growing supply of discarded boards, stripping off grip tape, sanding down the paint and then experimenting with simple wood housewares such as incense burners.
After gaining confidence learning to master such a labour-intensive process, Martinus says, after making their first baseball bat, AdrianMartinus began experimenting with more ambitious projects such as furniture and mosaic artworks, fully making use of every square inch of old skateboard.
“And now our process is super streamlined,” Martinus says.
Expanding into a larger space in Bowness from Airdrie in 2016, Adrian and Martinus have been able to keep multiple projects in progress at once. “Moving into this space definitely helped us [so] that we could have 10 or 15 things on the go at one time,” he says. “Rather than, when we were in Airdie, when it was like, ‘Alright, we’ve got this one thing to make, so that’s what we’re doing until it’s done, and we’ll do the next thing.’”
Martinus credits local artisan vendor hub Market Collective, where Adrian met his now-wife around six years ago, for being “so instrumental in helping us launch as a brand.”
AdrianMartinus has been in business full-time for about five years now with stockists across Canada and the U.S. Ready-made products from their catalogue include tables, crib boards, mosaic wall art, rolling pins and, of course, their viral skateboard bowls.
“We have our product line that we’ve actually folded under Pool Product Design,” Martinus adds. “Adrian’s wife does a ton of the jewelry and planters and other products.”
For Martinus, his sense of fulfillment stems from the sense of creative freedom that can come with the entrepreneurial path running a woodshop.
“Just being able to make whatever we want, the freedom to work from home. We get to build whatever we want.”
Shop for AdrianMartinus products online, on Etsy or at these local stockists. Contact them directly for custom project inquiries that cater to their style. Follow AdrianMartinus on Facebook and on Instagram.