I was born in Tasmania in 1964 and grew up surrounded by nature and people who were creating beautiful things that were inspired by the landscape. The seventies were a vibrant time for craft and the energy was fuelled by the ongoing threat to the natural environment by Logging and Hydro Electric schemes There seemed to be a desperation in the craftspeople to capture Tasmania’s beauty in their work before it was snatched away.
Although my awareness of fine craft was created in Tasmania, it wasn’t until I moved to Brisbane that I discovered I had an affinity with timber. In the mid-eighties I set out to learn everything I could about becoming a furniture maker. There were few apprenticeships available in which you would be working only with solid timber. Most commercial enterprises were using man-made materials.
There were some wonderful traditional craftsmen working from small workshops though and I was able to learn a lot from hounding everyone who I could find to teach me. I pieced some things together for myself and did a lot of Antique restoration as well. This taught me a lot about construction and finishes, although these days I lean more towards conservation rather than restoration. Fashions change and we have become more educated in Australia about preserving the past and not sanding it away.
Commissions started coming in and I worked steadily as a designer/maker for about twelve years, I became a bit disenchanted by the solitary workshop life and branched out into teaching and writing articles for The Australian Wood Review and Carbatec’s online woodworking magazine, Focus. I also worked for Carbatec, an Australian retailer of high quality woodworking tools in their retail shop and marketing department for several years.
I have developed an interest in making small spoons and wooden vessels for serving food. I believe the way food is presented is extremely important. Wooden utensils give the artist a great opportunity to blend form and function.
No matter what you make from timber, you can’t improve on a tree. I don’t like to see trees cut down if it’s not necessary and I believe in using every last bit. Making small pieces mean I can find a use for everything. Sourcing material ethically and being mindful about waste, are elements that are fundamental to all aspects of creativity.