Ian Thwaites

I have been involved in working with wood since 1980 when I began to study Industrial Arts at Nedlands College of Advanced Education. During this time I was introduced to many new ways to be creative but the one that really took my interest was woodturning as it was an easy way to shape timber and make useful objects. I developed my skills and supported myself through my studies by producing mostly utilitarian objects and selling them through craft outlets and friends.

In 1982 I was given a book written by Steven Hogbin a Canadian designer/woodturner. In this book he was cutting and reassembling turned objects to create totally new forms. This radical approach had a major influence on my work and threw a whole new light on working with the lathe.

On completing my degree I traveled extensively through Asia India, The Middle East and Europe for 18 months. The culturally diverse influences gained on these travels I draw upon on a regular basis when designing.

During my early years teaching I further developed my design and practical skills producing many furniture and wood turning commissions with pieces going to New Zealand, Canada, Israel, USA, and UK.

In 2002 I was approached by Craftwest to co-host, along with the late Greg Collins, an international residency program to follow the “Designing Futures” conference to be held in Perth. This conference was a gathering of international designers, makers and proponents of lathe based art. The experience of this immersion into the international world of the wood artist was a major revelation.

My work since this liberating experience has been a departure from the rigid confines of producing utilitarian objects and is driven by a new freedom of experimentation and imagination. Form and texture are elements used extensively in my work to conjure images of zoomorfic and fantasy appeal.  Bowl forms with appendages such as wings, fins, legs and wheels are common in many pieces produced.

Along with my interest in wood turning, furniture and sculpture I have always had an interest in the environment and have been frustrated by the marine waste discarded and ending up on our coast. Leading by example to the adults and children I teach I have been producing some inspired works using the recycled/upcycled plastic, driftwood and other “found” objects to construct birdhouses, framed works and other sculptural pieces. The popularity of these works was brought home to me with a sellout exhibition in Oct 2016 through the Margaret River Arts Council.

A recent technological development with in my school has introduced me to the technique of laser cutting wood. This has opened up a whole new world of intricate designs and inlay work that I could only dream of using traditional tools.

I am very excited for this my first entry into MROS and have taken a 4 month sabbatical from my full time teaching job to prepare for this event and to present my work and studio to the wider public.

14 Yates Road, Margaret River

Directions: 300m from the corner of Wilderness and Caves road.


T: 9757 2623



Please note that many of the studios are private venues and not open to the public outside of the Open Studio's event dates. If you wish to visit a studio at an alternative time please contact the artist directly.