Ian Thwaites

I am a full-time teacher of woodworking and furniture design, with students aged from 12 to 79 years, and have a degree in Industrial Arts. I have been exploring my artistic side since I first began studying in 1980. Over the years I have completed many studio furniture commissions and have a lot left to explore in that area. I have always been drawn back to the wood lathe as a means to shape wood and bring to fruition my ideas for functional and sculptural objects.

I have been enthusiastically exploring the possibilities of the lathe and revealing the inner secrets of both local and other sourced timbers using a blend of traditional and innovative techniques. I believe I have been producing an eclectic range of strikingly beautiful and sometimes quirky pieces of work. Function is not high on my design fundamentals list. Aesthetic value and clever use of both the lathe and the raw material to produce pieces to be treasured and appreciated is my main commitment when designing.

A pivotal moment in my development as an artist was reading a book called the “Purpose of the Object” by a Canadian designer/maker named Steven Hogbin. He was cutting and segmenting his turned work and re-assembling to produce some very different pieces, conjuring images of movement and intriguing the viewer to wonder how? My take on his cut and re assembled technique was to create boats by removing a wedge section from a textured bowl to create a sweeping curvilinear formed hull. I have always loved this “Tumble Home” yacht hull profile with its curvaceous and billowy form. I think, that within all of us, there is a sense of wonderment when seeing a boat sail purposefully out to sea. The image raising several question: Who is on board? Where are they going? What is their cargo? Where have they been?

The transference of this intrigue has led me to use my boats as an extended metaphor to make statements and observations on many topics: Global Financial crisis, vanity, global warming international politics, human nature or just to stimulate the human predilection with sailing away to another life place or reality!

I have always had an interest in the environment and making the most of products, resources and materials. Over the last few years I have been involved with the Tangaroa Blue organisation and the beach clean-ups they conduct along our coastline. The materials discarded into our oceans and waterways interest me in their origins and reasons for being discarded. I have been using the driftwood collected to make furniture and birdhouses. I have been using the found plastics to create framed compositions. This value adding to discarded products has been both satisfying and rewarding.

I look forward to sharing my artistic journey with interested art lovers during 2020 open studios.

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.