The second question people often ask me is, "why did I give up my veterinary profession to become a woodworker?" The short answer is, I did not feel like I chose to, the wood chose me.
When I first moved to Margaret River from Melbourne 20 years ago I stayed in a house that had a stack of jarrah firewood. On a whim I sanded one of the pieces. I discovered the hidden beauty of the grain that I had only seen in galleries and fine wood craft. That was the spark. I became fascinated with different timbers and what lay beneath their often worn and weathered surfaces. I found, the more gnarled the wood, the more interesting the grain patterns and shapes they contained.
I love to work with wood that has character. Often it presents more challenges than straight grained uniform material. However, it is the irregularities that I draw inspiration from and help to add depth to the end product.
Early on in my wood journey I started to develop the skills required to turn this fascinating medium into practical things. To showcase the wood, to satisfy my technical nature and to offer something that can be admired and used. I became involved with several wood work classes and have had a few mentors on the way. I made my first pepper grinder at the Ballarat Men's Shed, my first bowl with the ' Timber Wolf, and my first involved joinery piece at a course with 'Get Wood Working'.
The teacher I have spent the most time with though is , 'the hard yards'. I have spent countless hours in the shed experimenting and reflecting. Really the hard yards have not been so hard because I have been doing what I enjoyed.
A big step for me was to display my work publically for the first time (7 years ago). There was both fear and excitement when I had a stall at the local Sunday market. Putting my work out there for public scrutiny was made easier because of the support and community of the other market stall holders. Since then I have displayed and sold my work through many different avenues, including local galleries Boranup Galleries and Margaret River galleries.
Currently I find myself in a well equiped workshop surrounded by a varying a array of beautiful WA timbers that I have collected over the years. Much of my recent work has been commission based. I have been enjoying the challenges that making tables presents. Balancing creative, aesthetic and practical aspects. I enjoy working with and involving people in timber selection and the design and refinement processes.
I hope to continue to create well made, interesting pieces that people will gain pleasure from displaying and using in their homes. I hope to continue to be inspired by natures gift of wood.