Tasmanian wood design

Tasmanian wood design

Tasmania is not only home to a selection of unusual and precious timbers, but also to several people who make beautiful things from them. Tasmanian wood design can be seen in all the major museums and galleries in Tasmania, including the Design Centre in Launceston, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk (Launceston), Burnie Regional Gallery and Devonport Art Gallery.

A feature of Tasmanian wood design is the use of special timber species such as the famous Huon and Celery-Top Pine. These trees can grow to be 30 or 40 metres high and several hundred years old, and are noted for their special flexibility and durability. The first Europeans in Tasmania used Huon Pine extensively in the boat building industry because of these qualities. It is still a prized boat building timber. Other particular species you may see in Tasmanian wood design include Myrtle, Blackwood, Tasmanian Oak and Sassafras. You can see many of these trees alive in the wet rainforests of the South and South West.

The management of Tasmanian's natural environment, including its magnificent forests and water courses is a significant issue for many wood designers. Many have been involved over the years with the conservation movement and have strong views on forestry practices in Tasmania, one of the island's major industries. Here you can see and hear wood designer-makers talking about their philosophies and techniques.

Wood designer-maker Peter Adams

Having the opportunity as a youngster to spend my summers in the forests and lakes of Northern Michigan I'm sure has affected what I'm doing right now. I remember being in the forest and playing with sticks, assembling them, and liking the feeling of being with the trees.

Wood designer-maker Mark Bishop

I'm a self-taught wood turner. That didn't satisfy me in some way, there was something missing. So I toddled off to the Canberra School of Art and spent a couple of years there doing a furniture-based wood course.

Wood designer-maker Peter Costello

I turned to furniture mid-career. I was actually trained as a musician and a high school teacher and I decided to do something else. I'd done a lot of building before and I suddenly decided to build stuff that I was going to sell instead of keep.

Wood designer-maker Linda Fredheim

About fifteen years ago I bought a little house that I was going to renovate but I could never find anyone to do things exactly as I wanted them.

Wood designer-maker Stuart Houghton

I was born in Melbourne and I've been in Tasmania for about 14 years. I like Tasmania because I like the bush, I like the weather, I like the timber. It's a much more natural environment than the mainland. The landscape here is inspirational to my work.

Wood designer-maker Toby Muir-Wilson

My workshop is on part of the family farm and I've lived alongside it or near it all my life apart from the occasions where I've been studying or working overseas or interstate.

Wood designer-maker Kevin Perkins

I was born in Tasmania. My father was in the timber industry so I was always surrounded by stories of timber and things like that. I left school at 14 to do a trade in joinery. Prior to that I was more interested in making boats.

Wood designer-maker John Smith

I came to Australia in 1970 to take up a teaching position at the Tasmanian School of Art. We were probably some of the last of the Ten Pound Poms. I was very keen after going through college in the UK to travel overseas and try other cultures.

Wood designer-maker Marcus Tatton

I remember carving when I was about 8. I used to steal my mum's lino carving tools. I was able to go down to the workshop in the garage and carve away. I think the first thing I came up with was an acanthus leaf. I was really pleased with that.


Aboriginal shell necklaces

Shell necklace making is one of the few surviving traditional Aboriginal crafts in Tasmania. There are only a handful of Aboriginal women who are still actively making the necklaces.