Wood Dust Designer Maker
3 key events over 4 big days
Designer Maker is Australia’s most comprehensive design and woodworking educational experience.
Invest in your growth as a woodworking designer maker. Participate, learn and network at Wood Dust.
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Who will be at Wood Dust Designer Maker?
Vic Tesolin is a veteran of the Canadian Army where he served for fourteen years in the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. After his honourable discharge, he was a student at Rosewood Studio where he studied furniture design and making under the guidance of some of North America’s top furniture makers. He ran his own studio furniture business designing and crafting furniture by commission while working at Rosewood as a part-time instructor and craftsman in residence. He realised that making the type of furniture he liked to make didn’t make him much money, so he went in search for a real job… taking the helm at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement magazine as editor and then moving on to Lee Valley tools where he works creating content and teaching seminars at various locations.
Currently Vic is one busy guy. You can usually find him in the shop building furniture or in front of his computer writing articles for various publications around the globe. He’s the author of The Minimalist Woodworker, a book that encourages people who can't run machines because of noise, dust, lack of space or budget, to woodwork with hand tools. With a follow up book in the hopper, he should manage to stay out of trouble for a while ... or not.
Come and meet Vic Tesolin at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Vic at www.victesolin.com
Designer maker Bern Chandley is one of Australia’s most respected, productive and creative contemporary furniture makers. Working from his Melbourne studio, Bern has developed a practice grounded in tradition but rich with innovation. As a craftsman who works predominantly by himself, many of Bern’s techniques allow for simple one-man solutions to complex tasks. Bern has a direct relationship with material and his understanding of the nature of wood is profound. Steam bending is a core process to Bern’s every day furniture making practice.
Bern specialises in a contemporary interpretation of traditional Windsor chairs. Windsor chairs have incredibly strong joinery allowing them to endure generations of punishment, there are numerous original chairs up to nearly 300 years old extant. The structure of these chairs allows for an almost endless variety of designs. From decorative traditional to simplified modern and anything in between. All Bern’s Windsor chairs have solid hand carved seats into which all parts are round tenoned and finished in water-based paint, natural oils and wax.
Bern started his Carpentry/Joinery apprenticeship at 16. After some twists and turns he spent 15 years making sets for the film and television industry. An encounter with American chair maker/teacher Peter Galbert sparked his love of the Windsor chair form.
In his trademark cap, Bern has become something of an Instagram sensation with over 65,000 followers from all over the world watching his progress in the workshop. Bern is the “real deal”, a one-man workshop making world class furniture using a combination of traditional and modern tools and techniques.
Portrait photo by Lillie Thompson
Come and meet Bern Chandley at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Bern at www.bernchandleyfurniture.com
Adam Markowitz is a practicing Architect, furniture / lighting designer and educator. Adam has trained in furniture design in Hobart and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art. He undertook further craft studies at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine USA, where he studied under the likes of Timothy Rousseau and Adrian Ferrazzutti.
Adam’s work has been exhibited both locally and internationally in London and New York. He was awarded the ACE Emerging Design Prize in 2015, Vivid Emerging Design Prize in 2014 and 2016, and was shortlisted for the Australian Furniture Design Award in 2017.
Since 2015 he has operated independent design studio, markowitzdesign, from the Meat Markets in North Melbourne. His practice seeks to find a balance between contemporary design and traditional methods of craftsmanship. He currently also teaches a furniture design subject at the Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne.
Come and meet Adam Markowitz at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Adam at www.markowitzdesign.com
Nelson, New Zealand
David Haig is an internationally renowned, furniture maker from Nelson, New Zealand. Over the last three decades David has been commissioned to design and build a wide range of furniture for clients all over the globe.
Educated in the United Kingdom, David moved to New Zealand in 1976. Changing direction after completing a history degree at Oxford University, he began developing his craft as a woodworker. Starting with antique restoration and then simple pieces like chests and tables, David gradually developed his own design aesthetic and became interested in chair design in particular. Today David is one of New Zealand's most successful furniture designer-makers, working from his home and workshop in Cable Bay.
David is best known for his design, the Monogram rocking chair. This rocking chair was based on a pencil sketch drawn over breakfast one day that gave him the central concept of a few sweeping curves that he’d been trying to bring together as a chair design. The first chair then took three months to build, and though David has modified and improved many of the details and construction processes, the purity of the interconnected curves of the original design have remained.
In addition to designing and making fine furniture, David is a regular teacher at the Centre for Fine Woodworking Nelson New Zealand, and since 2001 has been invited to the North America to teach both short and long courses at the prestigious Centre For Furniture Craftsmanship at Rockport in Maine. David was also a winner at Australian Wood Reviews Studio Furniture 2018, collecting the Bungendore Woodworks Gallery Award for his chair – ‘Folium No.3’.
Come and meet David Haig at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about David at www.davidhaig.co.nz
Carol Russell is a self-taught woodworker who has been making pieces for most of her adult life. Carol began woodworking in 1987 with small furniture projects and antique restoration, spending time in workshops and gleaning what she could from craftspeople who were prepared to share their knowledge. She spent several years on small commission projects, exhibiting her work in galleries in Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.
After many years of making furniture and using machinery to tame the wood and create sharp straight joints, she became drawn to simple hand tools such as carving chisels, knives and spoke shaves. Carol says working slowly by hand gives you the time to read the timber and use the ‘features’ contained within. She has found it a gentler, more considered way to work and one where you have time to ponder on the tree and listen to the radio.
Today much of Carol’s focus is on carving beautiful wooden spoons and teaching from her studio in the inner-city suburb of Paddington, Brisbane. When Carol makes spoons, she is aware that each piece of timber carries with it the story of the tree it came from. The character of the grain speaks to her of diverse landscapes, from high mountain country in Tasmania to harsh desert regions and dry river beds in Western Queensland. Carol says ‘I chose spoons because I love their sensuous, smooth shapes. To me they represent giving, sharing and hospitality. A spoon can be used to serve food to others or given as a gift. They are both sculptural and utilitarian.’
Come and meet Carol Russell at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Carol at www.carolrussellwoodwork.com.au
Ross is a studio furniture maker, multi-media artist and sculptor with a deep understanding of wood technology. Whether he is making a functional timber chair or a creative free form wooden sculpture, Ross is always informed by the nature of wood. With his life partner Tamsin, Ross co-directs the Cooroora Institute in Queensland, sharing the song of the earth through creative practice. The Cooroora Institute brings together artists, musicians and intellectuals interested in the artistry of place. Birdsong becomes furniture, wood grain becomes block prints, leaves become copper sculptures - the politics of humanity rewoven into the ecology of the earth.
In addition to the Cooroora Institute, Ross has also taught at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, and exhibited and presented in Australia, Canada, USA, Germany, UK and New Zealand. Ross’s work has featured in publications including Art Monthly Australia, Craft Arts International, Australian Wood Review, 500 Chairs and 500 Cabinets.
Ross brings humour and the sheer joy of making to every class he runs. With a laugh as big as his beard, Ross can soon bring a room full of strangers into a cohesive team ready to learn.
Come and meet Ross Annels at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Ross at www.rossannels.com
Matt Kenney has made things from wood his entire life. He made his first piece of furniture—a storage box for gardening supplies—more than15 years ago, in the attic above the duplex where he lived. It wasn't much to look at, but making that box awoke a passion for making furniture, a passion that has driven him ever since. He's made a lot of furniture since then, constantly striving to improve his craftsmanship and design. The result of his efforts is furniture that is modern but grounded in the best of classic design, able to sit harmoniously alongside a wide range of furniture styles and built to survive generations of daily use.
Today Matt is an internationally recognised craftsman, educator and author. During the last 10 years, he has focused on making decorative boxes and small tea cabinets, which led him to the art of Kumiko. Matt is also the author of 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks (Taunton Press), a book chronicling his successful attempt to design and make 52 boxes during the course of a year. Matt lives and works in Connecticut with his two children.
Come and meet Matt Kenney at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Matt at www.mekwoodworks.com
Alastair Boell was awarded a Bachelor of Education (Arts and Crafts) at Melbourne University, majoring in ‘Furniture Making’ in 1990. A month after graduating he moved to Japan where he taught English and made furniture for his own pleasure for eight years. While living in Japan Alastair became heavily influenced by the Japanese design aesthetic.
In 2003 Alastair travelled to Boston, USA, where he studied furniture making at the world-renowned North Bennet Street School. This school specialises in 18th and 19th Century hand skills and Alastair was its first Australian graduate. During his two years in the USA he also helped to restore an old diner and took part in a traditional barn raising.
Alastair returned to Australia in 2005 and that same year won The Carbatec Award for Craftsmanship at the Touchwood Exhibition in 2005. He has also appeared on the front cover of the 49th and 74th issue of the Australian Wood Review magazine. In 2006 Alastair was chosen to exhibit his work in the Masters Exhibition at the Timber Working with Wood Show. Alastair also won The Box Making Award for his toolbox at the Timber Working with Wood Show in 2007.
In 2008 Alastair established a fine furniture and woodworking school – The Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking. Since its inception, the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking has become a great source of inspiration to many people from all over Australia. The ‘Guild’ has a well-established reputation for a diverse range of subjects devoted to traditional woodworking skills with a mix of local and international instructors.
Come and meet Alastair Boell at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Alastair at www.mgfw.com.au
Laura McCusker is an international award winning furniture designer/maker based in Hobart, whose practice spans over 20 years.
Her work is represented in in US, UK and European collections and has been commissioned locally by Hobart City Council, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and MONA. Over the course of 2018-2021 her work will travel throughout Australia as part of the ADC’s traveling exhibition Obsessed: Compelled to make.
Described by David Walsh as his 'furniture designer of choice', Laura has become well established in Tasmania where, since moving with her family in 2003, she now finds the majority of her clientele.
Her designs are recognisable from the clean aesthetic and mid-century influences, and her pragmatic approach to problem solving some of the most challenging commissions has meant that demand for her work continues to increase locally, interstate and internationally.
Laura is an educator and advocate for the Visual arts, Design and Contemporary Craft sector in Tasmania and its community of makers.
Come and meet Laura McCusker at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Laura at www.lauramccusker.com
A leading figure in the current Australian design landscape, Nick Rennie’s list of clients includes the elite of European furniture, lighting and product manufacturers. Nick Rennie has exhibited in Germany (at IMM Cologne), Paris (Maison&Object) and Milan (Salone Del Mobile) and has products with Normann Copenhagen, Ligne Roset (France) and other European brands.
In 2017 he was awarded the prestigious Maple Leaf Award by the International Furniture Design Association in Asahikawa Japan for his 'Kiko' Chair, and only this month was awarded the best furniture design & lighting for his Sway lamp at the Australian Good Design Awards.
Come and meet Nick Rennie at Wood Dust Designer Maker
Learn more about Nick at nickrennie.com
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Recent Blog Posts
A conversation with David Haig
David met a hippy woodworker in his early twenties who took him under his wing when he was a very uncertain young man. He started showing David the fundamentals of woodworking, the practicality, and a pride in craftsmanship which was deeply attractive for someone who came from a very academic educational and family background.
A Wood Dust Retrospective
Probably the most interesting thing that happened at Wood Dust was the sense of community that was forged. Since the festival I have contemplated this, trying to understand what forces drove this outcome. Was it the learning opportunities? Maybe it was the Yarns? Or maybe it was all of us huddling together as the storm raged on, praying that the big marquee didn’t blow away.
Learning the Art of Design
Woodworking has become abundantly more accessible to the average enthusiast with woodworking schools and maker spaces popping up everywhere supported by all types of media both digital and print. With most providers focused on a “how to make a thing” based curriculum however, the opportunity to learn solid design skills from practicing designer makers remains a relatively rare commodity.
The Brave New World of Australian Woodworking
Free from the shackles of always having to fix a problem, woodworking is now a pastime participants practice to unwind and relax, to network, to express themselves, or to take a break from modern life. Making a thing remains a primary goal, however the process of achieving that goal is related more to personal development.
Introducing Wood Dust Designer Maker
For the woodworking enthusiast and emerging designer maker, the challenge of developing strong design skills is challenging. Wood Dust recognises this challenge and so we offer our new event – Wood Dust Designer Maker. Held at Melbourne’s newest makerspace FAB9 in Footscray, Designer Maker explores the art of design for woodworking and the processes of fine craftsmanship.
Fine Woodworking is a sponsor and media partner of Wood Dust Designer Maker. For more than 40 years Fine Woodworking has been teaching, inspiring, and connecting with a passionate audience of woodworkers