I consider myself a designer, maker, teacher, but not always in that order. For most of my career I have been an educator, teaching product and furniture design. My feet were set on this path when I was asked to design and deliver courses for Sturt’s short course program after graduating from the Sturt School for Wood in 1997. From there, teaching became an opportunity to supplement my commission work. I gained a degree in Vocational Education and Training, becoming Head Teacher of Design at Lidcombe College of TAFE, Centre for Furnishing Trades NSW. Then, fulltime Director of the Sturt School for Wood, and currently owner and principal instructor at Heartwood Creative Woodworking.
As a maker I am interested in designing furniture that achieves visual lightness while using minimal material in construction and maintaining maximum strength. In the past I have made work to client briefs, exhibition themes and pieces for home. However, I still have a number of prototype designs that I would like to explore further.
These include the “Felix Stool” which won the Green Category in “The Edge”, part of the Australian International Furniture Fair 2010. The stool “with nine lives” was an exploration into quality, flat pack furniture for domestic and café use. Centred around sustainable and ethical principles, the stool offered customisable components with a view to extending the life of the piece. Either by refurbishing, replacing or updating these parts, waste is minimised. The “Felix Table” followed a similar line of thinking.
Living in an inner-city suburb in a vibrant city like Sydney, it’s easy to communicate my personal experiences with what I see around me in my designs. My design philosophy is driven by these urban experiences, whether it be to provide flexibility in interior design, facilitate the logistics of moving home, or simply the joy of re-arranging furniture to create a ‘new look’ to one’s domestic space. I also seek to address the wastefulness of ‘designer’ furniture waiting for kerbside collection, and cater for the needs of renters and those downsizing from family homes looking for a new style of living. With these things in mind, I find myself more and more interested in designing quality furniture for apartment living; often that means smaller spaces.
Consequently, my design ethos has, and remains “Less is More”.