Studio Woodworkers Australia: Furniture Defines Home

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Gray Hawk, Abridged table, mountain ash, solid and 3mm veneers on birch ply, stainless steel with DD Chairs in mountain ash.

Words: Kristie Phelan, David MacLaren

After one of the most challenging years in memory, many are coming to realise that what matters and is appreciated, is the importance of home. Houses are bought and sold, but they provide our safe spaces which we fill with the things we love and give comfort and meaning to our everyday lives. In this way the anonymity of the house becomes a personalised home.

It is with this in mind that Studio Woodworkers Australia's new exhibition, Furniture Defines Home, celebrates the collective talents of its members with the best of handcrafted furniture and objects in wood, at a time when there's more attention and appreciation for fine Australian design and craftsmanship. The exhibition will open at 4pm on Saturday 14th November and run through to 30 March 2021.

Studio Woodworkers Australia also celebrates ten years of existence. Much has happened during this time, membership has grown in recent years with a steady transfer to a younger generation who are ready to make their mark.


Gray Hawk, Abridged table in mountain ash, detail of top

Furniture Defines Home will be held at Bungendore Woodworks Gallery. David MacLaren OAM and the team at BWWG have generously agreed to host not only the exhibition but also the SWA AGM and Members’ Get-together. These activities will also coincide with the Design Canberra Festival which runs from 9th to 29th November, 2020. You will be able to attend lectures and tours and visit workshops related to architecture, design and craft. We hope to attract DCF visitors out to view the SWA Exhibition at Bungendore.


Rolf Barfoed, cedar table, detail

Organising an exhibition in the middle of a world pandemic comes with its own challenges.

So the question emerges, why now? The first answer is that life moves on irrespective of the circumstances, and the second is that creativity thrives on breaking the habits of the past; it compels us to rethink why and what we do.

The exhibition will be a simple affair, no official opening, speeches or catalogue — just SWA makers, being together, enjoying each other’s company and seeing what each of us has been making over the past months.


Silvio Apponyi, Frog

During the exhibition weekend, Silvio Apponyi OAM and recent member of SWA, will have his solo exhibition of his renowned carvings, in wood mostly, displayed in the entrance foyer. Nearby, will be an exhibition of Ian Bell’s intricately decorated animal forms. Ian’s works are distinctive; with incise “markings” in detailed patterns on blackened timber forms, making a counter poise to Silvio’s realism. Both artists work towards a confident mastery of their art.


Ian Bell, Bird sculpture

And to cap it all off Geoff Hannah OAM (2018) will visit for the weekend, to be here, to spread his good cheer, maybe say a few words in way of introducing Silvio, and on Sunday join SWA exhibitors in a discussion of works on display, not judgement, of course, just delight.

When we envisaged these exhibitions we of course thought the pandemic necessitated restrictions would be well behind us. They are not. Well, at this stage we do not know where we will be at, so crowds do matter. We will do our part, as best we can, but we all need to be smart, and show some judicious caution in this gathering.

Furniture Defines Home
From 4pm 14 November until 30 March.
Bungendore Woodworks Gallery
Learn more about Studio Woodworkers Australia

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