News has just come to hand of the passing of Alan Wale, OAM, fine woodworker and founding director of Sturt School for Wood, Mittagong, NSW on Saturday September 17 aged 87.
In June 2015, Alan was the well deserved recipient of an OAM ‘for service to the visual arts, and to craft and woodworking associations'. He migrated to Australia with his family in the 60s. Along with the late Les Miller and Leon Sadubin he was also one of the three founding members of the Woodworkers Association of NSW
In AWR#52, reviewing a retrospective exhibition of Alan Wale’s work that was held at the ANU School of Art’s Furniture and Wood Workshop in 2006, Rodney Hayward said: ‘In his teaching he passed on the vital directness of how wood could be worked: the tacit understanding of the sharp tool accurately, deftly, working sweet wood. From the material, the hands and the tools came the design. He loves the directness of the crafts of the cooper, the bodger and the wheelwright. This was part of the lineage he passed on to his students—the passion and the knowledge discovered from an edge tool working sweet wood. Alan was taught well with a focus on hand skills: to work without machines, to work deftly, accurately with the hands.’
Alan Wale taught at Sturt from 1984 until 1991, when tragically he was forced to retire through blindness. Sturt School for Wood remains as one Australia's premier training institution for fine woodworkers and now stands as a great testimony to the legacy he has now left behind.
Below: Alan Wales's Orientale Box, Qld silver ash and mallee root.
Below: Silver Dovetail Box, ringed gidgee, sterling silver.
Below: Sturt School For Wood in 1992.