The December issue of Australian Wood Review will contain a feature on Treecycle 2016. This was an exhibition of work made from timber salvaged from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Curated by Leon and Ginny Sadubin who selected forty-five makers to make a body of work that amounted to over 450 pieces. As a lead-up to the magazine article we will feature a few of the makers and the pieces they made. Melissa Allen, NSW was one of the featured artists.
When colour consultant, interior designer, stylist and woodworker Melissa Allen created her luminous chandelier she had no idea the concept of her delicately patterned marquetry leaf forms would ‘grow legs’ and lead to orders for earrings, brooches and more.
Timber lighting solutions usually focus on the transparent qualities of wood and veneer, however Melissa Allen’s marquetry leaf chandelier dazzled with its reflective surfaces.
For the many layers Mel bandsawed nine species of the Treecycle logs, slabs and chunks of wood she was allocated into 0.6mm thick veneers.‘The thing about marquetry is that you always need odd numbers of layers so there has to be at least three to give support and you need to be able to craft well and make it look pretty.’
Creating patterns in wood by combining colours and grains is a more contemporary way to design and make with wood compared to more traditional styles, said Melissa.
Her interest in marquetry ‘kicked off’ during a week-long course at Sturt School for Wood with Katalin Sallai. When curator Leon Sadubin saw the box that Melissa had made during that intensive he was impressed and contacted her some time after to make a piece for Treecycle. The design for the marquetry leaves developed in response to that.
‘Design dictates that everything has to have a purpose’, said Melissa. ‘It’s got to do something or belong somewhere.’ Current design trends also favour organic, natural materials for ‘calming down’ technology environments, she explained. ‘Nothing beats an ambient glow that you get from lighting with timber in it.’
With the positive response to her work gained from participating in Treecycle 2016, Melissa now has the pleasant choice of having new directions to take her future career forward in.
Photos: Melissa Allen. Click on the images for a larger view and to read captions.
Learn more about Melissa at www.thewoodfiles.com and on Instagram: @melissaallendesigns