Announcing award winners for the Australian Wood Design Exhibition 2024

Comments Comments


Words: Phoebe Everill

When asked to be part of the judging panel for the Australian Wood Design Exhibition (AWDE), my immediate response was ‘great, I need a road trip!’ Like many makers I spend a lot of time in my workshop and it’s great to get out and look at and be inspired by other makers’ work.


Andrew Stein, Amateur Award winner with Australian Wood Design Exhibition judge Phoebe Everill

The Orbost Exhibition Centre is an amazing exhibition space, a not-for-profit community run facility that nurtures arts and culture in the East Gippsland region of Victoria.

The Orbost community has done some very hard years, most recently the fires of 2020 and COVID tourist closures, but this community is so welcoming and passionate about its Exhibition Centre. The local council and various sponsors put up prize money and the funds to enable pieces by the entrants to be added to the permanent collection.


Marco Crescenzio, East Gippsland Timber Talent award winner with Eleni McIlroy

The building is the culmination of a huge amount of community work, fund raising and applying for grants to create a really lovely gallery and exhibition space. In 2004 their work came to fruition as construction was completed.


John McMahon, exhibition judge, with Tom Russell's piece ‘The Tiffid’, awarded Overall Winner

The quality of this exhibition should not have surprised me as it celebrates a rich and diverse history spanning decades. Run by an incredible group of volunteers the exhibition has a wide range of categories and attracts work from makers very early in their journeys to the very experienced. Here’s a summary of the winners:


Open category winner, Tom Russell, The Tiffid, acquired for permanent collection

This is an amazing sculptural piece with hairy oak drawers (made as bandsaw boxes) which nestle into camphor laurel and are then supported by Huon pine on a eucalypt burl base.


Furniture category winner, Raymond Halpin, The Cuar (‘curve’ in Irish), Tasmanian myrtle

This is such an elegant and deceptively ‘simple’ piece which is beautifully resolved with tapered laminations. Just gorgeous! Maker insight: ‘The laminate pieces where thicknessed at 1.8mm at the top, 2mm in the middle and 1.6mm at the bottom using a jig to create elegant curve. The legs were then further tapered using a spokeshave and hand held router to trim the bottom sides of the taper.’


Turned Object Award, David Sizer, untitled bowl, acquired for permanent collection

A spalted maple bowl with exquisite proportions and a perfectly seamless transition to its five-leg base. Maker’s note: ‘It’s two trunks separated by a line of bark, except where the wood of both fuse. I created the spalting by sealing it in a plastic bag for two months.’


Amateur Award, Andrew Stein, Calm before the storm, walnut, red stringybark, redgum, Chinese elm, eucalypt, teak.

A four corner grain match in a walnut box, by a very talented young maker. The real pleasure for me in this piece was the way he had used a variety of hand cut timber veneers to replicate a photo of a very special place, a beach on Lake Conjola.


East Gippsland Timber Talent, Marco Crescenzio, classical guitar

Made with a range of timber off-cuts including Qld walnut, bunya pine, blackwood. Detailed in gidgee, beefwood and ironbark. This guitar has the most wonderful visual appeal but to hear it played by an accomplished guitarist was to know that it’s the ‘real deal’, and has a stunning sound!


Reuse, Reduce, Recycle award winner, Tim Royce, mid-century modern console table

Made from the floorboards and frame of the Orbost Secondary College renovation. Tim works there as a teacher – we were so impressed with this piece, refined and well crafted.


Tourist Gift prize Simon Robbins, Antipasto platter

A beautifully crisp piece of turning in redgum, a timber that does not forgive, but the finish was really silky.


Acquisition piece, Di Deppler, Broken guitar cupboard, reclaimed, repurposed and found wood, leather

This is one for those who enjoy a whimsical piece, full of fun and the joy of putting scrap together and finding a design. Maker note: ‘I used wood that would otherwise have been destroyed in order to show that it an be used and have a new life and purpose.

With over 60 pieces of work on display, this exhibition is a visual delight. Find a reason for a road trip and get there before April 13!!

Images courtesy Orbost Exhibition Centre

The Orbost Exhibition Centre is located at 8 Clark St Orbost, Victoria. See

Phoebe Everill is a designer maker in Drummond, Victoria who runs her own wood school and offers short courses and ongoing classes, see Phoebe has written several articles for Australian Wood Review magazine.

comments powered by Disqus