Boatbuilder and toolmaker to travel in 2024 for Churchill Fellowships

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Andrew Denman, Kettering, Tasmania. Photo: Bridie Denman

For 60 years the Winston Churchill Trust has provided over 4500 fellowships for individuals to travel overseas and research their chosen field. The range of endeavours supported is diverse.

This year, in the woodworking related field, Andrew Denman, a Tasmanian boatbuilder, and Peter Trott, a Victorian toolmaker, will set off on their own journeys of discovery.

Andrew Denman is passionate about ensuring the skills, practices and traditions associated with wooden boatbuilding are safeguarded and transmitted to future generations. A strong advocate for sustainability, he firmly believes the enduring techniques of traditional boatbuilding, which are particular to an area/country, are inextricably linked to the timber species used and that access to such timbers is essential to the craft’s survival.

His project will investigate how countries with rich maritime heritage have successfully preserved the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of wooden boatbuilding when faced with declining resource availability, including a study of resource management and training strategies adopted. Additionally, he will research how technology can be used to achieve such outcomes. Insights will also be sought on how using such timbers in preserving ICH is socially accepted by exploring the relationship between conservation and sustainable use in different cultures.

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Peter Trott at work. Photo: Jessica Bridgfoot

Peter Trott is a blacksmith specialising in traditional woodworking hand tools. He has built his knowledge through years of teaching woodcarving and Windsor chairmaking and now works solely on the manufacture of edged tools to support traditional trades.

Peter’s Churchill Fellowship will take him to the United States to train under some of the world’s best toolmakers, focusing on techniques, design and hand tool ergonomics.

His project seeks to support a revival of the forgotten trades industry in Australia through the creation of traditional hand tools for Australian craft and furniture makers.

In a series of short residencies with leading American makers, he will study manufacturing techniques for carving and furniture making hand tools. ‘This knowledge will be put into practice in my own regional Victorian workshop and taught to Australian students looking to move into traditional trades’, Peter commented.

In 2024 applications for Churchill Fellowships close May 1, learn more here

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