Inspired design: Geoffrey Cameron Marshall

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Geoffrey Cameron Marshall in his workshop, Launceston, Tasmania. Photo: Bruce Moyle

Here's the next in a series of features for Maker of the Year presented by Carbitool, where we take a closer look at the creations of some of our amazing entrants. Geoffrey Cameron Marshall is an award-winning Tasmanian designer maker who has entered his Sepiida Floor Lamp and has a particular interest in interior lighting and surfboards. We asked him how the two were connected...


Above: Geoffrey Cameron Marshall's 2021 MOTY entry was this 6'6" plywood twin fin surfboard, ‘a passion project devised to utilise leftover and scrap plywood from a home renovation’.

What does designing a floor lamp have to with building surfboards?
When you ask it like that, I guess it does seem like a curious combination. I am a surfer with a background as an electrician, so the common thread is me. All my work is influenced by natural forms, many of these are linked to the ocean in some way. The crossover for me at this stage is in the making. I have utilised hand skills that I have been developing while exploring the making of timber surfboards to inform the process of crafting the floor lamp.


Detail of V-Demi Conus Pendant by Geoffrey Cameron Marshall

We know your award-winning Conus lights – what’s the main focus of your work as a maker?
I feel fortunate to have been able to build a creative practice that is also a successful business. The focus of the business shifts across a few areas. Batch production of the Conus range has been a consistent staple of the business since its inception. It has turned out to be a very versatile design and there are over 12 versions. I do bespoke design projects with individual clients who require a special piece for their home or workplace. I also spend time researching and developing new ideas and experimenting with materials for future designs. Whatever I am doing I have a sustainability focus and it’s important to me that I create pieces that resonate with people on a number of levels.

How long have you been in business and where do you sell your work?
We started the business at the end of 2015, so about eight years. Word of mouth has provided a steady flow of orders. I always appreciate it when a client loves a piece so much, they recommend me to their family and friends. People get in touch on social media, mostly Instagram and we are in the process of upgrading our website. We did a few of the trade shows around 2016/17, and the connections and people that we met in that time are still proving productive. There are a couple of galleries that are great supporters consistently stocking our designs. I also have several interior designers who regularly specify our designs for both domestic and commercial applications.


Franklin Pendant, celery top pine, brass. Photo: Bruce Moyle

Why are you so driven by using reclaimed timber and Tasmanian species?
I appreciate the versatility of wood, from solid timber through to veneers it has so many applications. I enjoy using reclaimed timber where possible as the past life of the timber adds a layer to the narrative of the piece. In our recently completed renovation, we salvaged as much timber as possible and were able to incorporate the majority back into the space for the fit out. It’s added a lot of warmth to our home, and we have a great story to tell.

I like to be confident that the materials I use are responsibly sourced and sustainable. Living in Tasmania as a designer maker I am very fortunate to have direct access to an amazing range of endemic species. Either from timber suppliers or better still, foraging through private timber stashes on farms, in sheds and garages or even under houses. I get to meet interesting people and hear their stories; often intergenerational tales explaining the provenance. It inspires me to make pieces that can become family heirlooms. I most regularly use Tasmanian oak; all my pieces are made to order so, if specified, I will use Huon, King Billy, blackwood, and myrtle. When using the rarer species, efficiency of material use is of a high priority.


Three views of the Sepiida floorlamp. Photos: Bruce Moyle

What were the other main design parameters of the Sepiida design?
Timber between 19–20mm in thickness is ideal for the design of the Sepiida. I was hoping to make use of reclaimed Baltic pine floorboards or a similar material viable to use with minimal machining. The Sepiida form has been prototyped from around 500mm to 2200mm in length, this is to be able to utilise the majority of available materials.

What sort of technology do you use to create your lighting and other products?
After basic sketching everything is then created in Rhino 3D. I was introduced to Rhino in my first year at UTAS, since then it has been my primary design tool. It allows me to really visualise the form prior to prototyping. From there it’s a matter working out the most efficient strategies for fabrication. Having access to a CNC allows for digital production strategies which means increased precision, quality, speed, and flexibility of manufacture while minimising waste. All I create has at least one CNC-cut component with the final product assembled and finished by hand.


Detail of Franklin Pendant, celery top pine, brass. Photo: Bruce Moyle

What's next on your drawing board after surfboards and interior lighting?
Ha! More surfboards and lighting. I am playing round with surfboards, and I have enough Western red cedar from an old window frame to make a hollow core timber board. Hollow core surfboard plans are common these days, so we are planning on making a few styles to try different materials and shapes. From what I learn there I hope to develop my own design for a hollow core timber board. I have also been looking into alternative materials for surfboards, agave flower stems have been used as a suitable foam substitute. I found a number agave stems on the north coast of Tasmania and the property owner was happy for me to harvest them. I am in the process of machining the stems into a usable size.

I like to create forms that are adaptable and am currently prototyping the Sepiida as a horizontal pendant, lamps, wall lights and serving vessels. I am refining the making strategy, experimenting with timber species and slight variations in the forms. I am excited with the outcomes so far, refining and prototyping is my favourite part of the work.

See Geoffrey’s 2023 Maker of the Year presented by Carbitool entry here

Learn more about Geoffrey Cameron Marshall

Enter Maker of the Year presented by Carbitool at
NOTE: Standard entry pricing ends August 20





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