Studio Woodworkers Australia

Friday, March 22 2013

Studio Woodworkers Australia (SWA) is a not-for-profit body recently formed to promote the work of professional artists and/or designer/makers who work timber. The association has members from across the woodworking community, including instrument makers, marquetry practitioners and, of course, furniture makers.

To become an Accredited member, makers must undergo a rigorous peer review and have their practice closely examined. The maker’s work is evaluated on a number of levels but the emphasis is on fine craftsmanship and quality design. SWA is only open to the finest practicing craftsmen.

Evan Dunstone was invited by the board of SWA to deliver the opening address at their inaugural conference and exhibition in January, 2013. The event was held on the grounds of the Sturt School for Wood, Mittagong (one of Australia’s most respected schools of fine woodwork).

Evan gave a “warts and all” address on the state of fine wood work in Australia.  He lamented that despite the schools such as Sturt and the ANU School of Art’s Wood Workshop, there are now fewer practicing wood craftsmen and artists than there was a decade ago.

Grace Cochrane, a former senior curator of Australian Decorative Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum, described Evan’s address as “one of the clearest assessments of developing and maintaining sustainable practices in a contemporary Australian crafts context” that she had heard in years.