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All images courtesy and the designers

Photos Julia Charles and Sylvia Tarchalska
2009 Tin Sheds Gallery, the designers and author
ISBN 978-1-74210-103-3
Splinter Workshop:
Twelve years of contemporary furniture design and making.
Exhibition Curator Karina Clarke
Published by Tin Sheds Gallery,
Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning,
The University of Sydney, NSW
February 2009
First Edition
Cover image by Sylvia Tarchalska
Catalogue design Phoebe McEvoy.

Phil Boddington
Julia Charles
Stuart Faulkner
Edward Garcia
Laura McCusker
Ian Monty
Paul Nicholson
Marie Normoyle
David Norrie
Greg Sawyer
Geoff Tonkin
Charmian Watts

Tin Sheds Gallery, Faculty of Architecture Design & Planning

The University of Sydney


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28 February 21 March 2009

I first met Julia Charles in 1995 as she was
completing a course in Furniture Making at the
Sturt School for Wood Mittagong NSW. Like
many graduates of the Sturt School for Wood,
Julia was looking to establish herself as a
designer/maker of fine contemporary furniture.
In discussion with a fellow student, Phil
Boddington, they considered the most feasible
way of setting up a furniture design workshop in
Sydney which was a very costly exercise. From
these discussions they established the platform
from which Splinter Workshop would evolve
as one of Sydneys longest running furniture
making co-operatives.

Shared Experiences and Values

Inspired by our experiences at Sturt and the
benefits of working in the vibrant, interactive,
supportive and responsible environment
fostered by Tom for creative development,
Julia and I saw many reasons why setting up a
cooperative workshop together in Sydney would
produce a whole much greater than the sum of
its parts Phil Boddington

It would be impossible to talk about Splinter

Workshop without mentioning the Sturt School
for Wood and its teacher Tom Harrington.
Tom trained at the Canberra School of Art and
wanted to pass on the traditions and skills
associated with wood working practice and fine
craftsmanship. He has taught and mentored
many members of the Splinter group over
the years and is widely regarded as a major
influence in their practice. I asked Julia what
her thoughts were about Tom and her time at
It was a joy and a privilege to be immersed
in such a beautiful environment with the sole
purpose of learning to work with wood.
Tom is quiet and considered. He doesnt waste
words. He doesnt try to impose his view but
has an amazing ability to problem solve and
enable each student to realize his or her vision.
Julia Charles
Whilst Tom instilled in his students an
appreciation of timber and its value as a
material to be crafted, the Southern Highlands
provides students an idyllic location in which
to learn their new craft, share ideas, and work

together. These factors have contributed to

the development of a particular mindset and
approach to making which is evident in the
practices of many Splinter members, namely
a commitment to fine craftsmanship, creativity,
sustainable practice, and the longevity of the
work. Resources like The Woodage (a timber
supplier committed to stocking FSC ((Forest
Stewardship Council )) certified forest timbers,
plantations and salvaged logs), also assisted
with an understanding of the sustainable
practices associated with timber production
from the felling of trees, to the selection of
timber species appropriate to the task at hand.
The Splinter group maintain their connection
to the School and Tom by participating in
exhibitions at Sturt and allowing current
students the opportunity to view their workshop
and practice. Some Splinter members have
gone on to become teachers themselves. This
scenario reminds me of ideas expressed in
the book by Lewis Hyde titled The Gift, how
the creative spirit transforms the world. Hyde
describes creativity as a gift that is given freely
without expectation yet the gift returns to the

original source in some way. Tom Harrington

passes on his gift of skills and knowledge to his
students. In return the students, understanding
the value of this knowledge, freely pass on
their knowledge and newly acquired skills to
others allowing the gift to perpetuate fostering
a community between former students and the
From these shared experiences and values
the foundations of Splinter Workshop were
formally addressed when Phil Boddington,
Georgina Ligertwood and Julia Charles chose
to establish a co-operative in April 1996. The
values inherent in a co-operative allowed the
group the flexibility of working together, solving
mutual problems, sharing equipment and
expenses as well as maintaining their individual
identities as designer/makers. Throughout the
years different members have collaborated on
projects and held exhibitions. The group have
utilised their skills and talents on a range of
projects from interiors (most notably the Royal
College of Obstetritians and Gynaecologists
headquarters in St Leonards Sydney) to hand
crafted trays for the National Gallery of Australia
Centenary of Federation exhibition.

David Norrie at work in the workshop

The Old Taubmans Paint Factory, St Peters

As you climb the three floors to reach the

workshop you wonder why on earth furniture
designer/makers would locate themselves on
the top floor of the old Taubmans paint factory in
St Peters. Once inside you realise the value of
this large, expansive, light filled space that has
spectacular views over southern and western
Sydney. They have recreated the qualities of
light, air and space which are the essential
elements of the idyllic Mittagong environment
to urban St Peters. Each member has their
own space and shares a machine shop, full of
beautifully restored wood working machinery.

Inside Splinter Workshop

The members of Splinter Workshop have a

collective wealth of experience and have all
had previous professional careers before
focussing on contemporary furniture design and
making fulltime. Making a conscious decision to
become a designer/maker in our society takes
courage and is a commitment to a vocation
rather than just a job. The time and effort
required of fine furniture making is painstaking
and often the hours invested are not retrievable
in the price of the object. For many people
the monetary costs override an appreciation
of the skills and talents of the maker. Hand
crafted objects and furniture are only
available for a small sector of our population
given the expense and labour involved. Yet
the individual clients of the Splinter group
inherently understand the value of design and
craftsmanship seeking out the clear authorship
of the designer/maker.
For some years now there has been a
dialogue about the role of design, craft and
the handmade. Discussions abound about
their inter-relationships, how one may inform
the other and how designers and craftspeople
alike traverse the boundaries that were once
established as professional disciplines.
Exhibitions such as Smart Works: design and

the handmade, edited by Grace Cochrane

highlight the influences and importance of the
handmade coupled with the innovative use of
technology to produce highly crafted individual
products. The works exhibited by the Splinter
group are no exception to the masterful use
of the handmade whilst utilising technologies
and new materials. Their furniture and objects
display integrity in relation to the selection
and use of materials, are highly crafted and
maintain a functional beauty that will endure
over time.
The ethos of this community is to provide a
supportive community where new ideas are
welcomed and discussed with enthusiasm; a
rare commodity in itself. Splinter Workshop
is now in its twelfth year and has had 22
members participate at different times. They
have exhibited as a group, conducted open
days for the community, worked collaboratively
on joint projects as well as maintaining
individual practices as designers and makers of
contemporary furniture and woodwork.

Sturt Gallery Exhibition, Mittagong

Design meets Making

This exhibition simply titled Splinter Workshop
has work from both past and present members
and is a showcase of each individuals practice.
In addition to the work I wanted as the curator
to convey the ethos that has enabled Splinter
Workshop to continue as a going concern since
its inception twelve years ago.
When I was invited to curate this exhibition I
spoke with the current members about what
sort of exhibition they envisioned. The principle

objective of the exhibition was not only to

exhibit finished works but to convey the design
processes behind the making and the history
of Splinter. Over several months we had lively
discussions about their designs, from the
initial ideas through the development of sketch
models to how the works could be made. What
I evidenced from these meetings was not only
a considered and collaborative response to the
groups ideas but also the development of their
perceptions of design and making.

Working scale models

The works that were selected as a result of

these discussions are a reflection of each
members distinct and unique style. They have
developed their own narrative, which allows
for a diverse range of aesthetic and functional
considerations to be extrapolated. Each design
has been refined through material selection,
ways of making, joint detailing, and finishing.
Glenn Adamson from the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London recently gave a talk at the
Powerhouse Museum titled Substance Abuse;
Crafting Postmodernism. In his discussion
of a chair by the Italian designer Sottsass he
suggested that the design was 2 dimensional,
a bit like a cut out drawing that was given
to a manufacturer to make with little to no
consideration as to how the elements would be
joined together. Unlike a craftsman who would
take great care and time to consider how to
make the chair, Sottsass had all the elements
sitting on top of one another. This highlighted
for me a great distinction between the way
designers and craftspeople work and how one
is revered as a superstar for the idea whilst the
other is ignored and remains anonymous.
Over the years Splinter has been populated
by a variety of practitioners. Some would

be happy to call themselves craftspeople or

makers and others designer/makers. Whatever
their distinction, the works themselves are an
embodiment of a culture where the practice
of making has at its core values of longevity,
sustainability and truth to materials. The
individuals of Splinter may not be seen as
superstars yet their work and practice I believe
should be seen as a vital part of our culture
and community.
Karina Clarke, 2009
Senior Lecturer, UNSW
College of Fine Arts, School of Design Studies

Ed Garcia

Member 1999 - ongoing

Signal # 5. 2009
Leg detail Coffee Table
Australian Silver Ash, Ash Burl,
Poplar Block Board, Carbon fibre
Dimensions in mm
2030 (l) x1120 (w) x 740 (h)

Irish Bouzouki, 2009

Back & sides, Blackwood
Top, Sitka Spruce
Fret board, Gidgi
Purfling, Ebony & Rock Maple
Rosette, Ebony and Huon Pine
Dimensions in mm

1000 (l) x400 (w) x 60(h)

Geoff Tonkin

Member 2007 - ongoing

Phil Boddington
Member 1995 - ongoing

Project X, 2009
Conceptual drawing
Tabletops are X-Board Plus (lightweight panels
surfaced with decorative laminates).
Leg structures; stainless steel
Dimensions in mm

from 1600 to 2400 (l)

from 800 to 1000 (w)
730 (h)

FELIX Stool, 2009

Conceptual drawing
Plywood or Solid Timber legs finish oil and wax,
mild steel seat, powdercoate finish, cushion
natural fibres with woolen upholstery
Dimensions in mm
435 (h) x 485 (d) x 400 (w)

Stuart Faulkner
Member 1997 2006

Ian Monty

Member 2006 - ongoing

Hall Table (with drawers), 2008
Walnut / Rock Maple / Oil finish
Dimensions in mm
1600 (l) x 350 (w) x 850 (h)

Stuhl, 2000
Hoop Pine plywood
Dimensions in mm
350 (d) x 350 (w) x 400 (h)

Charmian Watts
Member 1997 - 2006

David Norrie

Member 2001 ongoing

Sedia dellamore #2. 2009
Birch ply, American White oak, solid oak legs
with Marimekko cushions
Dimensions in mm
2000 (l) x700 (w) x 380 (h)

The Lloyd Stool

Blackbean Veneer, Hoop Pine Plywood,
Leather and Stainless Steel fittings
Dimensions in mm
950 (l) x 600 (w) x 300 (h)
Mac Coffee Table, 2001
Blackbean Veneer, Hoop Pine Plywood
and Stainless Steel fittings
Dimensions in mm
550 (l) x 405 (w) x 350 (h)

Julia Charles
Member 1995 2006

Laura McCusker
Member 1998 2002
Barcode Screen, 2002
Hardwood, stainless steel & rubber
Dimensions in mm

1800 (h) x 2500 (w)

Reading Desk, 2009

American Cherry, American White Oak, Silver
Ash, Tasmanian Blackwood
Dimensions in mm
1800 (l) x 500 (w) x 1260 (h)

Paul Nicholson
Member 2003 ongoing

Greg Sawyer

Member 2008 - ongoing

Coffee Table, 2009
Tallow Wood
Dimensions in mm
1200 (l) x 500 (w) x 450 (h)

Tessa Salt and Pepper shakers, 1994

Wenge and Pearwood
Dimensions in mm
110 x 105 (h)

Marie Normoyle
Member 1996 -1997

Ed Garcia

Geoff Tonkin

Phil Boddington

My aim is to form and create sculptural furniture that

instills motion and lightness, yet is functional and strong.
I achieve this in timber and related materials by exploring
the properties of bending, curving and strength. While
pushing the limits, I ensure there is no compromise to
integrity. My furniture is true to form, but not constrained
by the barriers of traditional design. My work conveys
timelessness, order, and simplicity, which may become a
positive part of a persons living space.

After 35 years as a woolgrower in the Central West of

NSW my tree change began three years ago when I sold
the farm and enrolled in the full time fine woodworking
course at Sturt School for Wood in Mittagong. As a
musician, I am now focussed on the fascinating world
of instrument making. Guitar making courses with Gilet
Guitars of Sydney and working with the harp maker
Brandden Lassells in 2007 have given me a great start
down this path.

I so clearly remember as a young boy growing up in the

Philippines the storm warnings and impending typhoons.
Drawing on the metaphor of the typhoon, I have sought
to achieve optimal lightness and strength simultaneously
in the design. The tables form conveys the power of a
storms spiral and vortex, as well as suggesting the calm
at the eye of the storm, and the calm after the storm.
Signal # 5. (coffee table), with its concentrated spiral
form, references the strongest storm warning; whilst
Signal # 3. (dining-table) incorporates a less potent spiral.

A musical instrument is an object of beauty. Musicians

and non-musicians alike appreciate not only their
sounds, but also their diverse forms and shapes.
Th cabinet titled The Conservatorium of Music has been
designed to house and display my increasing collection.
It is made from Plantation Mahogany and
New Age Veneers all of which are ecologically
sustainable materials.

Since a small boy I have loved to design and engage in

the creative problem solving of the design process. I aim
for high product integrity and to ultimately judge my work
in a holistic sense against all applicable requirements. I
admire objects, either natural or man-made which have
evolved to achieve an essential harmony of function
and form. Variety is a driver of evolution and revolution
in life and design, so I value proven techniques but also
embrace opportunities presented by new materials,
technologies and approaches. As designers we need
to be responsive to current context/s in design, for
example, being environmentally responsible. The adage
that more is less usually holds for me, I like essential,
honest designs and am attracted to sculptural forms.
Collaborating with others is very rewarding both here
at Splinter or in my work as a Design Teacher at
Lidcombe TAFE.

If instrument making is an addiction then I am an addict.

The satisfaction of completing a well designed piece of
furniture is certainly a great motivator but the satisfaction
gained from completing a musical instrument that not
only looks good but is a pleasure to listen to and play,
takes it to a higher level for me. The Irish Bouzouki
and Mountain Dulcimer are examples of the styles of
instruments I make.

New composite sheet materials such as X-Board have

environmental advantages over traditional options for
cabinetry and furniture. X-Board is also significantly
lighter. This design project explores its application
for lightweight, easily moved or reconfigured tables.
Potential applications are numerous, for example urban
apartments where space is at a premium and allocating
living area permanently to a large table is not desirable.

The tabletops use innovative materials - poplar block

board sandwiched by layers of fibre-glass (in Signal #5.)
and carbon-fibre (in Signal #3). The Ash burr veneered
tops suggest isobars of weather patterns whilst the
undersides are veneered with an even grain straight
quarter cut alpine ash reflecting calmness. The solid
silver ash turned legs simulate the vortex of a typhoon.

Stuart Faulkner
Or indoor outdoor living where the ability to easily
relocate tables to benefit from varying environmental
conditions is attractive. Key aspects of the design
brief are; ease of set-up and movement of the tables;
flexibility to develop into a broad range of table sizes;
and innovative approaches for storing table tops by wall
mounting them as decorative graphic panels.

In these current times there is a growing awareness

of the many challenges faced by humanity. Of these,
one of the most important and potentially one of the
most significant is global warming. In my opinion the
industrialised nations need to reflect on the obsession
for economic growth and start thinking more in terms
of sustainable development. I believe as designers we
have an important role to play in this area by helping
to change the way we approach manufacturing. I am
personally committed to the principles of sustainable
design and believe designers have a social responsibility
to create intelligent solutions that are appropriate for
end user needs while demonstrating awareness and
sensitivity to our environment. This has been the focus
for both my personal design work and my teaching at
Lidcombe TAFE for many years now.
This stool is named FELIX because as most of us know
Felix was a cat who had nine lives. The FELIX stool
aims to have many lives The design stems from a long
held interest in the principles that underpin sustainable
design and in particular the concept of design for
disassembly; repair, reuse, remanufacture and recycle.
Integral to this is the idea of take back which allows for
components to be returned or exchanged.

The leg sections will use reclaimed timber and timbers

from managed resources, plywood and plyboo (made
from bamboo). They have been specifically designed to
use small sections and short lengths so they potentially
can be made using timber off cuts. The sheet material
version uses a multi-layer construction which delivers
excellent waste minimisation while maximising
structural integrity.
The seat features two identical mild steel sections which
allows for flat packing. The powder coated finish offers in
a range of colours that are durable and efficient to apply.
The seats can also be re-manufactured or recycled. The
cushion provides additional comfort and the opportunity
for further customisation. It uses natural fibre fillings and
recyclable or biodegradable fabrics.

Charmian Watts

Ian Monty
When Australia was settled in the late 1700s, the first
settlers were amazed at the size of the trees. This soon
turned to awe as Red Cedar (Toona Australis) with its
amazing colours, grain and workability, was discovered.
Over the next 150 years nearly every specimen from
the Illawarra to Far North Queensland was cut down for
furniture making and building. Nowadays Cedar is rarely
available and usually only as 0.6mm veneers.
Large Sections of other species are sometimes
available, but only when old wharves or woolsheds
are demolished, often ending up in architectural or
landscaping uses. Whether or not North American
forestry practices are optimal is questionable, however
at least they continue to ensure good supplies of cabinet
grade timber, quite the opposite of our own decimated
Cedar trees.
My pieces pay homage to the Red Cedar in different
ways. The cabinet has been designed to signify a
large section of timber, placed on a somewhat delicate
stand. The play off between these elements signifies
not only weight and scale but the importance of timber
as a material. The interior plinth can be used in various
alignments to increase the versatility of the storage
space. The cabinet was inspired by the work of James
Krenov who always sought harmony between the grain

of the timber and the form of the piece itself.

By suggesting the cabinet is made from one large
section I am trying to reflect the harmony and beauty of
timber species.
The hall table was designed as a commission for a
client. The centre drawer, with its letterbox construction,
pops out of the eye of the grain, with the left end drawer
concealed as a rail to hide whatever it may be that needs
hiding. The table is inspired by the proportional style of
the American Shakers who, in their pursuit of furniture
items perfect unto their purpose without superfluous
elements, produced items that can appear austere at
times. However, combining their legacy of visually simple
forms with the beauty of the grain and tone of the Walnut
has hopefully resulted in a piece not only true to their
ideas but also the timber used.

Over the past 15 years my design practice has

developed to a stage where it is now defined by two
areas: commissions and portfolio pieces. Commissions
are furniture design solutions that meet the very
specific needs and desires of both my residential and
commercial clients. They can range from the purely
functional to the sculptural aesthetic. Portfolio pieces
are design solutions where the form has originated from
detailed research into the objects function, material
composition and aesthetic proportion. I gain inspiration
from many different sources, from Donald Judd to
Charles Rennie Mackintosh, from Minimalism to Deco,
from the world of nature to the built environment.
The principles I adhere to are efficiency, originality
and quality.
Stuhl (German for stool) is a multi-functional seating
solution. Born from the need for a cheap but sturdy caf
stool an alternative to the ubiquitous milk crate Stuhl
combines storage and seating. Like the humble milk
crate, Stuhl is functional, flexible and practical.
But the humility ends there. Stuhls design rationale was
influenced by studies of typography as elements of form.
For example the shapes, or forms, of the letters u and
h within the word stuhl are consistent with the shape of
the Stuhl itself.

David Norrie
This complex, distinctive curve is created using kerf
cutting where the timber surface has many parallel
grooves cut into it allowing it to bend. The clean, sharp
line across the top and front edge of the Stuhl is created
using a mitre joint, which involves cutting two surfaces
an angle of 45 degrees and then gluing them together.
Extensive laminating where flat surfaces are glued
together creates additional strength.
The Stuhls are designed in sets of three, with the timber
grain flowing from one to the other, uniting them so
that they can be joined to created a larger whole. They
are available in a wide variety of timber veneers and
laminates. The first edition of Stuhls (exhibited) is made
from plantation Hoop Pine plywood.

My early time at Splinter involved observing and learning

from other members designs, and studying texts on
well-known designers. George Nelsons slatted bench
was particularly influential along with his and Ray and
Charles Eames use of tubular stainless steel and
plywood to create an economic and pleasing aesthetic
to their designs. My first design, a surfboard coffee
table called glide, perched a coloured oval shape of ply
on light flat steel legs. As with most Splinter members,
prototyping quickly became subsumed by the financial
necessity of making commission pieces for others.
However each of these projects, from cabinets to planter
chairs to artists installations, has provided opportunities
to learn important facets of construction as well as form
and proportion.
It has been the use of curves to render a more organic
feel to my pieces along with computer aided machine
routing that have become the foundation of my current
work. Rather than being influenced by any particular
designer, I am taking classic pieces such as the wrought
iron garden love chair, and re-interpreting them into a
contemporary form.
My exhibition pieces build on my recent ottoman designs
sedia dellamore and hatbox in constructing flowing,
functional forms from CNC routed ply shells surfaced

with handmade veneers. The first (sedia sola) piece is

a club styled oval chair with an enclosing, cascading
back support. The second (sedia dellamore #2) is a
kidney-shaped ottoman with an arched sub frame that
is broadly derived from old chaise longue - a functional
floor object with fluid lines for a large space. The aim of
my design in these pieces is the creation of rhythm and
movement with the visual and tactile nourishment of
natural timber surfaces.

Laura McCusker

Julia Charles
As a designer/maker based in Sydney my work over
the last twelve years has been primarily one-off
commissions for private clients, architects, interior
designers and institutions. My approach to design is
clean and contemporary and I strive to imbue a sense of
simplicity and timelessness. Underpinning each project
is an environmental awareness of the responsibility that
comes through working with natural materials. High
quality materials and manufacturing are fundamental
characteristics when designing for longevity.
The Lloyd Stool and Mac Coffee Table, (2001)
Influenced by the work of Hans Wegner, Charles and
Ray Eames and Sori Yanagi, I used the medium of bent
ply to generate curves with wood and ultimately objects
which are at once both functional and sculptural. They
were designed with manufacturing in mind. The forms
produced by the lamination process have an inherent
strength which defies their light appearance and fine
lines. The forms are made from laminated layers of
plantation grown Araucaria (Hoop Pine). The facing
veneers are Queensland Blackbean but a production run
of White Ash is currently being proposed.
The proportions of the cushion were intended to
accommodate a generous sized bottom, the form
to mirror the curves and lines of the body. The

Scandinavian leather selected for the stool has a tactile

and sensuous appeal. It is pure aniline leather derived
from water based tanning processes with no chrome,
heavy metals and toxins used in the process.
All fittings are stainless steel.
Ava Chair (2006)
This piece was designed for the Re-Frame Exhibition
at Ivan Dougherty Gallery UNSW. Curated by Karina
Clarke Re-Frame featured a collection of art and design
pieces that used recycled products and explored
contemporary consumer culture and the impact of mass
consumption on the environment. Using the shells
generated from the same moulds as Mac and Lloyd,
my intention was to create a new piece in a family of
designs. Industrial felt typically used to make gaskets in
applications such as submarines, aeroplanes and ships
has been recontextualised here to create a comfortable
skin applied to the ply forms designed for a commercial
or domestic purpose.
Ava makes use of the inherent qualities of strength and
flexibility found in both the felt and ply. The strength
provides support and the flexibility, comfort. All fittings
are stainless steel.

After completing an apprenticeship in cabinetmaking

at the age of 22, I built on this experience with further
training in Fine Woodworking at the Sturt School
for Wood.
Since that time I have exhibited regularly, including at
The Sydney Powerhouse Museum as a finalist in the
Sydney Morning Heralds Young Designer of the Year
Award (2002), the winner of belle magazines inaugural
New Functional Design Award (2003) and at the
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery as part of the City of
Hobart Art Prize (2004). Recently I received a personal
invitation from Mathias Schwartz-Clauss, Curator of
the Vitra Design Museum, to a tour of the museums
collection and manufacturing facilities and to participate
in the 2009 Vitra Design Workshop at Domaine de
Boisbuchet in France.
I design and make furniture because I enjoy being part
of a complete and holistic process; involved in all stages
from start to finish. This gives me a great sense of
accomplishment and ownership over each piece I create.
I also believe that a deep knowledge of materials and
manufacture informs the design process in an essential
way and ensures quality outcomes.
It is my aim to make pieces that are utilitarian and
functional, aesthetically pleasing and a joy to use

Paul Nicholson
everyday; this longevity is guaranteed through the use of
quality materials, constructional integrity and simplicity
of form.
Barcode is a multiple use screen, characterised by
versatility. Its footprint depends on how it is used
and what shape it is given, lending itself to domestic,
commercial and corporate applications.
Constructed from Australian hardwood, stainless steel,
and rubber, various size strips of timber are assembled
in a random manner and threaded on to the stainless
steel cable and tensioned. This creates a free standing,
endlessly variable organic form.
Initially inspired by the natural beauty of a stand of gum
trees but also echoing the ubiquitous man-made stock
control system, Barcode screen effectively contrasts
positive and negative space. The structured randomness
reflects both sources of inspiration, while the lineal
strength of the pieces vertical form contrasts with the
organic curve of its footprint.
Barcode takes as its inspiration something that has
become so commonplace as to be almost invisible.
Through manipulation of scale, a beauty that otherwise
would go unnoticed is made apparent.

As a designer/maker my approach is to maintain an

honesty and integrity to materials and construction. I am
influenced by a range of styles and enjoy experimenting
and interpreting a variety of design periods. Whilst
most of my work is contemporary (with a retrograde
flavour reminiscent of the 1950s), I also enjoy paying
homage to the classics of past centuries. I especially
respect the work of James Adam, Thomas Sheraton,
and other exponents of the Neo Classical period. My
interpretations of Neo Classical designs as defined by
its simple lines and pure forms, aim to reflect my deep
respect for the natural qualities of wood, capturing and
enhancing its innate richness and beauty.
This standing desk or table a la tronchin, was
commissioned for a home library as a place to do
casual reading and research. Standing desks were
popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and that heritage
is reflected in the neoclassical style of this piece and,
more specifically, the influence of Thomas Sheraton,
a prominent exponent of the style. The straight lines
and simplicity of form impart a character of lightness
and are in keeping with the deliberately specific nature
of its functionality. Interior features such as retractable
writing surfaces and carefully crafted secret drawers
compliment the detailed exterior inlays of Tasmanian
Blackwood and American Cherry.

As a designer/maker chairs have always held a special

intrigue for me. The prototype Crinkle Cut Chair debuted
in 2007 at the Design and Wood 2007 exhibition. It
combines simplicity of both construction and form to
produce a light and elegant chair inspired by the style
of the 1950s. The sharp edges and angular nature of
the frame contrast with the soft curves and rippling
creamy texture of the seat and back. As developments
of the Crinkle Cut, the Second Cut and Third Cut chairs
also combine sharp angularity with soft pure curves.
Both chairs extend the theme of texture and colour
by combining strikingly dyed Ash with the natural
shimmering texture of the Kauri and Hoop Pines.

Greg Sawyer
I took up woodworking as a personal challenge and
became a member of Splinter Workshop in 2008 after
completing the woodworking course at Sturt. My main
focus as a member of Splinter Workshop is to enjoy the
supportive environment that underpins the co-operative.
I do not create works for sale or intend to extend my
creative aspirations to a professional level.
My enjoyment of woodworking comes from producing
works that have a simple elegance without excessive
ornamentation. I lived in Asia for a while and particularly
liked Balinese architecture with its emphasis on strong
natural wood elements and clean lines which can be
evidenced in the Day-Bed.

Marie Normoyle
I commenced my creative career as an interior designer
in 1989 but my preferred practice style of involvement
in the design and making process ultimately lead to
furniture and object design. After residing as an artist at
Sturt workshop, I was invited to join the Jam Factory but
instead chose to join my now late partner, Artist Mathew
McCord in outback Queensland. Devoid of material
choices, electricity and consequently a workshop my
work took on many of the characteristics of indigenous
crafts. On returning to Sydney I joined Splinter
Workshop where I produced works that integrated
these prior experiences. As the sole parent of two
children there is presently little opportunity for dedicated
engagement with my craft but I continue to experiment
with related craft activities when time permits.
My work demonstrates a strong dynamic quality
established through the preferred use of organic
sculptural or fluid forms that result in work that almost
takes on individual personality. These refined forms
are often juxtaposed by the inclusion of alternative
natural materials inspired by indigenous crafts that
include concrete, raffia and kangaroo skin. My work
aims to alter perspective by giving dedicated emphasis
to inanimate objects or by challenging our ideas about
their appearance and the attention they should receive.

Napkin holders become the emphasis of a table; clocks

dominate rooms as large sculptural forms. The result
of these motivations is work that demonstrates distinct
and unique personalities that engage with us rather than
sitting dormant.

with thanks

Ed Garcia


Signal # 3. Dining Table, 2009

Australian Silver Ash, Ash Burl, Poplar Block Board,
Carbon fibre,
2030mm (l) x1120 (w) x 740 (h)

Ava Chair, 2006

Industrial Felt, Blackbean Veneer,
Hoop Pine Plywood, and Stainless Steel.
405 (l) x 590 (w) x 550 (h)

The Conservatorium of Music 2009
Plantation mahogany and New Age Veneers.
1400(w) x 500 (d) x 1400 (h)

Second Cut & Third Cut Chair
Hoop Pine. American White Ash
800 (h) x 400 (w) x 600 (d)

Mountain Dulcimer
Back & sides, Iron bark, rock maple & Purple Heart, Top
Tasmanian myrtle
1000 (l) x 200 (w) x 50 (h)

Marie Normoyle
Tallulah Freestanding Lamp 1999
African Paduk with parchment shade
1730 (h)

Ian Monty

Isabel Burton, Table Accessories

African Paduk
variable sizes

Cabinet on Stand
New Age Veneer / Poplar blockboard / Walnut / Oil finish,
1600 (h) 400 (w) x 300 (d)

Sedia sola, 2009
Birch ply, American White oak, solid oak legs
with Marimekko cushions
700 (w) x 600 (d) x 600 (h)

Metamorphosis, set of 8 napkin rings

African Paduk
160mm (h)

This exhibition would not have been possible

without the enthusiasm of all the exhibitors, the
dedicated staff at Tin Sheds Gallery in
particular Jan Fieldsend and Anita Leever.
Special thanks to Phoebe McEvoy,
Allan Walpole and Julia Charles whose support
and encouragement were much appreciated.
I would also like to thank the friends and family
of the Splinter Workshop members who I am
sure understand the trials and tribulations of
being a furniture designer/maker.
New Age Veneers Pty Ltd
Anagote Timbers
Lidcombe TAFE
GVA Global Venture Australia
The Woodage - speciality timber suppliers

Tin Sheds Gallery

The Faculty of Architecture Design & Planning,
The Unversity of Sydney, 148 City Road
T: 02 9351 3115 E:
Gallery hours: 11am 5pm Tuesday - Saturday