Life is a wonderful adventure. Because I am a writer as well as a woodworker, I am able to indulge both my mental and physical dreams. I can spend a day in my workshop making woodwork, or I can sit in my quiet office and write. Both professions take me around the world to meet with old friends and make many new ones. Life is good.
My woodwork grew out of a lifelong love of trees, something that must have begun with my childhood experiences playing in the Australian bush. The trees were always there and their scent, shade and quiet presence can still transport me to the past. I believe we must not destroy pristine forests, so I no longer use rare timbers. Trees do die and can be replaced, so we can make wonderful things from wood as long as we take care not to leave the environment poorer. The average woodworker uses less wood in a lifetime of creativity than a large newspaper uses in one day.
While I love to make simple shapes based on classical work, I also like to have fun and I enjoy breaking rules. It’s very satisfying to challenge conventional rules.
Contrast intrigues me-light and dark, rough and smooth, simple and complex. I particularly like to create intriguing peep-views into the heart of the tree. My childhood mantra was: "What's in there?"
I have always loved languages, both my native English and others. My writing grew from this love and a fascination with why other woodworkers do amazing things. I knew there were stories to be told, so I started to chronicle their lives and dreams. There is something fundamentally charming about devoting your life to woodwork and my writing has enabled me to travel the world to meet many good people. In a world obsessed with speed and glamour I am privileged to spread the life stories of people who live a quiet and methodical life working in wood. We are among those who can make that increasingly rare and profoundly satisfying statement: "I made that."
Hand and Eye
Tasmanian Blackwood | 2.5" h x 7.25" w x 4" d
Since 1990 I have participated in almost 100 exhibitions, many of them solo, in Australia, Japan, France, Austria, USA and Germany. My work is in collections in Holland, Germany, Spain, France, Britain, Canada, USA, Taiwan and Japan. I have also curated several exhibitions in Australia and the USA, and am often asked to give presentations at wood art and turning-related conferences around the world.
The Creative Woodturner, 2014
New Masters of Woodturning, co-authored with Kevin Wallace, 2008.
The landmark historical catalogue for the SOFA Exhibition Icons, November 2008.
Almost 300 wood-related articles for magazines and journals in seven countries, as well as reviews of books, exhibitions and events.
From 1999 to 2008, Contributing Editor to the American magazine Woodwork.
From 1999 to 2006, Editor-in-Chief of the Philadelphia-based woodturning journal Turning Points.
Edited The Wooden Bowl, by Robin Wood, 2005.
Wood Dreaming, 1996.
The Detroit Institute of Art, Bohlen Collection
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor
Sakai Cultural Centre, Nagoya, Japan.
The Ikenobo Centre, Kyoto, Japan.
Collection of the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry
The Long Beach Museum, California
The Mobile Museum, Alabama
The New York Museum of Art and Design
Fuller Craft Museum, Massachusetts
Contemporary Museum, Honolulu
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Figge Art Museum, Iowa
The Baumgarten Collection – Chicago
The Bohlen Collection - Boston
The Bresler Collection – Washington
The Forney Collection – Chicago
The Horn Collection – Arkansas
The Kaiser Collection – Delaware
The Kanze Collection – Tokyo
The Kochman Collection - Virginia
The Lipton Collection – California
The Saxe Collection – California
The Seltzer Collection – Pennsylvania
The Waterbury Collection – Minnesota