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Bruny Making

Over the past year, JWA held three Bruny Making trips, during which team members spent a long weekend on Waterview - the working sheep farm home to Shearers Quarters and Captain Kelly's Cottage. 

Held annually, these trips are a much celebrated and defining part of our culture. A chance for us to swap a computer screen for a tradie’s toolbox and spend time learning skills from local crafts & tradespeople. Since the inaugural trip in 2008 – a tree planting weekend – the projects have grown in ambition and complexity, much to the delight and determination of the team. The recent additions to the Waterview landscape include a stone bridge, pottery kiln, open-air bath house, carved bird installation, flag pole and a table built for the Bruny Island Community Hall.

A team of us were privileged to work with master craftsman and furniture maker Kevin Perkins to learn the craft of whittling.⁠ The team aimed to ‘recreate a tree’ from found elements in the landscape and to populate that tree with representations of the 12 unique species of birds found on Bruny Island.⁠ We whittled birds from Huon Pine salvaged from the fires in and around Kevin’s property in the Huon Valley. Huon Pine is a soft wood unique to Tasmania that take thousands of years to grow and as a result is in danger of becoming extinct from climate change.

This community table is an iteration in a series of 'the table of many tables'; an exploration into the merging together of individual tables to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The fascination for this idea began with the dining table created for Captain Kelly's Cottage.

The initial sketch in Melbourne remained relatively un-altered through the making process. However, after we saw a truly thick, unsightly old table leg, an opportunity arose for a whittled bird’s burrow. The leg was detached, flipped, a burrow gracefully hacked out by Kevin Perkins, and re-attached to the underside of the table.

One of the more ambitious projects from our recent Bruny Making trips was an open-air bath house. During the build, we continuously adapted a preconceived design intention to suit some frontier farm realities.

The bath, an off the shelf sheep trough, carefully turned into the luxurious centrepiece with the meticulous laying of 1200 Japanese Inax tiles. An entire day was spent determining a set-out point for the tiles along the tapering surface of the sheep trough. No mean feat without a measuring device, but with the aspiration to have no cut wall tiles.⁠⠀

The Deck, of eucalypt timber slabs, was hand cut in-situ to provide a snugly positioned place for one to undress with warm feet. ⁠The Plinth, a place to gather around fire prior to bathing, takes its linear form from hundreds of not very linear granite rocks plucked from the paddock adjacent. ⁠A fire pit to heat the water is yet to be tested, but for now, the bath house sits waiting on the landscape.

A new stone step bridge forms a pathway across the sloping landscape at Waterview, traversing a small gully. The bridge's successful completion was achieved through communication, enthusiasm and of course some heavy lifting, aided in no small part by the muscle and no-nonsense stone cutting of Waterview managers - Jayson and Leigh, along with the friendly company of Roxy the dog.⁠

We invited local award-winning potters Ben and Peta Richardson of Ridgeline Pottery to join us in the task of creating a double-skinned step kiln with glazed bricks. ⁠Square bricks and round geometry that tapered presented challenges in design and in construction. The momentum of making over a couple of days meant ideas needed to be tested in a compressed manner. The result is a beautiful kiln that stands ready to be trialled, the practice of firing clay a potential new skill to be learned by the JWA team on a future Bruny Making weekend.

 

Our thanks to the teachers, helpers and supporters who made these projects possible:⁠⠀

Klynton Krause and Krause Bricks | Ben and Peta Richardson from Ridgeline Pottery | Bryan Cush from Sawdust Bureau | Kevin Perkins – timber craftsman | Justin Jones, AKA Chainsaw | Leigh Blackwell Farm manager | Laura McCluster & Scott van Tuil – Tasmanian designers | Peter Holloway – Brick Layer | Mick Hansson  quarry owner and excavator | Jayson Marta | Chris Crerar Photography

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