Sturt Gallery "Beyond Ordinary" Review

Published on
April 21, 2022
Clare O’Reilly
Vice Chairperson & Workshop Supervisor

Sturt Gallery is hosting Australia’s first exhibition of women woodworkers. ‘Beyond Ordinary’ showcases the work of 28 contemporary women makers working in wood.

The curators, Dale Dryden and Ruth Thompson, who are also exhibiting their work, developed the idea for the exhibition to provide an opportunity for the makers to increase their exposure and showcase the quality of workmanship and good design.

The work exhibited is outstanding. Ranging from fine furniture, through to boxes, platters, carvings, sculpture, and art, each piece showcases exemplary design, technique and workman- (or woman)ship. There is something for everyone!

Lou Harris, a member of WWA, showcased her ‘Lily table’ and ‘Eno stool’, both in Jarrah and Tasmanian oak. The attention to detail, the slightly tapered legs, which curve through the tabletop and her beautifully proportioned stool demonstrate the highest level of skill and technique. Tyla Veney’s hall table in European beech epitomises contemporary design, with her table top resting on wooden balls above contoured legs.

Catherine Capan’s use of golden sassafras with ebony and brass in her shelf, ‘Looking out’, captures a deep understanding of colour, design and proportion. Cat Cook’s drinks cabinet and furniture from Phoebe Everill, Laura McCusker, Lana Kagan, Isabel Avendano Hazburn are at the highest level.

The use of timber with other materials, such as the screen of European Beech and torched copper mesh, Ruth Thompson’s chair of Tasmanian myrtle and hand embroidered upholstery and Dale Dryden’s colourful shelf or Macrocarpa, MDF, brass and mirror are examples of colour being used to embellish fine furniture.

The small animal carvings of Carol Russell are delightful. Her craftsmanship is on display in each object, carefully carved in salvaged ancient blackwood, huon pine, white beech, tiger myrtle and King Billy pine. Linda Nathan exhibited a beautiful collection of spoons and platters, and Chelsea Lemon exhibited a tray of hand cut walnut and dyed veneers.

Linda Fredheim’s laminated myrtle and eucalypt veneered handbags  and Marion Shapiro and Ruth Thompson’s mosaic and tapestry boxes take box making to a new level of creativity.

It is a captivating and inspiring exhibition.