Category Archives: Treen

Making Treen…


Just a few of the pieces I’ve made over the past couple of weeks…

Making treen is relaxing and profitable activity.  Low risk perhaps, not spectacular perhaps, just nice simple functional objects that people like and buy…  And it uses up some of my collection of off cuts and oddments…

Now that I have cleared the decks and stocked up again, back to real work.  The next big job is Su’s desk.  Another adventure, a couple of new ideas to try.  I have three large slabs of premium redgum ready to go.  I’m planning on opening up the slabs on Friday –  that’s always a step into the unknown!






Lots of Boxes… and some vases


At the end of October, the Clarence Valley Jacaranda trees burst into bloom – and it’s time for the annual Grafton Jacaranda Festival.

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The Lower Clarence Valley based Northern Rivers Woodworkers Association hold their annual show and presentations in conjunction with the Jacaranda Festival.  The show is in part the completion for awards, and partly market, where club members can offer goods for sale.  This year, there were 24 stall holders, offering over 1700 items for sale, with a total value in excess of $70,000.

I entered three of the competition classes, and put together a display table.  As usual, completing goods for display at the Jacaranda festival tends to be a last minute affair.  This year, we made a bunch of small dovetailed boxes, and we put some of Su’s glass flowers on top.  This was not an original idea – we stole the idea from Deb Dunmkerton, a glass worker colleague of Su’s.  And we called them ‘Deborah Boxes’.

We also had a couple of small turned vases in various woods – these also got some glass flowers, a selection of small turned dishes, and some gum leaf shaped bookmark / letter openers.  And to fill the display, I added a couple of items that were Not for Sale – a small side table,  a chair and some turned plates.

This was my first time at the Jacaranda Festival show.  Happy with the display!

And we sold one of the boxes on the opening night!

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Sculpture 101

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Moebius Strip in Camphor Laurel

The Northern Rivers Woodworkers Association organises a series of workshops on different topics – wood turning, animal carving, finishing, etc…  I went with the sculpture workshop, run by sculptor, designer and engineer Karl Rubli.

For my motif for the course, I chose a Moebius Strip.  The Moebius Strip is a topological curiosity – a single surface bounded by a single continuous edge.  And it has some peculiar properties.

I chose it for its interest, curiosity, and because it involved a twist.  I have carved a small piece with twists before, and interesting things happen to the form, the cross section and the way the light and shadow works.

Of course, Karl’s workshop was only enough to get us started on the right track.  After a good deal of carving, and even more sanding – I finally decided enough sanding was enough – time to finish.

One coat of Danish Oil, a coat of wax – I’m happy with that!

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Does this mean I’m an artist?


The Lower Clarence Valley Art and Crafts Association run the ‘8 x 8’ show each year.  The event is open to all, with a $10.00 entry which includes a 200mm (8 inches) square canvas (hence the 8 x 8 moniker).  Entrants can offer the pieces for sale, or mark them NFS, provided sale price is less than $250.  This year the theme was ‘Messages’.

As a good citizen, I supported the show and put in an entry.  Machined up out of scraps and off-cuts – including a that piece of dark red Jarrah that came from the first BBQ that Su and I ever owned.

I titled the work ‘Message Sticks’ – obvious – but I did think about calling it ‘Fake News’.

So the piece sold.  $85.  Fancy that!  Someone liked it that much!  I’m flattered and amused.

But I don’t think it makes me an artist – or a professional…

Making Treen…


Small bowl from Turpentine

Once the workshop was made, the first job was to make a table for the lathe.


Making treen – making a mess…

Next, I spent a few days making a mess – and making a few small bowls and dishes – and some dinner plates.


A Nice Bit of Treen…


Mulga egg cup – not pretty, not new either.

New Years Market in the main street of Maclean.  Su had some of her work on Di Nixon’s (DiVaNix) stall.  We were there early, before the crowd, helping set up.

Across the road, an old guy was all set up and waiting for the buyers.  I’d seen him before – a character.  Pete reckons he is at a market every weekend.  Sells hand made jewellery – mostly made from found objects, plus a few bracelets made from bent spoons. Plus a few old albums – Charley Pride, Jimmy Little, mostly country.  Everything the same price – $10.  Except for a box marked at $2.

This little mulga egg cup was in the $2 box.  Turned from mulga.  The finish has crazed and gone dark, but when it was new, it would have been vivid red mulga and creamy white sapwood.  These little pieces of mulga were everywhere in the 50s and 60s.  Every home had one – ash trays, pen holders, all sorts of knick knacks.  Many were embossed – place names, mementos of some day out or holiday.

I hadn’t seen one for ages.  So I bought it – a memento of a time I visited once…

Ebony frame


Artist John Beasley of Medicine Bluff Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio made these ceramic tiles.  I made this fitted frame for them.

The frame is from ebony – probably from Solomon Islands.  I bought a couple of pieces of ebony at a wood show in Brisbane – wish that I’d bought more.  It was good quality – but mostly in smaller sizes – and not expensive.

Finish is a satin poly/tung blend, hand rubbed.