As a kid I was always fidgeting with something, constantly whittling and carving sticks into whatever took my fancy. This usually turned out to be sharpened sticks I’d chase my sister around the yard with. Dad eventually convinced me this was a no-no and introduced me to general woodworking. He set me up with some large blocks of wood and a good set of carving tools, from chisels to sanders and heavy-duty files. It was fantastic for me as a kid, giving me a creative outlet as well as simply putting something in my hands that I could explore for hours on end, rather than bouncing off the walls out of boredom.
It quickly became a solid bond for my relationship between my father and I. He was an avid handyman around the house, constantly building furniture from scratch, spending whole weekends at a time in his shed getting grandma’s new rocker completely smooth and free from splinters. The result was always an amazing piece of work that would last for ages, and these skills he thankfully passed on to me. One particular project he involved me on was a magnificent set of ornate, bi-fold French doors. We spent countless hours refining the intricate design that framed each individual pane of glass – they never actually fit properly, leaving gaps that would whistle loudly when the wind blew, but we were proud of ourselves never the less. Today I still use the skills passed on to me by my father, most recently to hand craft a colossal ‘barn’ door for my garage. It now stands tall and proud in the entry hall, guarding my toys and tools, and is a constant conversation topic with visitors due to its raw and natural beauty. My own offspring do not share my joy and passion in woodworking and artistry, but there are still plenty of others – the Maleny Wood Expo is coming!
Started in 1996, the Expo was the brainchild of Queensland forester and passionate Landcare supporter, Ashley Sewell. Designed to promote sustainable use of our beautiful native timbers through the work of local and regional wood artisans, the Expo is now recognised as one of the best wood shows in Australia. Three full days of clean country family fun at the beautiful Maleny Showgrounds this April 30th to May 2nd. View the amazing range of lovingly crafted timber products, and meet and talk to the craftsmen and women who have created them. With work by furniture-makers and toy-makers, musical instrument-makers and box-makers, whittlers, carvers and everything in-between, there’s something to suit every taste and budget. Glimpse the skills of the timber cutters who ‘opened up’ the region, and catch up with the very best in both hand-crafted traditional and high tech tools. Smell the distinctive spicy aroma of newly milled timber and watch live demos of chainsaws, woodworking, trade tools and more. There’s hands-on woodwork for the whole family with WoodShed Workshops, Woodwork for Women and a creative space for kids to taste the delights of getting their hands in the sawdust and taking home their own masterpiece. There are native plants and local Maleny produce to purchase, natural resource management displays and much, much more. All wood artisans and exhibitors are required to work in sustainably harvested native timbers, weed or recycled timbers. For more information on the Expo visit the Maleny Wood Expo website.