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  • Customer Profile - Linda Fredheim, Fine Furniture Maker

Customer Profile - Linda Fredheim, Fine Furniture Maker


By Carol Russell

Despite its remoteness or perhaps because of it, Hobart is alive with great art and design. There is an introspective beauty in the landscape that inspires an almost defiant originality in the artists and craftspeople who live and work there. The work of Linda Fredheim, a dedicated designer and furniture maker, features many of the key elements of her surroundings. She uses not only the local timbers, but also incorporates stories, maps and historical figures into her designs.

The "Lady Franklin"

I first met Linda at an event in Melbourne in 2006 hosted by the Victorian Woodworker’s Association. She was speaking about her work and, in particular, a solo project that she had received arts funding to develop, called, “Order Under Canvas”. This was a traveling exhibition that was displayed under a large canvas tent at a series of locations in Tasmania. Linda designed and made a range of contemporary “campaign” furniture, reminiscent of the items that the nineteenth century explorers would have used on their journeys across a hostile landscape. This furniture was often an attempt to bring a small fraction of their civilised world along with them. The pieces normally folded into more portable shapes when the expedition was on the move and was reconstructed when they set up camp.

"Wedge": portable "campaign" furniture for Linda's, "Order Under Canvas" traveling exhibition.

It was an extraordinary project that Linda had created, full of stories and history. The pieces were beautifully made and cleverly designed. All the metal fitting had been made by Linda herself. What really brought them to life for me was the way she made the pieces as if they had been commissioned by people drawn from Tasmanian history. Her piece, ‘A Cabinet For Lady Franklin” refers to a cabinet made for the intrepid wife of the Governor, Sir John Franklin. Inside the drawers were excerpts from her diary describing the places Lady Franklin had been to. I count these pieces as some of the most remarkable I have seen and have never forgotten them. Therefore I was thrilled after four exhausting and exciting days at the Wooden Boat festival in Hobart this year to get a chance to visit Linda and her partner Stuart Houghton in their ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of a workshop.

The workshop that Linda shares with her partner.
"Myrtle Desk"

Linda Fredheim’s woodworking journey began with the purchase of a house that needed some renovating and the difficulty she had in finding someone who could do exactly what she wanted. This motivated her to undertake some adult education classes in woodworking.

Most fine woodworkers can pinpoint a time when it all clicks into place for them, for Linda, the turning point was attending a seminar by Kristina Madsen, a woodworker visiting from America. Linda was inspired by Kristina’s work and she eventually went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design in Wood) at the University of Tasmania. This highly regarded course has produced some of our finest craftspeople and has been pivotal in Tasmania attaining the reputation it has for producing exceptional quality studio furniture makers.


Linda has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Her pieces have been acquired by the Tasmanian Wood Design Collection and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. Linda was both a finalist for the Tasmanian Design Award in 2009 for her ‘I am…Brooch’ and for the Clarence Prize for Excellence in Furniture Design, Hobart in 2011 for her piece, ‘Lona’. She has herself now become a lecturer in the furniture design studio at the University of Tasmania and has become the person that inspires others to pursue a career in fine woodworking.

"Sea Stories" exhibition.