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Karen Wright - Zenzero

“The simple act of working with your hands can often create a sense that the world has slowed down. Whatever that creativity is, it provides a chance to personally connect with a process that in turn gives us the space to make our own mark and the opportunity to dream of more. Essentially, it’s the chance to unwind, ponder and create.” 

Zenzero is the brain child of Karen Wright. The youngest of three daughters, Karen was raised in a creative environment with parents who were passionate about doing, making and learning. The home front was continually a creative hub with self employed parents who could turn their hands to most things and – if the know how was lacking, they’d seek to educate themselves to ensure another skill was mastered.

Crafting has always played a huge part in Karen’s life and she has experimented with a variety of pursuits over the years as trends have come and gone. The daughter of a dressmaker and a photographer, Karen grew up making her own clothes and fashion accessories and later found a lot of satisfaction from producing her own soft furnishings and furniture restoration. Her father passed on his love of all things wood and Karen has always had a keen eye for quality pieces and values the craftsmanship of yesteryear. She can often be found scouring through thrift shops to find that next treasure that can be re-purposed and re-loved.

Her focus is to simplify and embrace the practice of slowing down. To value and re-purpose items from bygone eras, make carefully considered choices and treasure items that were worth waiting for. She is passionate about our carbon footprint and strives to reuse, recycle and re-purpose whenever possible.

“Being a maker gives me a huge appreciation of the time, patience and skill that goes into the things I own. Through this process, I have become a more mindful consumer”

Karen has two adult children and can now focus full-time on her creative pursuits. The birth of Zenzero has given Karen the creative avenue to develop her love of sewing and mosaic art (amongst other things). She chooses to use quality materials including locally designed and printed fabrics and locally sourced Australian leather. Her mosaic belt buckles feature recycled bone china usually sourced from charity stores.

After seeing Carol Russell teaching a workshop in May 2018, she knew she had to try her hand at spoon carving.  She enrolled in one of her beginner’s courses in June 2018 and was instantly hooked! Karne invested in some basic tools, made herself a carving apron and then jumped in full steam ahead.  Wood carving was then on her radar and she booked a class with the wonderful Graeme from Carbatec and learnt so much more.  Karen invested in more tools and came home with a Groz bench vise, another chisel and a Veritas spoke shave and draw knife. With a lot to learn and she is very keen to hone her skills at every opportunity.  Participating in Spoon Jam 2018 was another great opportunity to learn new skills.  Wood carving has become one of Karen's favourite things to do – she love the process of de-constructing a piece of wood and fashioning it into something of use and beauty.

We welcome you to experience the pleasure her quality products provide. Handmade, one off original creations made with joy.

@zenzero_design
https://www.zenzero.com.au/

Patt Gregory - Woodwork for Women

I fell totally in love with wood when I joined an evening woodwork class for women in Bristol, UK in 1984. 

In pursuit of my passion I trained full time as a Carpenter/Joiner. I learned everything from stair casing to roofing and dovetail joints in cabinetmaking.

Although the course was about carpentry and joinery, I became aware of how differently I learned the technical elements of the course to my fellow male students. I found it was necessary for my tutors to “state the obvious”, because I didn’t have the basic knowledge of tools and the understanding of terminology that my fellow male students seemed to have.

In 1985 I was fortunate to help set up a Government funded Women's Workshop in Bath, UK and with a group of women I began teaching woodwork to unemployed women over 25 years of age. This opportunity was an enriching experience indeed and over a 2 year period, I helped many trainees to become either teachers themselves or to start their own carpentry business. Some formed their own groups and offered an all woman service while others found jobs in the industry.

When I returned to Australia and later to sleepy country town, Mullumbimby, I wondered if the women here would like to learn woodwork and they did. I set up a pilot course under the Govt funded NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) and Woodwork for Women was born. 

My teachings may not follow the conventional route, the students arrive at the end point having gained an understanding of how and why the project is constructed the way it is and how to properly and safely use the tools. I believe that doing endless sample joints until you have acquired the skills to create the perfect joint, isn’t necessary, so we begin immediately on the actual project. 

Although I predominantly teach women, it is not exclusive by any means and men have also been coming to classes over the years and are most welcome. There have been one on one classes for children from the age of 4yrs – 15yrs. Six-year-old Felix made his own workbench in hourly lessons once a week after school for several months last year. I find teaching woodwork is one of the most valuable and rewarding things I have ever done and so I could reach more people, I self-published my book Woodwork for Women – Cutting a New Path for Beginners in 2010. 

@woodworkforwomen
www.woodworkforwomen.com.au

Olivia O'Connor - Rocking Horses



I specialise in woodcarving, handmade rocking horses and rocking horse restoration, I am living and working in South Gippsland, Victoria.

I grew up on a farm on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula. It was the perfect environment to develop a love for natural materials, such as wood and leather, and to appreciate the beauty of the countryside.

A love of working with timber led me to I study Furniture Design and Construction at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, for one year before being accepted into the competitive Prop Making course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. During this three-year specialised degree, I worked with wood, leather, foam-sculpting, model- and mould-making and puppet making.

After graduating from NIDA in 2011, I worked as a Prop Maker and Scenic Artist for a wide variety of shows and films in Sydney and London. These included work as Saddle maker for War Horse (Royal National Theatre London), Head of Properties (Sydney Opera House), Scenic Artist (Opera Australia and FOX Films), and Properties Supervisor (NIDA). These jobs allowed me to further develop my practical making and painting skills.

In 2013, I realised it was time for a sea change. I wanted to return to regional Victoria and surround myself with the countryside and natural materials that had inspired me in my childhood.

I left Sydney, and set up my workshop and studio on a picturesque farm amongst the rolling hills of Berry’s Creek, South Gippsland, where I spend my days carving and restoring rocking horses.

In 2017 I was awarded the George Alexander Fellowship from the International Specialised Skills Institute which led me to America in early 2018 where I studied traditional carving with Mary May and wooden carousel carving, painting and restoration with Rosa Patton. I have also spent time learning 16th Century pattern carving with Peter Follansbee.

Check out Olivia's rocking horse courses PLUS her newly added woodcarving courses!

https://oliviaoconnor.com.au
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Carol Russell - Carol Russell Woodwork 


I was born in Tasmania in 1964 and grew up surrounded by nature and people who were creating beautiful things that were inspired by the landscape. The seventies were a vibrant time for craft and the energy was fuelled by the ongoing threat to the natural environment by Logging and Hydro Electric schemes There seemed to be a desperation in the craftspeople to capture Tasmania’s beauty in their work before it was snatched away.

Although my awareness of fine craft was created in Tasmania, it wasn’t until I moved to Brisbane that I discovered I had an affinity with timber. In the mid-eighties I set out to learn everything I could about becoming a furniture maker. There were few apprenticeships available in which you would be working only with solid timber. Most commercial enterprises were using man-made materials.

There were some wonderful traditional craftsmen working from small workshops though and I was able to learn a lot from hounding everyone who I could find to teach me. I pieced some things together for myself and did a lot of Antique restoration as well. This taught me a lot about construction and finishes, although these days I lean more towards conservation rather than restoration. Fashions change and we have become more educated in Australia about preserving the past and not sanding it away.

Commissions started coming in and I worked steadily as a designer/maker for about twelve years, I became a bit disenchanted by the solitary workshop life and branched out into teaching and writing articles for The Australian Wood Review and Carbatec’s online woodworking magazine, Focus. I also worked for Carbatec, an Australian retailer of high quality woodworking tools in their retail shop and marketing department for several years.

I have developed an interest in making small spoons and wooden vessels for serving food. I believe the way food is presented is extremely important. Wooden utensils give the artist a great opportunity to blend form and function.

No matter what you make from timber, you can’t improve on a tree. I don’t like to see trees cut down if it’s not necessary and I believe in using every last bit. Making small pieces mean I can find a use for everything. Sourcing material ethically and being mindful about waste, are elements that are fundamental to all aspects of creativity.

http://www.carolrussellwoodwork.com.au/
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