Garth started as a collector and commenced making bespoke walking sticks about 15 years ago.
“I searched the ‘net’ to find out more about the design, structure, materials, styles, etc of walking sticks. Although little was available in Australia, I found that stick dressing was a very popular pastime in the United Kingdom, with many sites dedicated to product, technique, style, and so on. With that I was hooked!”
Making hand-made walking sticks is a time consuming process. They are cut and shaped by hand, using rasps, planes and spokeshaves, etc. Mastering joints and polishing also requires a lot of patience and skill.
“My preferences in the making are, where possible, Australian timbers, to contrast shank and handle. Handle styles are generally the traditional English styles - Cardigan, Derby, Crutch and Crook, and, to be somewhat technical, in most cases I admit to a horn or timber spacer over a reinforced tenon joint”.
Upon retirement, a move to the country also gave Garth a large shed in which to pursue his passion for stick dressing. He has since amassed a good collection of timber.
“I now take an extra look at the prunings of fruit and ornamental trees to assess their usefulness for shanks and handles. Working space in my shed has now become somewhat limited!”
In time, as his inventory grew, Garth was determined to start showing his sticks, so the Strathbogie Art Show and North East Artisans were perfect opportunities.
“Stick making does not seem to carry great interest in Australia, but as a result of my participation in the Art Show, and display at NEA, it is amazing the number of people who are now asking questions.”
Garth's work is available for viewing and sale at NEA.