A few months ago, NEA published a flyer from an organisation dedicated to saving pianos from landfill. An exhibition was planned for November at the North Melbourne Meat Market for local artisans and craftspeople to design and build objects from parts of unwanted pianos.
I knew that Bill McCabe from Benalla had dismantled his old family instrument, a 1923 Beale, Australian made, and that he had a few bits left.
From Bill, I was able to source a leg, the front panel, the sheetmusic shelf, some bits if ebony and ivory keys, and some miscellaneous fittings.
I scratch built a stick dulcimer, which apart from the machine head tuners, strings and frets, was made entirely from the Beale parts, and entered it in the exhibition.
Mary and I attended the presentation night, mainly for the food and wine, and to see what others had created, so I was absolutely blown away when my name as read out as the winner in my section. …….with respect for the pianos musical heritage, to create something that gives the piano new purpose in music…
$600 prize, and a great experience. Thank you NEA.
Rodney Horsfall photographed with an admirer from California, and the winning entry
Rodney Horsfall has been associated with NEA since its beginning. Rodney is now exhibiting and selling hand crafted musical instruments - cigar box blues guitars and ukeleles made from recycled materials - at NEA. Call in to Gallery 1 to check them out.
The Lost Trades Fair in Kyneton is coming up on the Labour Day weekend. This is a key event in the calendar for Schloss - Good Ol' Toys and Collectables. Tim Schloss's unique wooden toys and quirky collectables are all handcrafted, with nearly all made from recycled or salvaged wood.. They are eco-friendly and great for the imagination., Tim, a founding member and past President of NEA, exhibits work in the NEA gallery; regularly participates in "Meet the Maker' events and offers workshops such as the 'Personalise Your Own Sword' workshop being offered at 'Lost Trades' and the successful 'Billy Goat Stool making workshop held at NEA in January 2017.
A number of other North East Artisan members also work in wood using traditional methods.
Garth Mitchell, whose walking sticks can be purchased at NEA, commenced the time consuming process of making hand made bespoke walking sticks 15 years ago after becoming a collector of walking sticks.. Garth 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!”
Garth, who now belongs to a stick making guild in the UK, cuts and shapes the sticks by hand, using rasps, planes and spokeshaves. Mastering joints and polishing requires patience and skill. Garth prefers to use Australian timber and 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”.
Seamus Foley, also a musician and poet, can often be found at NEA whittling objects which he is now incorporating into jewellery. Seamus uses traditional methods in pursuing his love of musical instrument making, restoration and repair in his open studio at NEA.
Chris Seeley's love of rare and recycled woods and traditional joinery methods is evident in the beautiful tables, trays and other objects made in his Butter Factory workshop in Swanpool and on sale at NEA. Chris is a master craftsman of fine furniture. From old salvaged timbers Chris creates wonderful new pieces using traditional methods of joinery.
Schloss - Good Ol' Toys and Collectibles followers can see Tim's work and enrol in 'Personalise Your Own Sword' workshops at the Lost Trades Fair at the Kyneton Racecourse from 10 am Saturday March 10 and Sunday March 11. .
"Craftsmanship, skill, tradition, forgotten arts and rare trades. Find authenticity, meet the makers - if you love bespoke, handcrafted, artisan trades and skills - do not miss this event. Incredible makers practising their trades; coopers to carriage builders, silversmiths to stonemasons, glass blowers to gunsmiths, over 100 makers at the biggest gathering of traditional tradesmen and women in the country. Be inspired by the 'art of handmade'."
The work of artisans Tim Schloss, Garth Mitchell and Chris Seeley can be viewed and purchased at North East Artisans. Seamus Foley has an open studio at NEA.
Occasional blog by BL
January 21, 2018
Wall to Wall Benalla Festival
Benalla Street Art Map to 2017
Wots4Me Benalla Youth
Juddy Roller Wall to Wall
Benalla Art Gallery
Shepparton Art Museum
Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance (GANEAA)
Wangaratta Art Gallery
Benalla Camera Club
Broken River Potters
Broken River Painters
Table Top Games at NEA
Phone: 0402 563 918 (Gallery Hours)
Address: 122 Bridge Street East, Benalla, VIC 3672