March 2020: From the Vault – Greater Port Macquarie Focus Magazine
Chrissy Jones chatted with David about his love for his craft; creating beautiful handcrafted timber furniture. In this article, written in 2015, a time in David’s career when his work progressed to a more distinctive artistic form, Chrissy captures the very essence of what inspires David’s work and drives his underlying passion as a Timbercraftsman… and still does today…
What inspired you to create such beautiful handcrafted timber furniture and artworks?
With 30 years in the custom furniture design and manufacturing industry I draw inspiration from the natural beauty and strength of solid timber. I’m also inspired by our local artists, which has led to evolving my craft to introduce colour and textures into a new range of design as ‘hero pieces’ to enhance living environments.
I enjoy the challenge of sourcing and personally selecting the timbers, then working progressively with the grains, colours and characteristics of each species from inception through to the finishing and polishing state to showcase the timbers’ distinctive beauty that brings a design to life.
Where do you source your timber?
The timbers used in my furniture and artworks are sourced from many locations throughout Australia.
In my own original designs I select species that work in harmony with each other. When using combined species in a single piece I select timbers that enrich each other in colour, shape and feature grain to achieve that ‘wow’ factor for a particular design and finish.
The timber sourced is also dependent on a client’s brief or when specifically requested. Often I source sizeable and excusive slabs for a new dining table. At times I may require reclaimed and/or salvaged timbers, which also play an important part in my designs.
What type of timber do you work with and why?
I choose to work with a diverse range of timbers because each species has its own special characteristics or natural features.
Some timbers are heavier, more solid and harder than others, and therfore challening to work with. When worked correctly these too transform from a raw state, as boards, or a slab, into magnificent and stunning pieces of furniture and artwork.
If I were to have a personal favourite, I’d choose Tasmanian Blackwood, or perhaps River Red Gum or Huon Pine.
What forms the majority of your collection of works?
As a custom designer and furniture craftsman my work varies, from dining, entertainment, bedroom furniture as well as display units, sideboards, and occasional furniture, office furniture, executive collections, commercial and corporate fit-outs, even mirrors, and visual timber art.
What are some of the favourite pieces you’ve created over the years?
With so many pieces handcrafted over time it’s quite difficult to name favourites. This is because there is a part of me entrenched into each and every single customised client commission and designer original that leaves my workshop to go to a new home. as I try out new ideas and experiment with concepts I also find that new designs evolve, so these then replace previous projects as preferred pieces.
If I had to choose some of my most favourite pieces it would probably be those in my own private collection. One that comes to mind is a stunning slab of River Red Gum transformed into a six-seat dining table, made for my wife on the birth of our third child.
This particular piece takes pride of place in our home because of the many special memories of the times we’ve shared with family and friends. This table is a family heirloom and will be enjoyed by generations to come.
Other favourites are those pieces I have donated for charity, with support of other local businesses, ie a customised computer and gaming station for the Children’s Ward at Port Macquarie Base Hospital, by the Starlight Foundation.
What is/are the most unusual/unique pieces of furniture you have created?
Many of the unusual or more unique pieces of furniture and art I have created originate from freeform slabs, intricate patterns or grains or even the colour of the raw materials. One of the most commented on pieces is a freeform desk made from Camphor Laurel and Brush Box where I retained the natural shape of the slab and created a glass leaf feature embedded into the desktop. For this piece I also hand shaped the drawer fronts to match the sides, and veneered actual gum leaves to create the drawer handles.
More recently I have been focusing on developing a new range, where I’ve been combining different mediums, including precious stones, glass, mirrors, metal, pearlescent products, and leather.
This new range integrates colour, texture, reflective surfaces, infills, and/or dimensional effects to create a point of difference in my designs. These mixed mediums combined with the natural beauty of the timbers selected are generating positive feedback and interest since diversifying the Timbercraftsman range.
Where can we view your works?
I’ve exhibited in nine galleries throughout NSW. Encouraged by clients wanting to see more. The new timbercraftsman website was launched mid 2012. Selected works are featured in the “Gallery” at www.timbercraftsman.com.au
Visits to my bonny Hills Workshop/Studio are most welcome, by appointment. New furniture designs and artworks are also exhibited in Sunset Gallery and Lounge, Port Macquarie, and Long Point Vineyard and Art Gallery, Lake Cathie.
Thank you David.
Originally published in Issue 93 of the Greater Port Macquarie Focus, https://issuu.com/focus.mag/docs/portmi93
Please Note: David Suters Timbercraftsman is currently located on the Sunshine Coast, exhibiting from David’s privately owned and operated “Timbercraftsman Studio Gallery” in Eumundi and no longer exhibits in the galleries mentioned above. Contact David by email for more information or call him on 0413 509 482.