1. What’s the room and who uses it?
The room is a 3 x 4 metre ironbark clad backyard workshop called ‘Shirl’ the She Shed. It’s mostly me making in here but I’ve been so surprised since Shirl was built in 2017/2018 by how many friends, friend’s children and old and new carvers come to make stuff here too.
2. What do you do for a crust?
I’m a neonatal intensive care nurse with a couple of visual arts degrees and a basic need to make things.
3. What goes on in the room?
The door handle is the give away! I spend every spare minute here carving wooden spoons, servers, cookers, salad servers and eating spoons. With a Swedish carving axe, a straight knife and a hook knife I carve the spoons from green timber. Visitors to Shirl come to carve spoons too and to sharpen tools, to make school projects, toy cars, stilts and once a bright red wooden pirate ship. Recently Shirl became the site office for a demolition renovation on my house, ‘Crumbly Cottage’. She’s back to being a spoon shack now though.
4. Favourite piece in the room and why?
There are so many special things in here; the tools of a grandfather I never got to meet, the messmate workbench I made in furniture class at the Victorian School of Woodcraft, and the gifted spare parts shelf from the Repair and Overhaul Department at Hawker De Havilland. Seeing as they are in almost daily use and no spoon gets made without them, I’ll choose as my favourite piece the beautiful blacksmith made carving tools – two straight knives, one with a gidgee handle and the other blackwood, the small hook knife and the TWCA cam.
5. Anything on your wish list that you would love to add to the space?
A track saw, a domino and a heap more years of carving and listening to the radio.
6. What do other people say when they see your room
for the first time?
“Who built this?”. The answer is my friend ‘No Gaps’ Alby.
7. Why do you love this room?
I’d wanted a workshop space for so long and Shirl has just come up trumps. I can’t quite believe I now have such a magic place to spend time.
8. What’s one lovely memory you have whilst being in the room?
That would be the Chassis drilling episode. I got a huge giggle fit trying to drill out the chassis for Yusuf’s 4WD toy ute on the drill press. Five year old Yusuf with eyes all googly, kept telling me to “focus, focus…MOOOOOOO” which just made me laugh more. Yusuf problem solved a snag I couldn’t that time too, so a lovely memory of laughing and learning with a treasured friend’s son.
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