What inspired you to start your work?
about 30 years ago I wanted to buy a jewellery box for my wife but I couldn’t find anything suitable so I decided to make one. I used some old recycled Rimu shelves and was quite pleased with the results.
It seems quite a few other people liked the design as well and as a result I got a few requests to make more. Since then I have always made a few boxes for friends and family and sold any surpluss to retailers. About 20 years ago we moved to Northland where I discovered Ancient Swamp Kauri, now I only use this amazing material. It was always my intention to make boxes when I retired to create a bit of extra income but due to some health issues I had to give up my job so for the last 3 years Heirloom Boxes has been my fulltime employment.
Describe your creative space, where you bring to life your work?
All my work is created in my home workshop in Kamo, Whangarei.
Its a prety basic operation with a few power tools including a small bench saw and band saw for breaking down larger pieces of timber plus a large belt sander which I use for a lot of the rough shaping of box lids. All other work is done with hand tools some of which are antique and a lot of sanding and polishing.
I find the hand finishing give each box an individual character.
What do you love most about your handmade business?
I find it extremely satisfying to take a fairly ordinary looking piece of timber and bring out the beauty within. The beauty of Ancient Kauri is truely amazing and you never quite know what lies beneath the surface. Its always rewarding to take an ugly old knot or defect and incorporate it in the design to create a stunning feature within the finished item.
What are you most looking forward to about being at the Auckland Fair?
I am most looking forward to showing my work to a whole new group of people.
Most of my work is sold to overseas customers so it will be exciting to put it in front of a New Zealand audience.
What has been your biggest triumph to date?
My biggest triumph was having a couple of overseas visitors approach me at a market and tell me they had been in Northland for a couple of weeks and have been to all the “kauri places” but they were very dissapointed they didn’t find me first as my work was the best they had seen.