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The wonders of wood

A blend of art and nature: Local business owner Mr McNamara with one of his timber creations. (Photo – Matt Romania)

By Matt Romania

A local business was recently featured by the Melbourne Immigration Museum as part of its Thursday pop-up market.

Darley resident Damien McNamara and his business McNamara Woodcraft, crafts unique pieces from native timbers, combining nature and art. His range includes attention-grabbing page holders, vases, and bowls.

Mr McNamara is meticulous about sourcing, prioritising ethically obtained timber. Most of his timber comes from various parts of Moorabool.

“Be it recycled timber or trees that have naturally fallen or been brought down in storms,” he shared, “I strive to ensure our timber is as ethically sourced as possible by knowing its origins.”

He also emphasises the unique character of each piece, stating that it’s essential to showcase the wood’s features. Different trees have diverse reactions.

“Some woods I turn thin and let them dry naturally, letting them warp and crack. Others, I turn them thick, let them dry, then perfect them into a round bowl. With a recent Southern Mahogany Tree, it warped and cracked. Sometimes you need to boil it. But even if a piece cracks, it can be turned into a unique showcase piece,” Mr McNamara explained.

At markets at places like the Immigration Museum, Mr McNamara observed how customers often reminisce about their trips or experiences with Bacchus Marsh, “even if they’ve only visited the one time”. Acquiring a crafted piece with local timber enables them to rekindle memories of their time visiting.

Looking ahead, McNamara Woodcraft aims to expand its product range while upholding its commitment to sustainability.

“I’d like to slow down on the markets. I’m keen on crafting larger furniture items, but space is a limitation. I’m also experimenting with making lamps and light shades. There’s a niche for high-end household pieces that tell a story,” Mr McNamara said.

For those living within an hour’s drive of Bacchus Marsh who’ve had a native tree fall, Mr McNamara encourages them to get in touch.

“If the tree is a species or in a condition I can work with and you allow me to take a few logs, I’ll return one of the larger bowls I’ve crafted from your tree once I’ve finished processing the wood.”