Sturt School for Wood Graduates 2021

Use the arrows or the dots to explore the work of our 12 talented 2021 graduates.

LIAM STARCEVICH

I have had a lifelong love of design and my training began in earnest as a young child ogling and drawing cars. I was especially obsessed with the perfecting of their proportions. I was also an avid tinkerer, spending hours on weekends in my dad’s workshop. My first career outing was an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery in my hometown of Geraldton, WA. 

Wanting a more design-focussed vocation, I then decided to study architecture at uni and in my final semester, I chose to do an optional furniture design/making unit. Furniture had never been on my radar, but I discovered that the medium of fine furniture had the perfect intersection of designing and making, where the two were not divorced from one another and in which the developing of beautiful proportions was integral. As a result, I’ve found myself at Sturt and, by happenstance, more engaged in this craft than by anything else I’ve done before.

E lstarcevich_1@me.com P 0419 937 936 IG @liamstarcevich

TIM WEBB

I first heard about the full-time course at Sturt in 2013 when I was a part-time student and realised I really wanted to experience the full course. I was fortunate enough to retire late last year so here was my chance. It has been a great pleasure working with an inspiring group, my fellow students and tutors. 

I have worked with chainsaws almost all my working life on the land and I have always felt that there is something special about wood. I’ve really enjoyed finally using beautiful wood to make pieces that I have learned to design and improve upon. 

Spending this year being taught the all-important basics of hand tool skills, then all the machines to moving on to designing and making very fine pieces has been the best experience.

E bevandtim6@bigpond.com P 0427 267 812 IG @timweb2411

KATE ROWE

I’m a later-life new woodworker, having retired from a career as a teacher and public servant. I was delighted to be able to come to Sturt and learn from world-class teachers, alongside a group of inspiring designers and makers. 

It’s been kind of a wild ride: exciting, fun, hard, convivial, exhausting, but with many achievements. I hope to keep making beautiful and useful things in an authentic way. 

My gratitude and love go to everyone I’ve had the privilege of learning with this year. And to my partner Blake, who backed my dream.

E katerowebrisbane@gmail.com P 0407 137 408 IG @dustbunny4819

JACK O’BRIEN

I’ve always enjoyed making things since learning woodcarving and watercolour painting with my grandfather as a kid. Every holidays we’d design and build ever more ambitious projects. So after this year I plan to keep making beautiful things, and test myself on each one.

Thank you to all of the tutors this year, you’ve been a wealth of knowledge, and a lot of fun to spend the year with.

E jack.obrien97@outlook.com P 0424 699 399 IG @tilbustertools

NOEL DAVAR

“Life is about the journey, not the destination.” What an amazing journey this year has been!

I have always had a passion for building things. Despite a long and rewarding career in IT, I’ve always thought if I could do it all again, I’d like to be a woodworker. I have pursued woodworking as a hobby over the years but Sturt has given me the opportunity to fill the many gaps in my understanding of working with wood. The amazing instructors we’ve had this year have provided me with a solid foundation on the path to becoming a designer and maker of fine furniture. 

My aims are to cement the skills I have learnt and to build furniture that will stand the test of time, pieces that can be handed down to future generations. I am also looking forward to passing on the skills I have learnt to other new and aspiring woodworkers. Finally, I would like to thank my wife Deanne, without whose support this year would never have been possible for me.

E noel328@gmail.com P 0411 256 191 IG @treewood_designs

VINCE BERKHOUT

I recall developing an affinity for wood from a feisty but engaging woodwork teacher I had in high school in WA. My parents bought me some books on woodcarving, and a set of small carving tools to nurture my interest. I still have the scars on my hand and knee from not handling the carving tools properly!

It’s the tactile nature of wood that I love best. No matter how coarse or irregular the grain, with patience and care it can be fashioned into something that is beautiful to touch.

I wanted to do the Sturt course to understand wood better, to develop my design skills, to work in a diverse group environment, to learn from world-renowned designer-maker-tutors, and to make beautiful furniture. My experience at Sturt has greatly exceeded all of my expectations!

E vince.berkhout@gmail.com P 0428 840 170 IG @vinceberkhout

DAVID LIM

I am architecturally trained and as a builder, I have always been fascinated by the things craftspeople make. 

I started my woodworking journey about 20 years ago when I built a cot for our first child. This first build had my father-in-law label me “the butcher”.

Since my first effort of working with timber, I have slowly improved my skills by taking short courses with different timber masters and spending a lot of time in my various workshops. 

My time at Sturt will not be the end of my journey to improve my skills for designing and working with timber.

E david@limfamily.com.au P 0438 322 882 IG @turnandplane

MOEA VONSY

Working with wood is a demanding and challenging task. It has a mind of its own and it takes a skilled craftsperson to coax it into the shape you have envisioned. But if you can convince it, it is the most wonderful of partners. That is why I choose it.

My work explores both organic and geometric shapes, for patterns transcend the natural beauty that is around us. They give order to the chaos, without constricting it.

Each piece tells a story. It is a reflection on the journey we undertake, the obstacles we face and the small victories we reap. They are not flawless, yet they are complete, each one expressing the unique meeting of maker and material and the conversation that was born out of it.

E moea.vonsy@gmail.com P 0467246629 IG @dreamswood_concepts

BRYN DAVIES

A wise man once said to me: “We spend roughly one third of our lives at work. Don’t do what I did and let society choose your career. Do what makes you feel happy, choose your own path and you won’t work a day in your life”.

That wise man was my dad and that’s exactly what I’m doing: choosing my own path. 

I come from an artistic background and am an artist myself. I find working with my hands and imagination invigorating. I spent most of my early 20s in art school learning as much as I could, leaving there with my current trade as a screen printer. I’ve always wanted to learn the art of woodcraft and Sturt was the best place for me to do that. I’m hoping to combine both practices into my career. 

E bmdprints95@gmail.com P 0439 284 142 IG @atendesigns

DANIEL LITTLE

I have always appreciated good design, craftsmanship and beauty in a well considered piece. I hope to grow into a maker who creates equally thoughtful and beautiful objects. I have been designing and making in the ceramics field as well as working in healthcare but fine furniture making has been my aspiration for many years. 

I have found an enjoyment in making that spans the process from fledgling design to final product. The tactile nature of making, the process of problem solving, the way it demands your full attention are equally satisfying and challenging. 

Through my exposure to Sturt I have found an inclusive community of makers, willing to offer support, share their experience and encourage development. I am enthusiastic that this is the first step in a lifetime of learning this craft; a life of mastery, quality, and hopefully a thriving career. 

E daniellittle0585@gmail.com P 0415 145 163 IG @danieljosephlittle

JESS HUMPSTON

Whether sitting on, dining at, moving with or handing down to the next generation, we share an intimate connection with the furniture we keep. It often outlasts the spaces we inhabit and has a life beyond both the user and the maker.

The hands-on practice of furniture making is largely different from my previous job as an interior designer where I was completely removed from the fabrication process. This disconnect between designing and making felt like a missed opportunity as there is beauty in the making process and happiness even in the mistakes.

This year has been an opportunity to reconnect with an integral part of the design process lacking in my previous career. The complete immersion in the furniture making craft has enriched my personal design process and embedded an honesty and richness into my future practice. 

E jess.humpston@gmail.com P 0451 818 631 IG @jesshumpston

BRANDON HARRISON

What are we but the memories we make and the habits we keep?

This idea has shaped me and the decisions I have made and was the catalyst that led me to study at Sturt. I started out as an urban planner, interested in the interaction people have with their immediate environment and how it can influence their connections with each other. Although a great introduction to my love of design, I felt that I was drawn to a smaller, more intimate scale, one where I was able to physically shape the outcome and craft a connection to the material itself.

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands. I enjoy the surprise of experimentation, the excitement of accidental successes that inform a new direction and the calm assurance that comes with realising a finished product from a single idea. 

I have found immense satisfaction in this shift in scale that I have made. It has brought more meaning to my everyday and is an exciting starting point to my future.

E bran_92_@live.com P 0433 839 788 IG @branharr