This Father’s Day, we’re paying homage to some remarkable Handkrafted dads and multigenerational craftsmen – guys who (wood)work hard and dad harder. A few makers share words of wisdom about fatherhood, furniture making, and their paternal predecessors…
“History to me is so important – it helps in understanding where we’ve come from, and how that influences and inspires our future story.” – Julian McCartney, Glencross Woodworks
This Father’s Day we’re thrilled to pay homage to multigenerational love of the craft, featuring our makers’ splendid little creations alongside a few admired predecessors. At Handkrafted, we strive not only to preserve time-honoured skills, but to emphasise the value of our roots. Our relationships form the fabric of our lives, while our love of the craft acts as the joints that unite us.
We often hear stories of second and third-generation woodworkers, tales of great-great-grandparents who exist in old family relics, yellowed photographs, and most importantly: tradition. Each day, Handkrafted adopts revered ideals from the past to help build a better future. The craftsmen featured are few of many who personify this feat in their unwavering passion for both woodwork and fatherhood. Happy Father’s Day!
DAVID EASTWOOD of RAW EDGE FURNITUREKen, young at heart, Harper, 4, and Asha, 2
“My children really love the workshop. Even when it’s quiet and still, there is tangible evidence of creation, materials to explore, mess to be made, wood scraps to be moved around, brooms to build sawdust castles and forklifts to be sat in… or maybe it’s just the trusty cookie jar in the staff kitchen. Whatever it is, I love that they have this exposure to a craftperson’s life.
As a kid, I was fascinated by my grandfather’s and father’s woodwork sheds. I spent a lot of time hanging out in there exploring hand tools, nailing and gluing bits together. I built my first go-cart, cricket bat, and skateboard there. Between my grandfather and father I was taught the foundations and joy of woodworking – I still use inherited tools from grandad every day at the workshop.
I’m told grandad and I shared many common traits such as our sense of humour, love of wood, playing guitar, and also our ‘short finger’. When I was 24 I had an accident with the circular saw that left me with half a left pointer finger. Mum said grandad would be turning in his grave, as it was the same age he lost his left pointer on the same tool. Years later I was given a guitar that grandad had made. Inside the case was a home-made ‘finger extension’ from a bit of waterpipe. It fit me perfectly.
Now with my own children, I am re-living these joys as I watch my four year old delight in building, gluing, and creating in the shed. He is a natural with the hand tools, and it freaks my wife out to see him using a handsaw… very well… supervised, of course!”
LUKE ATKINS of CHRISTOPHER BLANKSunny, 8 weeks old
“The ‘Sunny side up dresser’ was made for Sunny’s room. It’s something she can keep forever and it’s also the first piece we have ever made for our own house. I want her to know that her parents worked hard and loved every minute of it – and although at times it would be easier to get a 9-5 job and be ‘safe’, we wouldn’t be teaching her that it’s important to do what makes you happy.
I can honestly say that I will be that Dad that is dressed up in a girl’s costume with make up on just because she wanted me to. I will have tantrums on the floor of the supermarket with her, and I will be embarrassing and mental all the time. I can’t wait to do Sunny’s head in with my over the top story telling… and dance moves. I look forward to her asking me to drop her around the corner from school, too.”
NATHAN DAY of NATHAN DAY DESIGNLolah, 5, and Josie, 2
“The girls usually visit me on a Saturday or Sunday for morning tea or lunch in the workshop. Today was morning tea. They look forward to getting their dad back on the weekends, but for now the work needs to be done, and my partner Savanna makes sure they have a fun-filled and busy schedule.”
PATRICK HOLCOMBE of DOUGLAS FIR DESIGNDavid Holcombe, Pat’s dad
“I grew up in a huge rustic house in Kinglake, which my father built from scratch. He started it long before I was born and kept going on it long after I was born. It was made entirely from mud bricks and recycled oregon from an old school that had been demolished. My dad wasn’t a builder by trade. He was an English teacher, but he could create beautiful things from timber, and he passed those skills down to me. He had a big woodworking workshop where he built most of the furniture. He used to make birthday presents for my siblings and I out of wood instead of buying stuff. So, I would always be out there helping him.”
JACK AULD of AULD DESIGNAudrey, 5, and Charlie, 3
“We started the business five years ago when my wife went back to work after having our first child. I quit my job, played daddy day care for most of the week, and made furniture out of a home workshop. Staying home with Audrey was one of the best things I have ever done. It not only made me a better father, but probably made me a better husband too.” These days, Jack is able to work flexible hours to do his fair share of shuttling the kids between kinder, childcare, swimming lessons, soccer and playdates. “I consider myself to be very lucky. I am able to do a job that I love and be around for my kids. What more can you ask for?”
JULIAN MCCARTNEY of GLENCROSS WOODWORKSCharles Glencross, great-great-grandfather
“The closest family member I have to be a direct link to my trade is my great-great-grandfather, Charles Glencross. He was a carriage builder in the late 1800’s and the origin of my middle name and business name – Glencross. I’ve got a few small hand tools that belonged to my mum’s dad, and we think they may have belonged to my great-great-grandfather. When I was a kid I used to think the name ‘Glencross’ was dorky, but I’ve grown a deep sense of pride for it as I’ve discovered more of our family history.”
NICK COYLE of WILDERCOYLELyla, 8
“Our daughter is currently working on a range of furniture for her Sylvanian Families collection: cute bunnies that live in an idyllic world if you don’t have 8 year olds around. One of the the great things about our current workshop is that is walking distance from our daughter’s primary school. Lyla loves to come and help me out with whatever job is in progress! It’s great that she can be there and get an understanding of what I do all day.”
“I love having the kids come in to visit and I’m fairly sure they love it too. They usually ask if there are any jobs they can help me with and come up with their own ideas for designs. My son’s doing woodwork at school this year, so I’m rapt about that. I spent a lot of time as a kid in workshops with my dad, too. He made light shades from resin – I still love the smell!” – Oliver Maclatchy, Wood Melbourne
LUKE COLLINS of BOMBORA CUSTOM FURNITUREEmma, 3 ½, and Zeke, 2
“Being a furniture maker gives my day-to-day work a great sense of fulfilment in being able to create things that people are stoked about. I have prioritised flexibility to enable a quality lifestyle for my family. This means starting the day later if I’m needed to do the childcare drop-off or getting home early to take the kids to the beach. I am very fortunate to have found such amazing staff who enable me to spend plenty of quality time with my little grommets.”
Handkrafted is a community marketplace connecting people with passionate makers to commission custom goods. We have brought together hundreds of Australian independent, bespoke craftspeople and artisans who specialise in producing high quality, sustainably made pieces.
Our makers can help you realise your own idea or collaborate with you on a new design. Many also feature a range of original designs that can be made to order or customised to suit your specific needs. Whichever option you choose, we’re here to help make it happen. Support local makers and kick-start your own project today.