VWA’s History by Hamish Hill
GNAWING AWAY AT THE PAST
Any spare moments in recent weeks have been spent sorting and organizing 15 or so file boxes of VWA files, folders, catalogues and loose pages of VWA records and memorabilia. I am getting close to having everything organized chronologically which should assist with sorting out the good the bad and the ugly bits of the VWAs’ past.
My interest has been piqued in what was happening to the Craft movement in the 1970s when many organisations and establishments began life, such as The Victorian Craft Council (now Craft Victoria), and the Meat Market Craft Centre, as well as new programs for teachers allowing specialization in specific Arts and Crafts, and increased interest and courses for craftspeople in several educational institutions. I intend to write more on this for future VWA newsletters.
The first AGM I attended in 1988 saw the VWA in a state of confusion with few people willing to take on any of the leadership tasks required, but a strong consensus that the organization must not die. After a painful exercise in tooth pulling and some convulsions a new president was elected, that was Arthur Snowden. As I recall he was a Scot who had been in the Navy and had been a prosthetic limb maker. Both David Hall and I joined that committee and I suspect we are the only ones, from then, who are still involved.
My involvement on the committee introduced me to a wide assortment of interesting and interested fellow woodworkers. Some of those on the committee were full time professional woodworkers such as Neville Selleck and some were retirees willing to put in time and effort to benefit the organization. All shared a love of and enthusiasm for working with wood.
During the 1980s and the 90s and well into the 21st Century the VWA held at least one exhibition for members a year as well as other specialized exhibitions at various notable venues around Melbourne. We also ran a Festival of Woodwork over one weekend of the exhibition, with the involvement of the majority of woodworking clubs from around Victoria and large numbers of interested visitors.
Finally I need your assistance with any early memories or thoughts on the VWA as well as early catalogues of the earliest exhibitions. So please do get in touch.
Phone: 0428 577 878