Isabel Avendano Hazbun
Isabel is a designer maker producing works in timber and fibre. In her own practice, driven by experimentation, she is interested in intersecting these two mediums in new and stimulating ways resulting in 3D objects that may or may not have a practical function.
At the School of Woodcraft, Isabel not only wants to help her students to design and make a piece of furniture from start to finish but also to grasp the idiosyncrasies of working with timber. And through this process and experience of making, instill the value and worth of the hand-made object.isabel-avendano-hazbun.com
Alex’s journey in the furniture trade began over three decades ago, from industry through to design and branching out into teaching. The first step of his journey was a five-year apprenticeship as a wood machinist and then cabinetmaker before setting off as a journeyman for five years and obtaining the title of master craftsman.
The next stage was a four-year degree where he obtained a BA Hon in Furniture Design and Manufacture at Leicester Polytechnic, UK. After many years of designing furniture and interiors for corporate clients, he moved into teaching, and is currently teaching at RMIT school of Design (Furniture) and the Victorian Woodworkers Association School of Woodcraft.
Throughout this journey, his learning curve has not diminished, with the ever-expanding possibilities of new technologies and materials. Students of today tread the line between their unbound enthusiasm and the carbon footprints they leave behind. With Alex’s guidance, many of his students have gone on to win awards and start their own journeys, with light footsteps.
For nearly 30 years Bruce has been making fine furniture, teaching furniture making and working in the specialist timber industry. Initially trained as a teacher, he majored in furniture design at The University of Melbourne before setting up a small business designing and making bespoke furniture, founding a co-operative arts studio in Brunswick for workspace. He has lectured in education at The University of Melbourne and also teaches part time in furniture design at RMIT. Bruce says ’A love of Australian timbers and the thrill of watching novice woodworkers gain skills and be proud of their finished work is at the core of my passion for teaching.’
Lionel began his Cabinet Making apprenticeship in Nancy, France, at the age of sixteen. The first few years of this 10 year course were dedicated to unique handwork skills. After three years as an apprentice and as a part of the course structure, Lionel then travelled to various towns and workshops, and over a period of eight years, he learned a diverse range of woodworking techniques and specialities.
In 2008 Lionel was awarded his ‘Masters in Cabinet Making’ in Reims, France. He then undertook a teaching role at his school for 2 years where he taught 16 apprentices in order to achieve their first Cabinet Making Diploma.
Lionel is passionate about transferring his knowledge of traditional French woodworking and marquetry techniques, and also believes that in this fast world of production it is sometimes important to stop and take the time to use, share and enjoy these old-style techniques when working with such a pure and fine material such as timber.
Tom is a life-long woodworker who has worked as a teacher for 25 years. He is a passionate communicator and educator, who takes pride in his ability to explain wood theory and construction techniques to students, from beginner to advanced levels. Tom is also an independent maker of commissioned wooden furniture.
Teaching at the Victorian School of Woodcraft has been a highlight of Tom’s week for over ten years. He enjoys working with students to problem solve in order to help realise their vision. Tom relishes the opportunity to guide students in the design and construction of their projects, from the smallest chopping board, technical chairs, to the largest table or sideboard.
Tom also teaches a range of practical, mixed medium design and technology subjects at a secondary school, recently building a strip canoe, a marionette puppet theatre with light rig and a coffee cart with his teenage students.
Alexsandra Pontonio is an award-winning Naarm/Melbourne-based furniture maker and designer. She creates bespoke pieces that are contemporary in design with a sensitivity to traditional woodcraft. Working predominately with wood, her practice is underpinned by a deep respect for material; she seeks to work with timbers’ intrinsic material tactility.
Pontonio graduated with an Associate Degree in Design (Furniture) from RMIT University in 2015 after which she was the recipient of the Future Leader’s prize in Craft Victoria’s 2016 Fresh! exhibition, the VIVID Design Award, and the Tait Award for Design Innovation at Fringe Furniture. Other exhibitions include David Clark’s ‘At Home -Modern Australian Design’, Government House, Sydney, and the Salone Satellite, Milan.alexsandrapontonio.com