And what a beginning it was. The first piece that meets your eyes in the gallery is this dining table and chair set, made from blackwood. From the gallery's website:
A wonderful young lady named Tess showed me around the gallery, and in the following video she explains that the gallery has held several national prize-winning pieces of furniture-art including the table. A bonus of the video here is that as I scan the table top, you get a sense of how deep and rich the blackwood figuring and color really is. Tess speaks softly and the audio could be better, but it will give you a sense of being in Australia. Tess even points out a chair covered in kangaroo fur that was inspired by the "Ned Kelly helmet"; at the time, I had no idea of what she was referring to, but as I mentioned in the last post, Ned and the other bush rangers were a frequent topic of conversation in the parts of New South Wales I visited.
Another piece in blackwood in the gallery was a wonderful display case. To give you an idea of the rarity of blackwood, you can purchase it for $15 - $20 per board foot in standard pack...and these artists obviously had their pick in selecting their pieces. Both the dining set and the cabinet are priced above $50,000.
Now you might be wondering what kind of magnificent tree must produce this great wood. Well, surprise...blackwood is a member of the acacia family, and is commonly called back wattle by the country folk, and it is quite unassuming. By chance, one of my later stops had a blackwood tree out front, and I snapped these pictures...
Another species that really caught my attention was Jarrah. Again from the gallery's website:
This tallboy cabinet was made from jarrah...
... as was a stunning stairway in the gallery, shown in the following video. Tess tells us a little about the stairway, makes fun of my Texylvanian pronunciation of jarrah, and then points out the beautiful floor in the gallery, made of Tasmanian oak...which is not really oak at all, but another species of eucalyptus. I discovered later in my visits to the sawmills that there are over 700 species of eucalyptus in Australia.
Well, this post has gone quite long, and I've only covered two of the 50 or so wood species I photographed, so I'll quit here and try to get all the "best of the rest" in the next post.