Bungendore Wood Works Gallery Founder and Artistic Director David Mac Laren received a much un-anticipated letter recently informing him that he has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Honorary division within the Australian honours system.
The Governor General approved the bestowing of the award and the announcement in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List on 26th January "For service to the art of woodwork and to the community of Bungendore."
David will receive his award from the Governor General, His Excellency, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), at an investiture ceremony at Government House within the next few months.
David, in his reply, said that he was "so very overwhelmed by this news considering there are so many people doing so many good things in their lives for others" and was "so pleased that this award is also an important acknowledgement of our craftspeople and artists."
For those who know him and of his amazing efforts guiding the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery into its 35th year of operation, this award would come as no surprise. He and the Gallery, its Makers, Artists and staff continue to uphold David's vision of "a place for woodworkers to display their works, where diversity is encouraged and fine craftsmanship is essential,"
David Mac Laren explains:
"We have continued now for almost 35 years solely through those who support the gallery with their patronage. Approximately 10,000 people every year have purchased handmade woodwork and art since we moved to our new gallery in 1994."
"Our patrons believe enough in Australian design, Australian making and mainly Australian timbers to purchase distinctive gifts, fine furniture and skilled fine art. A nice touch for Australia Day.
When I started out, I intuitively believed Australian Wood Working was important, so that I and all fine furniture makers needed a place to display our work. I could not have done this on my own. I knew that a collective enterprise was much more important than just my own furniture making."
My background in theatre in New York City in the early 70's as an aspiring playwright was the reason I viewed a gallery as theatre.
I am rather shy, and I prefer not to be on stage, but I like to orchestrate space and events. I take pleasure in making something good, engaging, theatrical, with lights, and display, and openings, and concerts - it all gave me immense pleasure to promote other artists and their works. I like to say 'let good things happen'.
I take nothing for granted in this increasingly complex commercial world. So the Wood Works theatrical show will continue as long as we at the gallery believe in ourselves, as long as our actor-makers continue to perform their fine craftsmanship, and of course as long as we have our patron audience."
Service to the Bungendore Community.
Nearly 30 years ago I was invited to participate in establishing the Bungendore Chamber of Commerce. It was through the example of others that I emulated their civic enterprise, and as time went on I took on leadership roles as well.
When I was invited to join the town planning committee, the Bungendore Town Center and Environs Committee by the newly formed Palerang Council, I became fascinated with town planning as another form of good design.
And when Richard Gibson inaugurated the Bungendore chapter of the Greater Good, the Bungendore Community Foundation, and asked me to join as a founding member I was honored, and arranged fundraising events through the Gallery to aid in building a fund to assist people and groups with their needs every year.
As a designer maker in wood I see all these endeavors as ways of expressing the craftsman's values of deeply considered and diligent workmanship.
Mr David Stewart Mac Laren, Bungendore NSW
For service to the art of woodwork, and to the community of Bungendore. Service includes:
Founder and Artistic Director, Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, since 1983; Recipient of a range of National, State and Territory tourism awards.
Studio Woodworkers Australia: Foundation Director, 2011.
Founding Member, current.
Steering Committee Member, 2008-2011.
Bungendore Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
President, 1994-1999, and 2007-2010.
Former Executive Committee Member.
Representative, Bungendore Town Centre and Environs s.355 Committee, Queanbeyan- Palerang Regional Council, since 2008.
Member, Bungendore Interest Group.
Founding Member, Bungendore Community Foundation, 2005; Life member.
For inquiries and further information:
Bungendore Wood Works Gallery
02 6238 1682