David Mac Laren

David MacLaren began woodworking in 1973 at a Manhattan gallery called ‘Impressions in Wood’.

He moved to a larger space to design and make domestic furniture, kitchens and architectural fit-outs to client briefs while designing and making small items for craft fairs.

He first left the US to study literature at the ANU in 1963 and in1979 with a desire to create “a place for woodworkers to display their works, where diversity is encouraged and fine craftsmanship essential,” MacLaren approached eight makers to produce a piece from his American Black Walnut, opening his visionary Bungendore Wood Works Gallery with an exhibition of the maker’s works in 1983.

MacLaren, together with George Ingham and David Upfill-Brown had a profound affect on the development of woodworking in the region forming a philosophical and working relationship that gave rise to an authentic wood arts and crafts community in Canberra. He was guest lecturer at the Canberra School of Art in 1999.

A 1999 fire claimed his workshop, tools, timber and work in progress. Instead of rebuilding he spent time developing relationships with makers around the country, encouraging them by freely giving his designs and asking them to send him finely crafted pieces that he would display and sell in his new specific purpose Gallery that opened in 1994. Small products became the Gallery’s mainstay providing 10% of the Gallery’s sales.

In 2003 another workshop emerged, and a more limited and considered continuance of his journey began, giving rise to new designs and innovative, experimental prototype works while continuing to develop tourism based small products with wood turner Jim Homann.

MacLaren sees craft as a way of life that compliments the tourist ethos. His internationally renowned tourism award winning Gallery offers a genuine Australian arts and craft experience. David MacLaren’s story parallels the development of fine wood working in Australia over the past thirty years. 

Breakfast Table

After a client commissioned a breakfast table on castors based on the design of our display tables we decided to make two smaller versions.

One table is made in ebonized Jarrah, with facets planed back to reveal the red of the Jarrah. The other table is made from European Beach. Both tables have options for a shelf that can be placed just under the top to allow for stools, or lower down for utility storage.

1200w x 460d x 900h mm
Shelf height 200mm or 810mm

Breakfast Table

Charming breakfast table.

There is no bottom shelf so there is room to store stools underneath the table. And casters for easy maneuverability so that the table can be rolled away when needed for other purposes.

210w x 46d cm

Table with Boots

If tables have legs, then why not complete them with boots? The “Table with Boots” Wall Table by Gallery Artistic Director David Mac Laren provides a welcome break from the austerity of contemporary design with a sense of true whimsy and play.

A table has a shelf with a slim opening to house an amplifier or similar components.

Blackwood legs and tabletop and shelf, Red Coolibah boots. Lacquer finish.

Photography: Rob Little


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