A growing need for more space, and the desire to connect more with the local community saw furniture maker Christopher Scott pack up his lathe and saws and make the move to a new woodworking space in Longwarry.
On a bright morning, Christopher welcomes me in to his new Longwarry digs; a large shed that was once solely used to construct horse floats and has since been tidied up and transformed into a purpose built woodworking space. “Ultimately we got to the point where we outgrew the space we had at home in Drouin. It was tiny, and as the business has grown we needed the space to keep up with demand,” Christopher explained.
As he leads me around the studio and into the recently renovated office space, Christopher’s passion for the skill and craft of woodworking is evident. Pointing out a piece of timber that he has worked on and varnished, he enthusiastically gets me to touch it and hold it, to feel the wood and the smoothness of the grain beneath my fingers, before rushing to show me a beautiful piece of Fiddleback timber he salvaged. In his element creating furniture using traditional methods of craftsmanship, Christopher is eager to share his gift with the community, and is in the process of establishing woodworking classes in the Longwarry space. “Unfortunately a lot of hand skills have been lost, and we’re looking to make this space a bit of a community hub.” Christopher also explained that he wishes to also expand the studio space to include a retail area, where customers can purchase pre-made furniture, as well as discuss and assist in designing their own unique piece.
The Longwarry studio is light and spacious, with slabs of natural light pouring in through the cleaned windows and the smell of saw dust mixing with the oils and glues lining the work benches. “Moving out to Longwarry has also given us the opportunity to take the business in a new direction; we’d actually like to start running working classes and workshops here. We’ve found that there are plenty of people who are interested in woodworking, but have no experience or outlet to learn.” Christopher’s dream of creating a space where both the locals and visitors to the Gippsland region can roll up their sleeves and get involved in the hands on practice of woodworking and furniture making, is well under way, with the front of the studio space having been transformed into a beautiful office area with dark, timber lined walls, and plenty of room in the workshop for both classes to be run, and for his larger, custom pieces to be constructed. “It’s wonderful having all this space now,” Christopher said. “Before we moved, the shed I worked in was no bigger than the tiniest corner of this room, and now I’ve got so much more space to work with!”