SIDE TABLES

KEVIN PERKINS, SIDE TABLES (SET OF 2), 1991

HUON PINE (BOOK-MATCHED WANY EDGED SLABS), EUCALYPT
1000(H) x 400-600(W) x 7250(L) mm

THE WORK

The Side Tables are a pair of tables designed as an ‘architectural’ statement to be housed in a foyer. They are intended to be displayed end to end, with the smaller ends meeting.

The tables use traditional joinery methods featuring a continuous, bowed beam running the entire length of the bench. The beam is slotted through each end and is fastened with a subtle brass plate. The soft, silky appearance of the piece has been achieved through the application of Seedlac, finishing oil and wax.

Gary Bester, who was employed full-time by Perkins as a cabinet-maker, assisted Perkins in the making of the Side Table.

THE MAKER

Widely regarded as one of Australia’s pre-eminent wood designers Perkins is represented in many National Collections. He has received numerous national awards since the mid 1970s and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Commissions received by Perkins include furniture for the Prime Minister’s suite at Parliament House, Canberra and for St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta, NSW.

Perkins trained in carpentry, industrial arts and sculpture. He lectured at the University of Tasmania, School of Art in Hobart for 25 years. Perkins retired from teaching in 2006 to focus on his own furniture production and now concentrates on whittling and sculptural pieces.

Perkins takes inspiration in conservation issues and a sense of place elicited by the history, traditions, forests and wildlife of his home state. He is passionate about demonstrating the rich diversity of Tasmanian timbers – in contrast to bland plantation timbers - and continues to highlight the natural beauty of these materials through the strong sculptural forms of his work. For him the greatest success will be when Tasmania’s forest resources are permanently accorded their real value.

“There was a German philosopher who had this wonderful thought. That if we are felling a tree, we use that tree to make something in a sensible way so that the item lasts for as long as it takes for the tree to replace itself. So in the case of Huon Pine, you would have to make and design for 1000 years. Otherwise you're not doing it justice. … I'm for the old growth, where you do things for the long term and do things of quality.”

Born: 1945, Launceston, Tasmania

Training: Joinery Apprenticeship, 1965; Sculpture and Industrial Arts Teaching Diploma, School of Art Hobart, 1969

Represented: Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston.