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DESIGN TASMANIA WOOD COLLECTION

The Design Tasmania Wood Collection is a continuously-evolving collection of contemporary Tasmanian wood design. It is the only museum collection of its type in Australia.

ross straker desk in design tasmania wood collectionSCOPE OF THE COLLECTION

The Collection's scope is deliberately narrow. It represents only those pieces of contemporary wood design made in Tasmania by designers who live and work in Tasmania.

WHY TASMANIA?

The decision to focus a Collection of this type within state boundaries is far from arbitrary. Tasmania has a variety and quality of indigenous timbers unequalled in Australia and the world. Huon pine, king billy pine, celery top pine, sassafras and myrtle are just a few of the special species native to the island and unavailable elsewhere.

As a consequence, Tasmania has become a magnet for designers interested in working with wood. The concentration of craft and design practitioners (as opposed to artists practising in other media) is higher in Tasmania than elsewhere in Australia.

Image - Writing Desk by Ross Straker 1991. © Design Tasmania Wood Collection. Peter Whyte Photography.

HOW OLD IS IT?

The Museum was established in 1991 as a not-for-profit organisation administered by a voluntary Board of Directors.

WHAT IS ITS MISSION?

Its aim is to sustain the wood design industry in Tasmania, to further the cause of Tasmanian identity, to create an identity for Tasmania as a place of excellence in the world, and to inspire the world community with the potency of design.

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Image - Living Set by Chalit (Num) Kongsuwan 2010. © Design Tasmania Wood Collection. Peter Whyte Photography.

HISTORY OF THE DESIGN TASMANIA WOOD COLLECTION

In the late 1980s Gary Cleveland worked with Andy Skuja, then Commissioner for Forests in Tasmania, to develop a new and exciting idea: the Tasmanian Wood Design Collection which was the first Australian museum collection of contemporary wood design. Many other people were involved in the development of the proposal over several years.

Finally, in 1991, the Tasmanian Wood Design Collection was formed as an independent not-for-profit organisation with Andy Skuja as its inaugural Chairman. A series of open-entry Biennial exhibitions of wood design were held and all Tasmanian designers and crafts practitioners working with timber were encouraged to enter. A panel of judges selected the best pieces to acquire for the new Museum.

The Tasmanian Wood Design Collection was housed for several years in Macquarie House, a historic building located adjacent to Launceston’s City Council Chambers. On the completion of building works in early 2002, the collection moved to its current location in the Design Tasmania complex on Tamar Street, Launceston and in early 2013 was renamed the Design Tasmania Wood collection.

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