As the planets align for Wood Dust Designer Maker, I cast my mind back to our inaugural Wood Dust festival held last October in Southern NSW. We were coming up out of the ground for this one, so the preparation was intense. Unfolding over a period of about eight months, every process, detail and possible scenario had to be identified, considered and a solution created. Administration systems had to be built, sub-contractors identified, marketing materials designed, and accommodation chosen, everything was from scratch – we had no template. Then of course there is money – how will we pay for all of this, will enough people come, what is a fair price for ten porta-loos? And then, most importantly, there were our customers to consider, our vendors, exhibitors and international guests, every single one requiring personal attention, their expectations must be met by Wood Dust fulfilling our promise.

“Wood Dust 2018 was an authentic physical, intellectual and emotional experience”

Michael Fortune, Matt Kenney and Bern Chandley at Yarns at The Q
Andy Buck's 3-day Masterclass

Wood Dust 2018: Michael Fortune, Matt Kenney and Bern Chandley at Yarns at The Q; Andy Buck’s 3-day Masterclass

Thus, creating Wood Dust was a stressful experience filled with sleepless nights, disagreements and compromise, endless long phone conversations, people wanting in and people pulling out, and so on it went. Six months turned into two months overnight, and then the opening day was only a matter of weeks. In the end like a tsunami, Wood Dust appeared on the horizon as a ripple and then proceeded to wash over us continuing headlong inland leaving us all bobbing about in its wake. However, Wood Dust was an intensely rewarding experience for participants and organisers alike.

The Wood Dust Masterclasses, led by our two international woodworking masters Michael Fortune and Andy Buck, were a huge success with participants savouring the opportunity to work and learn alongside their mates from genuine woodworking legends. The Yarns at the Q program led by Kerryn Carter provided participants with a unique and intimate experience. Kerryn ‘s unorthodox interview program drew out the subjective drivers of our special guests, providing the audience with a deeper understanding of what motivates these people to do what they do. And then there was the Timber & Tool Marketplace with our internationals including Thomas Lie Nielsen, Vic Tesolin and the legendary Wally Wilson, giving Australian woodworkers the rare opportunity to meet the people behind the tools they use. The axe throwing tournament was pretty cool with Andy Buck triumphing as absolute champion after fighting off some very determined competitors. But just when everything was going great with the band in full swing and the beer starting to flow, an electrical storm—the largest the region had seen in months—rolled in and dumped three inches of rain on the Wood Dust site in about twenty minutes. Note to self: next time hold your event inside.

Vic Tesolin at Yarns at The Q

Kerryn Carter interviewing Vic Tesolin at Yarns at The Q, Wood Dust 2018

Probably the most interesting thing that happened at Wood Dust was the sense of community that was forged. Since the festival I have contemplated this, trying to understand what forces drove this outcome. Was it the learning opportunities? Being able to come to a wood show and have a genuine learning experience alongside other passionate woodworkers would no doubt build community. Maybe it was the shared personal experiences that the audience encountered at the Yarns? – I’m sure that played a role too, after-all, story-telling is at the heart of all communities. Or maybe it was all of us huddling together under those old sheds as the storm raged on, praying that the big marquee didn’t blow away. There is nothing like genuine fear to help bring people together! Personally, I believe it was the combined experience that gave participants at Wood Dust the most value and what created that sense of community. Wood Dust 2018 was an authentic physical, intellectual and emotional experience designed to stimulate all the woodworker’s senses, and through the diversity of these experiences, friendships were forged, networks created, and a new type of woodworking experience emerged.

Thank you to all that helped make Wood Dust 2018 possible.

Wood Dust Designer Maker

Held over four days in August, at Melbourne’s newest makerspace FAB9 in Footscray, Wood Dust Designer Maker explores the art of design for woodworking and the processes of fine craftsmanship to realise the designs intent. Wood Dust Designer Maker offers a full suite of Masterclasses with leading designer makers including David Haig from New Zealand, Reed Hansuld from Brooklyn New York, Vic Tesolin from Canada, Carol Russell and Ross Annels from Queensland and Melbourne’s own Bern Chandley.

Wood Dust also offers our new event, the Weekend at Wood Dust Makers Conference featuring Matt Kenney, Alastair Boell and Adam Markowitz. Adjacent to all the action is the Wood Dust Timber & Tool Marketplace with all your favourite retailers.

Come to Wood Dust Designer Maker and join our woodworking community.
Plan your Wood Dust Designer Maker experience—tickets on sale now!
For any enquires please contact us at
Wood Dust Designer Maker
August 8th – 11th 2019
90 Maribyrnong St
Footscray, Melbourne VIC

Fine Woodworking is a proud sponsor and media partner of Wood Dust Designer Maker 2019. For more than 40 years Fine Woodworking has been teaching, inspiring, and connecting with a passionate audience of woodworkers.