Stepping away from traditional woodworking in school, which usually consist of "four legs and a rail on top", Bega High School's relieving head teacher for TAS (Technological and Applied Sciences) and Art, Matt Collins said students are learning to think outside the box when it comes to designing and creating HSC major works.
"We're encouraging the kids to think beyond the realm of working things at 90 degrees, encouraging kids to work at angles and work with curves," Mr Collins said.
Inside a hall at Bega High School on November 14, ex-year 12 students, their peers and family were awestruck by the sheer quality of woodworking and wood turning skills on display supported by teacher Jamie Carrett, and equally mesmerised by the stories captured by students who had produced art portfolios with lino prints, paint and sculpture, supported by teacher Chris Blewett.
Year 12 graduate and musician Finn Bajaro picked up a beautiful bodied 14-fret Florentine guitar he built over nine months.
It consisted of sapele sides, mahogany neck, spruce front and black heart sassafras binding, with the 18-year-old having a strum in front of those who attended the exhibition, a smile on his face.
"It was definitely very fun to make, [and] I love music, and I play guitar, so I just thought it would be nice to have an acoustic guitar that I could make," Finn said.
Finn said he will take a gap year before studying at the University of Wollongong with dreams of becoming a music teacher.
Dimitri Savoulidis went from building a toolbox to creating a gorgeous and curvaceous rocking chair, Indi Cook created a parquetry sideboard with tambour doors which she described as a pile of wood until the final weeks of assembly, and artist Emily Leahy made a lino print collage reflecting the powerful emotions of grief since losing her dad, Micah, mere months ago.
Two students, Neisha O'Donnell and Indi Cook, from Bega High School were nominated for SHAPE, an exhibition featuring a selection of students' exemplary 2023 HSC major projects from Design and Technology, Industrial Technology and Textiles and Design, which Mr Collins said was a brilliant result.
Neisha had since been shortlisted, and the school was awaiting the results to see if her Major Work was selected for the exhibition held at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct in Sydney in 2024.
"Just to be shortlisted it demonstrates that her work and I guess her project and portfolio, and everything is among some of the best projects in New South Wales, it's a great accolade," Mr Collins said.
Built out of a desire to experiment with curves because timber was "so linear", Neisha said it was really challenging to bring back a natural curve through her Scandinavian-designed piece, and said no steam-bending of wood was used, even though the design showcased a unique and curved finish.
"None of it was bent, it was all cut in sections so you can keep your vertical grain structure," she said, and shared how she enjoyed not only the physical side to producing the tangible coffee table, but the design elements involved.
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