Home Art Local Chittering artist carves a place in history

Local Chittering artist carves a place in history


A set of works with an unusual background will feature at Chittering Estate Studio over the weekend of 14 and 15 October. Local artist Bob Mackie
will exhibit his unique timber sculptures carved from the remains of a very special Lemon Scented Gum tree which stood outside Parliament house for 60 years. Bob, who hails from a family of carpenters, has always enjoyed working with wood as a hobby. However, after retiring from his career as an aircraft engineer he has returned to his roots and pursued his passion for wood full time. He says the timbers he uses for his artwork
always have their own history: “Whether they are arid timbers of fallen trees in the semi desert regions of Western Australia with their dense beautiful grain structure and colours or timbers from demolished period buildings, whose aged beauty has been hidden for decades.”

He enjoys giving these timbers a new life, as an object d’art or as a finely crafted practical piece – such as the beautifully turned salt and pepper shakers which are popular at the Fremantle Gallery and The Artisan Store, who stock his work. Always on the lookout for new timbers to work with, Bob was thrilled when he managed to source a slab of timber from a majestic gum tree which was felled – amongst great controversy – outside
Parliament House on 25 January 2008. The tree was removed after one falling branch injured a journalist and another fell onto then opposition member Mark McGowan’s car – crushing it.

The Lemon Scented Gum, (Corymbia citriodora) is a fast-growing tree with a smooth straight trunk and the leaves have a strong aroma of citrus, or in fact citronella, for which the tree is used in production. However they are prone to dropping branches at random, even when they’re healthy, which has earned them the ominous nickname of ‘Widow Makers’.

Timber from the gum felled at Parliament house was milled into slabs and stacked for seasoning before coming into Bob’s possession and being transformed into the striking pieces of work which will be available for sale at the exhibition. Artist and Chittering Estate Studio curator Sharon Phelps (Shabbi) is proud to be able to exhibit Bob’s work and support creative growth in the region. Shabbi’s latest barrel fired pottery works
and paintings will be on display alongside Bob’s work over the weekend.

Chittering Estate Studio will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October. On Saturday the Blue Cow coffee van will be onsite to offer coffee and light meals to and on Sunday food van Hit & Run will do the same. The Chittering Estate Studio is at 1399 Keating Road, Lower Chittering, off the Chittering Valley Road, and is a lovely setting on the lake for a picnic. Contact Shabbi on 0487 218 922 for more information and like @Chittering Estate Studio on facebook to keep in touch.