The life of a wine barrel is fleeting. After several years of imparting subtle tones of oak into the wine encased within, it is then rendered useless – crimson-stained innards the only reminder of its working lives.
Chris Thorndike spent years working in wineries and observing this turnover, before deciding to give these old barrels new life in a new form.
After disassembling his first wooden barrel, Thorndike reassembled the staves, rings and barrel tops into an elegant and modern coffee table. This was the beginning of “Woodman Designs”.
Thorndike’s Woodman Designs is now a flourishing sustainable furniture company, creating unique pieces from recycled materials. Even his workspace is recycled: he works from a second-hand shipping container stocked with hand-me-down tools. Here he turns a range of materials – old barrels, construction offcuts, driftwood – into furniture and homewares.
The designer thrives on the notion of “re-creating the old”, showing people that “the things they throw out can be transformed into something new and relevant”. Wine barrels become trendy esky tables, floorboards are turned into board-games and scrap hardwood becomes a beautiful outdoor setting.
This Sunday (February 23) from 4pm, he is holding an exhibition and live auction at Tenth and Gibson in Bowden, where visitors will be able to view and bid for one-off pieces, including wooden hammocks, bar stools, coffee tables, wooden skateboards and even a giant Jenga game.
The event will also include wine from WayWood Wines live music by local acts Despair and Street Sweeper.
Tenth and Gibson is located at 87 Gibson St, Bowden, Adelaide and this is a free event for all ages.
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