About Hamish Hill

Hamish’s works are held in collections in Australia, England, Norway and the U.S.A. He has exhibited in many group and juried shows at The RMIT Gallery, Craft Victorias’ Gallery, The Exhibition Buildings, Eltham Wiregrass Gallery, Detail Contemporary Furniture Gallery, Qdos Gallery, Doncaster/Manningham Gallery, Wunderlich Gallery and the Meat Market Craft Centre/Metro!

His work is based on a philosophy of simplicity and integrity of form and structure. Many of his pieces incorporate different woods, often accenting particular aspects of the design with a different colour of timber. Having a keen interest in the individual characteristics and unique beauty of each piece of timber, Hamish cuts and dries most of the timber he uses himself. The timber takes a minimum of two years to dry and then requires extensive machining. He obtains all of his timber from unwanted suburban trees and is always on the lookout for appropriate trees that have been cut down.

For the past forty years Hamish has been working with timber, designing and making furniture and buildings. He has worked collaboratively with artists on a number of sculpture projects and has been involved in community arts activities and festivals, working with adults and children in Dandenong, Knox, Warburton, Williamstown and Doncaster and Templestowe.

He has been employed for over twenty years at Melbourne University’s Department of Architecture and Building, teaching woodwork, other aspects of building construction and fine furniture design and making. Hamish has been a President to the Council of Victorian Woodwork Clubs and has been President of the Victorian Woodworkers Association and, as an honorary life member, he retains a continuing interest and involvement in their activities. He has also written occasional articles for woodworking magazines.

Hamish retains a strong interest and involvement in all aspects of design and construction, particularly in timber, and health and safety issues in these areas.

Skills and abilities

Hamish has extensive skills developed over 40 years of working and teaching in the furniture and building industries.

+ Woodworking

Primarily Hamish is a woodworker with many years experience both designing and making solid timber furniture. Initially Hamish worked purely with hand tools making simple solid pine and hardwood furniture. After several years travelling and mixing with similarly obsessed individuals and a brief stint at the London College of Furniture Hamish honed his skills and abilities.

During the 1980s and 90s Hamish owned and operated his own chainsaw mill and converted many lovely trees, that were removed from the urban forest, into beautiful pieces of timber ideal for furniture making. He still has a store of handsome slabs of timber reserved for future commissions.

+ Public Arts Events and Creations

Hamish has produced a number of commissions and public art works for local authorities as well as coordinating several events and Exhibitions. From work at an inner city London Farm to the Fairy Door for The City of Knox he has demonstrated his skills, involved the public, young and old, and created many public works.

+ Teaching and Instructing

More than twenty years running a workshop in the Architecture Faculty at The University of Melbourne saw Hamish teaching and assisting students as well as running a busy workshop and creating his own private works. The students under Hamish’s guidance were involved in projects such as small architectural or furniture models to large full size buildings and shelters including elaborate Asian gateways. During this time he also enjoyed several building design and construction projects on his own buildings.

+ Building Design and Construction

Hamish has followed his own path in the building industry from making kitchen cupboards and the like to rebuilding and redesigning houses and extensions, building to others designs as well as designing and building a whole house from scratch.

His preference has always been working with timber framing and traditional building methods, but Hamish is not averse to experimenting with concrete stone and other interesting materials.

Testimonials

Hamish and I have worked since 2007 on a series of construction and research projects that have included partnerships with Indigenous people and university students working together in Darwin. His problem solving skills are ‘top notch’ and he uses these to create imaginative built solutions that look great and, very importantly, work well. The clients and I have appreciated that he is easy to work with, listens to our needs and then gets the job done as promised.

– Dr David O’Brien, University of Melbourne.

I have known Hamish for many years in which time he has operated his own hand crafted furniture business in Hawthorn, worked for me building a two storey extension to my home, helped me renovate another property and sold me creative well designed and made furniture. I have attended numerous exhibitions of his work, known him when revitalising the Victorian Woodworkers Association and visited his studio in the Architecture Faculty at Melbourne University where he has worked for over 20 years.

Hamish is truly unique in any creative activity he works on, whether that be a small commissioned piece of furniture or the building/renovating of an entire house. His work is well beyond the ordinary challenging both himself and his customers with his imagination and attention to detail.

As a craftsman and builder he is outstanding and I would recommend him to others without reservation.

– Andrew Ferguson

Accolades & Acknowledgements

  • Victorian Woodworkers Association annual exhibitions at Meatmarket Craft Centre and Manningham Art Gallery since mid 1980s.
  • Warburton Winterfest for first several years early 1990s.
  • Trees/Ladders, with John Ryrie and Alex Selenitsch, Detail Contemporary Design, North Melbourne, Victoria 1997.
  • Goodbye Kind World, Storey Hall at R.M.I.T. Victoria. 1999.
  • Second Wind, Craft Victoria Gallery, Melbourne Victoria 2000.
  • Overyears, with David Pringle, Gardiner Art Gallery, Auburn Victoria. 2005.
  • Doozy Wooden Hangers, with David Pringle, Intrude Art Gallery, Malvern, Victoria. 2006.
  • Secrets, a solo exhibition held at Craft Victoria in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, showcasing works designed and constructed utilising materials salvaged from the rebuilding of the Melbourne Town Hall Organ 2007.
  • Wood+Cardboard, a joint exhibition with Alex Selenitsch, Wunderlich Gallery, Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne. 2010
Collaborations
  • Trees/Ladders, with Alex Selenitsch and John Ryrie, Hybrid Production 1995.
  • Wood+Cardboard, with Alex Selenitsch, 2010.
  • The City of Melbourne, Victoria.
  • Deakin University Art Collection, Victoria.
  • Rare books Library, Monash University, Victoria.
  • National Library of Australia, Canberra, ACT.
  • Australian National Gallery, Canberra, ACT.
  • State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria.
  • Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, Victoria.
  • The New York Public Library, New York.
  • E.R. White Cub, Trinity College, University of Melbourne. Victoria.
  • Private collections in the U.S.A., England, Norway and Australia.
Authored by others, regarding Hamish’s work
  • Lark Books, U.S.A. 2004, 500 Wood Bowls.
  • The Age, 22/5/2002, Asian Architecture Studies.
  • Australian Wood Review No 34 March 2004 Second Wind by Andrew Wood.
  • The University of Melbourne, Uni News, 4 February 2002: Monumental Effort.
  • Herald Sun, 9/11/2001, Second Wind by Alison Barclay.
  • Sunday Age, 7/11/1999, Goodbye Kind World by Robert Nelson.
  • Craft Victoria Bulletin, No 1 1996, Trees/Ladders.
  • Imprint Vol 30 No4, Dec. 1995, Trees/Ladders.
  • Australian Wood Review No 2 April 1992, Timber furniture design and construction course.
  • Craft Arts, No22, 1991 Woodwork Festival and Exhibition by Bill Hawtin.
  • Fine Woodworking, May June 1991 Woodwork Festival and Exhibition by Bill Hawtin.
  • The Age 16/10/1990, Garden Screen.
  • The Age 22/11/1988, City of Knox Commission, Fairy Door.
Authored by Hamish
  • Secrets, a catalogue and story created for the exhibition of the same name with contributions by Alex Selenitsch, John Maidment, photography by Terence Bogue and graphic Design by Ian Robertson 2007.
  • Organ historical trust of Australia News, Vol 28, No 3, July 2004: A woodworkers perspective on the Melbourne Town Hall Organ.
Australian Woodworker
  • No. 107 2003: 2002 Orbost Wood Design Exhibition
  • No. 92 2000: Council of Victorian Woodwork Clubs Festival
Australian Wood Review
  • No. 43 2005: Nevil Selleck, The Intuitive Woodworker
  • No. 42 2004: Create from a Crate exhibition
  • No. 41 2003: Better biscuit joinery
  • No. 35 2002: The Urban Forest Revealed
  • No. 34 2002: Sliding Dovetails, How and Why
  • No. 32 2001: Ideas of Containment
  • No. 28 2000: Andrew Wood , Reading the Country
  • No. 23 1999: Woodcraft by Bryan Poynton

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