As Evan wrote in his introductory piece, his team of makers, made up of Alex MacFarlane, Rolf Barfoed and Dan Mannson, are extraordinary people and exceptional craftsmen. They could have chosen to do anything, but they chose the long hard road to work wood professionally and without compromise.
This is a little piece about Alex, and how he came to Dunstone Design, and a special piece that he recently made, and delivered, to a former primary school teacher.
"In, master chair designer/maker Evan Dunstone received a phone call from a young bloke seeking an apprenticeship. The caller, AlexMacFarlane, told Dunstone that for as long as he could remember, he had wanted to be a chairmaker. In fact, in his last year of primary school, he had made a wooden chair and presented it to his favourite teacher saying; ‘‘When I’m a famous craftsman, I’ll come back and give you a better one.’’
At the time, Dunstone didn’t have an opening for an apprentice. None-the-less, he invited Alex to visit him at the Dunstone Design workshop one Sunday afternoon. The very next Sunday, a classic Holden Premier pulled up outside the workshop door. What Alex had failed to mention was that he lived in Bathurst. His mother had just loyally driven him all the way.
The 16-year-old’s passion for the craft was evident and impressive. Dunstone showed the young man the workshop in detail and described many of the processes involved in chairmaking. Alex left his details with Dunstone and drove home to Bathurst with his mother.
A year later, Dunstone thought the time had come to consider an apprentice. Recalling young Alex, he looked up his records and made a call. Two days later, Alex turned up in his ute with a swag and the clothes he was wearing. Nearly seven years later, Alex MacFarlane is Dunstone Design’s leading chair maker and, in the words of Dunstone, ‘‘the best three-dimensional thinker I have ever encountered’’.
One of Dunstone Design’s signature pieces is the Cataract Dining Rocker. In May, Alex asked Dunstone if he could add an extra chair in with the set of six he was making for a south coast couple. He then commissioned local artist Shannon Henry to engrave a message on a piece of rock maple which he subsequently inlaid on the underneath of the
Armed with this exquisite chair, he went back to his old primary school and presented it to his very surprised teacher; to say that she was moved and impressed would be an understatement.
You can visit the DunstoneDesign gallery of contemporary fine furniture and see pieces by Alex and the other Dunstone Design craftsmen from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday, or by appointment, at the Fyshwick gallery".