First completing a science degree in botany (she really knows her raw materials), woodworker Emma Nasifa of Made by Northwood began making her distinctive timber artworks in late 2015. It wasn’t so much a lifestyle choice, as a matter of creative necessity. ‘I found that my creating hands couldn’t really commit to a laboratory lifestyle,’ she explains.
Woodwork wasn’t a completely new interest though. The artist has fond memories of visiting her uncle’s furniture shop in Tasmania, and working with hand tools as a child. The hobby grew from assembling artworks for friends, into a mentorship with respected Brunswick woodworkers, and a budding, occasionally-‘nomadic’ career.
Made by Northwood’s aesthetic is rooted in symmetry, and the fractal forms of nature; patterns within patterns. ‘Balance, repetition and contrast. These are the elements that I try and express,’ Emma explains.
A piece typically comes together organically with a little direction from the client, although, mock-ups are created on design software for large installations and those incorporating plants. ‘Once I get an outline of an idea, I’ll set aside workshop time to cut up timber and rearrange it, and rearrange it again… and probably seven times more until I can feel a pattern falling into place!’ admits the maker. Finally, each artwork is assembled and carefully hand finished.
Made by Northwood hopes to do more oversized projects, and move into furniture fabrication next. ‘I’d love develop the innovative aspect of my brand,’ says Emma. ‘…so many ideas, only two hands!’
She’s also invested in raising awareness and promoting respect for our ecosystems through her craft. ‘We need to incorporate more plant life into our daily work and living surrounds, shift our focus from consumerism to remind ourselves of the impermanence and fragility of the natural world.’