Dagmar Maini grew up in an artistic family in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) before moving to Australia 22 years ago. ‘My sister is a ceramic artist with her own gallery, my Father is a graphic designer, cartoonist and wood-turner, and for as long as I can remember my Mum made almost all our clothes by hand. So, the love of handmade crafts was always valued in my family more than anything you could buy from a shop,’ tells Dagmar.
Studying a range of courses and working different jobs when she first arrived, Dagmar has been focusing on woodwork since 2014. It all started when she walked into a charity shop one day and picked up a beautiful wooden tray with inlay. ‘I suddenly felt that I needed to desperately learn how to make it – a gut feeling I guess you call it,’ she recalls. ‘I had no idea what I was doing, so I watched YouTube tutorials and borrowed books from the library. I found a supplier here in Australia and ordered some veneers.’
Across the nights that followed, once her children had gone to bed, Dagmar would sit trying out different techniques listening to music. She also reached out to another Brisbane-based marquetry artist, Michael Cheshire, who has become a key mentor and inspiration.
Dagmar is most known for her sculptural wooden wall hangings, with modern flair. Her keen interest in Native American culture and Indigenous cultures is evident in her fascinating pieces – the latest of which is inspired by Tuareg jewellery! ‘Marquetry challenges me to pay close attention to detail, every cut has intention, and I let the grain of the wood lead and inspire me!’ she details.
Marketing and selling unique, fine handcrafted products is not without its challenges, especially in a world where all things handmade are now widely undervalued. Nevertheless, woodcraft has long provided solace for this self-confessed ‘hyper-creative mind’ and she’s relished the freedom to practice each day. ‘Sometimes its easy to get wrapped up in the fear and doubt of it all, which can get very isolating,’ reflects Dagmar. ‘But it’s my absolute passion to reintroduce an appreciation and awareness of quality craftsmanship to the people around me, and provoke any kind of reaction.’
See more of Dagmar’s pieces at Dagmarmaini.com.au.