Wood designer and maker Courtney Petley describes herself as a ‘hands on’ kid growing up. With a knitting, sewing, baking and painting Mum, and builder and designer Dad, she was exposed to a creative and encouraging environment. Courtney explains ‘I remember making clothes for my dolly by lying them on some fabric and tracing a dress shape around them, and one of my favourite games to play as a kid was to build my dream home using bits from a Duplo farm and zoo set.’
This burgeoning interest in dolls clothes developed into a career in the fashion industry. While working a highly stressful fashion job, Courtney felt ‘a huge need to do something with my hands, I needed to feel like I was being creative, especially to relieve my mind.’ After tinkering with many materials, Courtney began working with wood… and the rest is history!
Now working out of a studio in the garage of her apartment, Courtney creates unique handcrafted pieces from reclaimed native New Zealand timber. Using Kauri, Rimi and the occasional old Totara railway sleeper, she plays with straight lines and organic forms. Inspired by mid-century design, geometry, and Charles and Ray Eames; Courtney highlights ‘I love the organically straight lines you get with woodworking, a handle can appear straight but I love that you can feel the handmade nature and impurities of it.’
Each piece made by Courtney is unique in size and grain, which she explains is ‘like going to the fabric store for inspiration!’ The designs are adapted to utilise as much of the timber as possible and minimise waste of the reclaimed wood. Courtney works to bring recycled wood back to life, and hopes that the objects will be ‘part of a family home for another hundred or so years.’ A new (beautiful) lease on life, for our precious and limited resources.