This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Carving Out A New Career With Courtney Petley

Studio Visit

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the hole in the middle of the wooden spoon. It it for measuring spaghetti portions, or to ease the flow of sauce when stirring?

We have it on good authority from New Zealand based wood designer and maker Courtney Petley that the utensil is perfectly shaped to prevent food from breaking up as you stir. Now that is cleared up, read on to hear how this Auckland maker switched from a career in fashion, to turning reclaimed timber into unique and beautiful handcrafted kitchenware.

17th April, 2019

Hand crafted kitchenware by Auckland based designer and maker Courtney Petley. Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

A life time of making with her hands has led to a career in wood craft. Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

Everything is hand formed, and tries not to waste any of the reclaimed wood. Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

Courtney in her home studio. Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

The objects are made to use every day, and become even more beautiful with age. Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

Courtney uses all reclaimed native New Zealand timbers. Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

Courtney works from her home studio, but uses the local community centre to do large scale cutting. Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

The mystery of the hole in the wooden spoon is solved! Photo – Courtesy of Courtney Petley.

Miriam McGarry
Wednesday 17th April 2019

‘I needed to feel like I was being creative, especially to relieve my mind’ – Courtney Petley.

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.

This Week

Architecture

A Stacked Home In St Kilda For Every Family Member

Matt Gibson Architecture and Design team up with clients DDB Design on a long-term living solution for multiple generations!

News

Mangkaja x Gorman = Perfection

Clear space in your wardrobe right now, Gorman’s first collaboration with Indigenous artists is going to fly off the shelves!
Miriam McGarry
  1 hour ago

In Print

Take A Gander At Australia's Iconic Art Deco Pubs

A new book, documenting how a nation’s love of a cold beer, led to an architectural phenomenon!
Elle Murrell

Homes

A Home With A Warm Hart

The eclectic and soothing home of doula Sunni Hart and family.

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

News

An Exhibition Celebrating Humankind's Giant Leap

Geelong Gallery is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a captivating showcase, bringing together artistic responses
Elle Murrell

Creative People

When Art Meets Music - 15 Stand-Out Album Covers Featuring Australian Art

From Ken Done to Brett Whiteley, Stephen Baker to Luke Sciberras, discover the Australian artists behind some iconic album art!
Elle Murrell

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry

News

Moments From Nature Captured In Exquisite Detail

Following a devastating diagnosis two years ago, graphic designer Shelley Heaney embarked upon a new project encouraging us to connect to th...

Architecture

The Best Of The Island – Here Are The 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Award Winners!

Our southernmost state may be small, but it packs a big architectural punch.
Miriam McGarry
2:22

We, The Brave

Turning A Passion For Photography Into A Career, With Eve Wilson

Eve Wilson shares her courageous career journey, from photographer’s assistant, to leading lifestyle photographer. In partnership with MYO...
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

News

Time Travel To The Quintessential 1970s Motel In Melbourne

Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst bring their hilarious, nostalgia-infused live show to a classic Melbourne motel next month.

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

View Comments

Similar Stories

Creative People

George & Willy, Making Everyday Tools Great Again

Clever, functional design for everyday life, from the creative New Zealander duo.
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

Border Co. Hand Carved Spoons

Self-taught woodworker Justine Bolzon lays out some of her striking hand carved designs.
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

Carol Russell

Hand carved spoons and bowls by Brisbane-based woodworker, Carol Russell.
Jo Hoban

This Week

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

In Print

Take A Gander At Australia's Iconic Art Deco Pubs

A new book, documenting how a nation’s love of a cold beer, led to an architectural phenomenon!
Elle Murrell

Creative People

When Art Meets Music - 15 Stand-Out Album Covers Featuring Australian Art

From Ken Done to Brett Whiteley, Stephen Baker to Luke Sciberras, discover the Australian artists behind some iconic album art!
Elle Murrell

News

An Exhibition Celebrating Humankind's Giant Leap

Geelong Gallery is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a captivating showcase, bringing together artistic responses
Elle Murrell

News

Moments From Nature Captured In Exquisite Detail

Following a devastating diagnosis two years ago, graphic designer Shelley Heaney embarked upon a new project encouraging us to connect to th...

Architecture

A Stacked Home In St Kilda For Every Family Member

Matt Gibson Architecture and Design team up with clients DDB Design on a long-term living solution for multiple generations!

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

Homes

A Home With A Warm Hart

The eclectic and soothing home of doula Sunni Hart and family.

News

Mangkaja x Gorman = Perfection

Clear space in your wardrobe right now, Gorman’s first collaboration with Indigenous artists is going to fly off the shelves!
Miriam McGarry
  1 hour ago
2:22

We, The Brave

Turning A Passion For Photography Into A Career, With Eve Wilson

Eve Wilson shares her courageous career journey, from photographer’s assistant, to leading lifestyle photographer. In partnership with MYO...

News

Time Travel To The Quintessential 1970s Motel In Melbourne

Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst bring their hilarious, nostalgia-infused live show to a classic Melbourne motel next month.

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

Architecture

The Best Of The Island – Here Are The 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Award Winners!

Our southernmost state may be small, but it packs a big architectural punch.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

Similar Stories

Creative People

George & Willy, Making Everyday Tools Great Again

Clever, functional design for everyday life, from the creative New Zealander duo.
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

Border Co. Hand Carved Spoons

Self-taught woodworker Justine Bolzon lays out some of her striking hand carved designs.
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

Carol Russell

Hand carved spoons and bowls by Brisbane-based woodworker, Carol Russell.
Jo Hoban