Sandstone is a staple in some of Australia’s most famous heritage buildings and local architecture. But the commonplace, creamy bricks you might be familiar with don’t hero the material’s striking natural formations and layers quite like Tom Butterworth’s sculptures.
In his one-man business, Onestone, the Sydney maker up-cycles slabs of Australian sandstone into beautiful homewares and pieces of furniture.
Ranging from curvy stools to smooth vessels, Tom’s creations come in varying tones of pink, yellow and orange. They’ve been designed to showcase the ancient material’s magnificent inner details, and rippling textures that resemble famous sandstone landmarks like Uluru or Arizona’s Antelope Canyon!
You wouldn’t know it from looking at his meticulous craftsmanship, but Tom only started working with sandstone in 2020, after seeing a piece break open.
‘The beauty of the stone caught my eye, and the deep unknown history of the rock lit up my imagination,’ Tom says. He started crafting small sculptures every day after he finished work, before evolving to create functional pieces like candlesticks, coffee tables and even unique lamps that double as pieces of art. It was the perfect way to give discarded local sandstone – that would otherwise end up in landfill – a new life.
Unsurprisingly, Tom points to nature as his main source of inspiration. ‘Whether it’s walking through the national parks in the afternoons, or sitting out in the surf looking back towards the sandstone headlands that cove our beaches, the landscape we have here in Australia is something of pure beauty, and being able to create with a material so rich with age is a gift I’m so grateful for,’ he says.
Onestone has been Tom’s full-time job for the last eight months, and he’s been working from his shipping-container-turned-studio for the last year. It’s tucked up in the hills of the Northern Beaches, on a small paddock just minutes from the ocean, with an outdoor bench that backs onto a national park. Talk about serene!
‘Creating the vessels is an eight-day process, from the first initial cuts, to sealing the stone and setting the solid brass feet,’ he says.
‘But the lamps and tables… I couldn’t tell you how many hours have gone into them. It’s dusty, tough and a timely process but the end result makes it all worth it for sure.’
Shop Tom’s work through his website here.