Ancient Crafts





1 - 2 JULY, 2023 Gympie Showgrounds

What an amazing wealth of talent there is to be found in our region!
October 30 – 31, 2021 in the stadium and Pavilion, Gympie Showgrounds.
It’s going to be huge! Keep checking on this website for updates.

Come along and say g'day to the Makers:

Over 40 traditional tradesmen and women gather to showcase their skills and share their knowledge.

Meet the Woodies: Woodworkers and Master Carvers; Spoonsmiths; Luthiers; a Whittler, a Harpmaker; Penmakers; Sawscrollers; Pyrographers 

Meet the Smiths: Blacksmiths, Silversmiths, a Tinsmith

Meet the Weavers & Plaiters: Basketweavers; a Corn Dolly Maker (wheat plaiter); Spinners & Weavers;  Lacemakers and a Whipmaker

And meet more: Lapidarists; a Papermaker & Bookbinder; Mosaic artist; a Ceramicist; a Gilder; a Shingle Splitter; a Leatherworker and a Whipmaker;  a Glassworker; Beekeepers…. and more in the pipeline….

all  keen to share their knowledge and their passion in their craft with you. … there’s even craft beer!

Markets: Most of the exhibitors will have their handmade wares for sale onsite – a chance to pick up a unique, handcrafted and quality gift – for yourself or someone special! – straight from it’s creator. And just in time for Christmas!

Highlights - Be inspired by:

Gympie & District Woodworkers Club

All weekend, the “woodies” demonstrated many aspects of woodworking, from age-old  pyrography, woodturning and scrollsawing to handcarving and spoonsmithing. On show will be all manner of wooden treasures, from little “comfort birds” to guitars, harps and more.



Deirdre Wilson – As one of the “woodies”, spooner Deirdre Wilson lovingly handcarves intricate and detailed Welsh Love Spoons. A centuries old tradition in Wales, young men used to whittle a love spoon to give to their beaus, carving symbols of love, hearts, Celtic knots, bells and horseshoes. Be sure to ask about workshops.


Master Woodcarver & Fretworker – Bruce Weier is a renowned master craftsman in all aspects of wood carving, turning, fretwork and antique restoration. On the rare occasions when he isn’t working on commissions from around the world, he’s busy creating intricate and beautifully detailed signature works, releasing the varied flora and fauna hidden within each piece of wood. His aim is to continue to create wood carvings in the style of famous 18th century English carver, Grinling Gibbons. 

Presented by Bendigo Bank.

Workshop: Bruce enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for wood working with people at all levels of accomplishment. A sought-after tutor nationally, he will be conducting 2 workshops over the “Ancient Crafts, Rare Trades” Expo weekend – details coming soon.


Spoons by Jeff – A twisted stick with a odd protruding lump, a gnarly knobbly burl, a battered offcut from a cracked stump – all the stuff from which Jeff’s inventive, elegant spoons and delicate bowls are so beautifully crafted. Traditionally functional or irregular, wonderfully textural and tactile, his works are sought after by collectors and galleries throughout Australia.


Basketweaver – Basketry artist Julia Kitto combines nature’s inspiration, imagination and the beauty of raw plant fibre with traditional basketry techniques. Her woven works are mainly created from locally sourced plant life such as lomandra, philodendron, cordyline, palms, cats claw, jacaranda, agapanthus, lilies, banana, flax and more, creating and playing with a wonderful mix of fibres and natural dyes. Julia is an award-winning artist who enjoys sharing her craft through tutoring, exhibiting and also commissions Australia-wide.


Tinsmith – With the Industrial Revolution in early 18th century came the ready availability of affordable sheet metal. Tinsmithing flourished with travelling tinkers supplying basic but essential wares – pots and pans, lanterns and candle lamps, tubs and buckets – to miners, farmers and settlers as they journeyed further and further afield. Tin utensils soon became as common in everyday lives as plastic is today. Rebecca Morgan, of Tinkers World, proudly keeps this almost forgotten craft going.


Vintage Toymaker– a huge – huge! – collection of vintage metal memorabilia, including handforged toys, gadgets & gizmos, signs etc from renowned classic car enthusiast/ blacksmith/ welder and collector, Jim Walsh. Jim’s been busy welding and  creating some new pieces – come and have a chat!


Whipmaker – Over 20 years ago, Bill Glasgow strolled into a saddler’s shop to buy a plaited belt. He walked out with a Ron Edwards hand book on belt plaiting, a pair of nickel rings and enough lace to make a 36inch belt. Two years later, he branched into whip making, using Edward’s book to plait his first four strand red hide whip. He went on to work closely with expert Maurice Doohan,  gaining invaluable experience and an understanding of good whip work and what goes where –  he continues to pass on helpful tips to his students. Now, with several awards including a Dame Mary Durack Award, under his beautifully crafted belt, Bill demonstrates his skill and exhibits whips and belts at heritage fairs nationally.



Ceramicist – Carol Watkins of Hinterland Ceramics is a specialist in smoke, sagger and raku firings. Favouring age-old firing methods, mediums and processes, Carol experiments with effects of various combustibles, oxides and self-made glazes. Results can be unpredictable – and breathtaking!

Using and experimenting with mediums, processes and firing methods that include raku, smoke and saggar firings, Carol’s handcrafted techniques and self-made glazes ensure that no two pots are ever the same.An experimental ceramicist, Carol’s hand crafted techniques, use of combustibles, oxides, self made glazes and varied atmospheres ensures that no two pots are ever the same. A specialist in smoke, sagger and raku firings, her results can be unpredictable and at times breathtaking. 


Papermaker – A chance introduction to the art of papermaking in 1978 sparked a life-long passion in Dion Channer, then based in Italy. There, he practised this ancient craft, learning the traditional methods used over thousands of years. His skill was further honed in mills around Europe and Tasmania, and then the opportunity to work in a Japanese mill making paper for calligraphy and traditional paper screens perfected his craft. He has even mastering the making of papyrus, as the ancient Egyptians did. Now a master papermaker, Dion has exhibited his exquisite papers around the world, finally establishing his studio near Gympie Queensland, where he can often be found sourcing and preparing his raw materials, using various types of cellulose, plant derived, fibres – stripping mulberry bark for pulp or shredding linen for fibre – and creating exquisite artpieces from miniatures, writing paper, paper for limited edition books to major art installations, room dividers and sculptures.

BookbinderIn a perfect pairing, at this year’s event, Dion will demonstrate the 2,000-year old art of bookbinding using his handcrafted papers. In this digital age, this is another craft that is under threat –  using traditional methods, Dion is one of a small number dedicated to preserving this beautiful craft. One book at a time, each unique, bound books are now seen as works of art in their own right.


Mosaics – The earliest known mosaics were found in a Mesopotamian temple dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. Made up of ivory, seashells, and stones, these decorative, colourful pictorials laid the groundwork for this artform, establishing a craft that was to continue on for thousands of years into the future. Sue Purnell creates individual, originally designed and hand-crafted mosaic pieces, with breathtaking patterns brought to life when light is passed through each tiny handcut piece of coloured glass.


Blacksmith – In medieval times, the blacksmith was essential to every town, producing weapons, nails, furniture, locks, horseshoes, and armor, but, as with many industries, the demand for blacksmiths ebbed away as the Industrial Revolution took hold and factories began mass-produced ironwork. The art of blacksmithing slowly became almost obsolete.
Happily, in a modern resurgence of this ancient art, blacksmiths today are seen as artists, proudly upholding the traditions and history of blacksmithing, taking their trade into the future.
Artist blacksmith Wayne Schmidt, of Cracked Anvil Forge, will be bringing his historically accurate blacksmith equipment – his travelling forge and 100-year old bellows, hand cranks and a host of well-worn tongs and hammers – to create a heritage blacksmith shop onsite at the event. He will be forging items that would fit into any period of time in our history. Faithful to traditional blacksmithing methods and techniques, Wayne will provide a glimpse into the world of the blacksmith of old.

and Blacksmith – A regular demonstrator at Gympie’s Woodworks Museum, Geoff gets all fired up! Bringing along his portable forge, he’ll demonstrate blacksmithing and show a range of items being produced.


Lapidary – Lapidary, the art of cutting and polishing stone, has its roots in prehistory, as early humans began fashioning stone tools and weapons. In time, these techniques were also used for items of personal adornment. Lapidary today encompasses four art forms: tumbling, cabbing, faceting, and carving, using stone and gem materials. Meet the lapidarists from Gympie’s Gem Club, catch their enthusiasm – a dedicated group with a wealth of knowledge to share.

Silversmithing – The oldest known piece of tooled or silversmithed silver dates to 600 BC – and many of the tools used in ancient times are still used by the silversmiths of today: tongs, hammers, blow pipes with clay nozzle, used to shape drinking and eating utensils, jewelry, armour, vases and artpieces. Meet the silversmiths from Gympie’s Gem Club and discover the addictive – and ancient – art of silversmithing.


Corn Dolly Making (Wheat Plaiting) – The art of Corn Dolly making goes back thousands of years, when it was thought that a “Spirit of Fertility” lived in, and protected the cornfields. To preserve this spirit at harvest time, and ensure the success of next year’s harvest, a corn dolly was made for the spirit to take refuge in over the winter months. Today, it is nearly a forgotten art.

Accomplished craftswoman, Shona, taught herself this ancient craft, also known as Wheat Plaiting, while living on a wheat farm in the 70s… all her materials were right at her door! 
Over the years, she mastered a variety of techniques, including checkerboarding, twining and rope-making, and now is in great demand as a tutor and demonstrator. Her achievements include repeated guest appearances at a number of Bribane’s Chelsea Flower Shows, and a guest spot on a Channel 10 documentary.


Whittling – John Gerritsen was a man of the land. No matter where his working life took him – remote areas in the Gulf and the outback, he was never without his penknife is his pocket… in a quiet moment, to pick up a piece of wood and start whittling was as natural as breathing. 

Over the last 30-odd years working with wood, John has notched up an incredible record – carving literally thousands of life-sized dogs, cats and birds, and whittling many more miniatures. He delights in finding a piece of driftwood or dry camphor laurel and working with it’s natural form to create animals and birds. “It’s all about the attitude, expression and body language” he says with a smile.
Lampworking is a form of making glass beads that dates back to the 5th century BC, when beadmakers used the flame of an oil lamp to heat glass so that it could be moulded into shapes. 
When Michele Bevis discovered lampworking about sixteen years ago, she was mesmerised, captivated by the viscous glass. She knew she had found a method of creating her own glass beads for her bespoke jewellery designs. 
Now under the name emubeads, Michele’s handmade glass beads are individually forged by layering heated glass, shaping, mixing glass with metal and powder inclusions, sometimes combined with her hand forged silver components, all combined with exquisite artistry.
Michele will be running a workshop at the event – click here ( for details and email to reserve your spot!


Manu’s Gilding – Manu Bugallo, of Manu’s Restoration & Design, is a renowned gilder, French polisher and antique picture frame restorer, having spent many years being mentored by master craftsmen in both London and Europe. He emulates a gilding process that has remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years – he now spends every day doing what he loves, shaping and restoring treasures which bear the scars of decades of wear and tear. His small shops sees many deliveries of precious pieces from locations across the globe.


Hart’s Harps – Ziko Hart is a creator of fine hand-made specialist harps, crafted from a combination of traditional materials and modern durable materials such as hemp composite. He is also researching traditional and vintage harps and involved in their restoration.


Spinner & Weaver – Ros Evans, the Foxy Felter, is a keen spinner and weaver, using wools from her own alpacas raised by hand on her Gympie property. Interesting mixes of wools create lovely soft weavings, like the scarf pictured below made from alpaca and bamboo.


Shinglesplitter – Shingles & Shakes – Col is a regular demonstrator of shingle splitting at Gympie’s Woodworks Museum. In our pioneer days, rooves were first covered with bark, and later with shingles split from a then ready supply of materials. In recent times, even the tools are in the nearly forgotten past. Col demonstrates the what and the how of this once essential craft.


Penmaker – Mark Wilson retired and found a new passion in life, turning pens and making hand crafted boxes. His attention to detail produces beautiful works of art. He runs courses on pen making at The Gympie and District Woodworkers Club.


Luther & Sensory Harpmaker – Bruce Walker’s shed tells all about his love of woodwork – on benches cluttered with tools and sawdust lay pieces of beautifully crafted guitars, ukeleles, intricately inlaid boxes, carvings and more. From the rafters hang a forest of turned chair legs, scrolled posts and rough planks, all in various stages of refinement. A talented artisan and woodwork tutor, Bruce is renowned for his sensory harps, which help in healing through musical therapy and the sensation of vibrations for the elderly and informed.


Leatherworker – For sixty-four years, Chris Matthews looked at an old leather and pitch tankard he kept on his mantlepiece, inherited through his mothers’ family in England. After retirement from a life on the land, he spent quite some time researching the origins of the mug, first used in the middle Ages, and how it was created. Inspired, he bought the required tools, thread, the accessories and a hide and then he  went to work, immediately enjoying the tactile feel of the leather. 
As the number of his finished products grew, so did his expertise. He began creating mugs, jacks and water bottles, each unique and completely handcrafted, while remaining true to his firm commitment to stay as close as possible to the original Medieval design. His only concession is using health approved Resin for waterproofing rather than Tar. 
Today, Chris’s products are in demand and have gone as far as New Zealand, South Africa, United States and England…. a lost art revived.



Lacemakers – with it’s exact origin in dispute, historians at least agree that the late 16th century marked a rapid development in lacemaking, when lace came into it’s own, dominating trendes in both fashion and home decor. The Fraser Coast Lacemakers will be exhibiting and demonstrating this exquisite art form.



A power-packed show of the craft of yesteryear – consummate showman with a rollicking sense of humour, Stan Ceglinski’s power-packed show inspires a love for age-old traditions of all types of bushcraft. A mountain of a man, an award-winning bushcrafter with a deep love and knowledge of the skills of yesteryear, he will take you on a sentimental journey into our heritage and our past, passing on a host of knowledge that our country must not lose.

Stan loves wood and sees it, not only as part of Australia’s heritage, but as a magnificent and vital part of our daily lives. “To become a true craftsman” he says, “a man must live in wood, listen to it, learn it, love it and understand it.” “Technology vs Tradition”.


And for the kids! – “Have-a-go” activities and demonstrations in traditional bushcraft – a learning program for the kids!