Josephine Jelicich, Saul Parkinson and Eliot Brand with their works created at the Centre for Fine Woodworking. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Lives converge in fine woodwork


Saul Parkinson left a job at a telecommunications company in Auckland to relocate his wife and kids so he could learn how to make fine furniture.

“I just picked up woodworking as a hobby and then found this school.”

He did an introductory course in 2015 at the Centre for Fine Woodworking and ever since then thought it would be quite nice to do the full year.

“It took that long to organise our lives to make that change. I just really enjoyed it and was at a life stage – working for almost 20 years and wanted to do something different.”

He is one of the students at the centre who are finishing their eight-month course – learning from some of the best around at its location close to Glenduan. Their work will be exhibited this week at Refinery Artspace.

“It’s been fantastic to learn from the quality of tutors that we have had.”

Saul says that it had been a great trip for his wife and kids also.

Eliot Brand made the trip from Australia’s Blue Mountains for the course.

“Like a lot of us, it fitted in a time in our lives where we could take the time,” he says. “I had a job finish up and something was telling me ‘go now’.”

He looked around and found the centre.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been pretty intense, but it’s special.”

Josephine Jelicich knew about the course for quite a while – from when she went to arts school. “We had a really good workshop in art school and I started getting really into it, but then it was time to leave and I felt like I was only getting started.”

She tried to teach herself but says it’s almost like a “secret world” which requires specialist teaching.

She says the Centre of Fine Woodworking is the only school just dedicated to furniture and where you don’t have to move somewhere for three years.

Now she has a job as a technician in Auckland that she is going to, but hopes to have her own space one day where she can “potter”.

The trio’s work is all on display at the Refinery Artspace on Halifax St from Friday, December 14, until January 12.