Artist > Stephanie White
Media > Sculpture
I am an artist; the simplicity of this statement underplays the process involved in me growing into the confidence to say this out loud or in print. I grew up on a farm in Western Australia. My exposure to nature and understanding the importance of a human’s symbiotic relationship with the environment stems in part from this early exposure. I now live and work in Perth. While I have always had a creative side, it took until I was about 27 to take the leap and start creating art with timber the way I have always wanted to.
After I finished school in 2005 I discovered oil painting and had a small business doing dog portraits for some time, and dabbled in charcoal and chalk pastels too.
I have always wanted to work with wood, having visited galleries of beautiful woodwork in Margaret River when I was younger, admiring the wooden boxes, furniture and trinkets which seemed so ethereal and unreachable to me.
I never had the opportunity to delve into that desire until about five years ago, when on a whim I decided to make a dining room table out of pallets with absolutely no clue what I was doing and a hodge podge of tools I borrowed from my dad. I blew up two random orbit sanders in the process and it’s the ugliest table I’ve ever seen but it got me started.
I started exploring carving with a Stanley knife and a bit of pallet wood, and not long after started working at a local woodwork supply shop. It was a steep and incredible learning curve, I had so much to learn. I got serious about my carving about 2 years ago and the skill development was exponential, all of a sudden timber made sense. Carving challenges me, makes me think in new ways, and tests my skills.
I entered two carvings in the Wood Review 2020 Maker of the Year and received Top Ten in Art and Accessories (see attached photo of the piece titled ‘Twisted’) and a Highly Commended (Frayed (the one with the carved rope handle)). The third picture is of a stylised swan kuksa I made. I also started my own business (Steph the Woodcarver) teaching and taking commissions. I have found a mentor to guide me into the luthier world so am starting on making my first cello, with a second instrument, an early 1600’s intricately carved bass viol on the cards too.
I am also volunteering with The Veterans Forge and other veteran charities, supporting young military veterans by teaching them carving to help their reintegration into civilian society.
Carving gives me the opportunity to explore my world in a sculptural, tactile form. Being a female woodworker brings all sorts of interesting responses from men and women alike, but generally, they are overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. I like to let my work do the talking, my carving and design skills being the focus, not my gender. Though I am by all means a relative newcomer to woodwork, it is truly my passion and where I want to be.