Foundry patterns are hand made shapes which were made as models for metal machinery parts and many of them date back to the 1800’s. “Pattern making is a long lost trade which required the pattern maker to be an expert at both wood working and engineering.” says Juliet Barr of Wildwood Designs furniture in Sydney Australia.
“I have met several pattern makers over the years at our Gladesville furniture shop, they tend to be men in their 80’s with lots of stories to tell about the old foundry’s they used to work in. It is sadly a trade that isn’t really required in Australia. The outsourcing and mass production of machinery from China has pretty much destroyed this trade and the demand for it. Which is why our furnishings are so special because they are made from pieces of Australia’s industrial history.”
Juliet says, “My husband Pete has always had a bit of a thing for reinventing and recycling wood and he especially loves to be creative with old foundry patterns by making them into unique reinvented objects of art..which happen to be functional furnishings as well. Pete is a tinker and has an inventive eye. He sees what something might become, while other people think something might be junk to be discarded.”
” About 10 years ago he started dabbling in foundry patterns from an old QLD Sugar Mill dated back to 1868 where they had take their machinery on site. The patterns were one stop from the tip. There were many interesting shaped hand made pattern molds had to be made for every metal component that went into making the functional sugar mill.”
“Patterns were often dated and numbered so they could be copied. Where possible we try to keep the original numbers and markings by the pattern maker.”