Inspiration crafts family heirloom

A breadbox owned by her grandfather is the inspiration behind Cate Gillogly's handcrafted tambour entertainment unit, which recently featured in the Australian Wood Review.

The unit, made using a combination of blackbutt from a mill in John's River and Californian redwood, is a masterpiece the St Clare's High School, Taree student hopes will one day become a family heirloom. 

But for now, Cate takes great delight in knowing that the once-thought impossible project is now complete and exceeds her original expectations. 

"I'm very proud, and happy, that I finished the unit to such a high standard," says the self-proclaimed perfectionist. 

Cate submitted the entertainment unit, which features a tambour door, as her Higher School Certificate (HSC) Industrial Technology, Major Work.

Completing the piece was a process Cate describes as a 'labour of love.'

"I've lost count at the number of hours I invested in making the unit," Cate says, adding that her teacher Brad Hart, was a tremendous support throughout the process. 

The unit is now on display at Cate's home alongside her first-ever woodwork project, a toolbox, which she completed as a Year 7 student at St Clare's High School

Cate says her passion for woodwork has increased over the years; nurtured by the school, as well as her grandfather- a former woodwork teacher.  

"I'd always admired a breadbox that sat on pop's kitchen counter and featured a tambour door. So, when the time came to decide on my Major Work, I knew I wanted to incorporate a similar design but on a much larger scale," Cate says.  

"I got advice from a lot of people about the project, and some thought it might be too difficult for me to accomplish as part of my HSC. However, with some supportive words, and taking the breadbox apart to get a better understanding of the design, I knew I could achieve it if I put my mind to it."

The end-outcome was so remarkable that Australian Wood Review magazine recently featured the entertainment unit in its publication, and St Clare's High School nominated the piece in the Australian Woodwork competition, with the winner yet to be announced.

Principal of St Clare’s High School, Peter Nichols, says that Cate put in a tremendous amount of effort, and it was important to acknowledge her dedication.

“Cate was “on deck” many nights after school and as her work shows, has reaped the reward that hard work and commitment brings to any activity.

“It was a pleasure to watch the project develop over the year, especially given the interruptions incurred due to the pandemic.”

Cate will soon receive her mark for her Major Work from HSC examiners but is already contemplating her next move after recently completing her official education at St Clare's High School

Cate's original aspiration is to study primary school teaching at university but, spurred on by the outcome of her Major Work she is now considering a double degree, which would also see her become an industrial technology teacher. 

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Lizzie Watkin Image
Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.