“Don't do it, give up, it's not going to work, there's no way you can do it ...” Siena Hindmarsh listened to the counsel of many as she considered her choice to create an illuminated wooden globe.
The 18-year-old former St Clare’s High School student knew her idea was not typical of concepts offered up by year 12 students studying Industrial Technology (Timber). She knew the project would push her limits of knowledge, practical skills and at times, emotion, but she could not leave it on paper, and so she began.
Months of work peppered with challenging conversations, collaborations and countless kindnesses saw the globe crafted and its design, construction and finish saw it secure top titles in the 2017 Manning and Great Lakes Technology Awards. It was a milestone moment at the close of 2017 that also saw Siena complete her Higher School Certificate studies and accept an offer to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Newcastle.
Siena’s focus on the globe and woodworking shifted from being all-consuming to simply appreciating its beauty in her new home with her father, Peter, in Fern Bay. That is, until the national magazine, The Australian Woodworker, decided to showcase the globe in its April 2018 issue.
Once again the globe project pressed forward in her thoughts as the industry publication promoted her choice to undertake an ambitious project, and she says “her family was very proud” of her inclusion in the magazine. The four page article features 22 photographs and provides detail about the numerous processes and materials used to create the globe – including the fact that it is made from hoop pine wood sourced from the majestic tree that dominated the skyline near Manning Hospital until 2007.
Today Siena is quick to share that many people supported her learning during the hundreds of hours of work that occurred over many months.
“I wanted to do something that was really different,” Siena said.
I wanted it to be quite artistic because I was also doing visual arts and I felt I could create art in wood.
“I knew it was a stretch and a lot of people pretty much said to me, don't do it, give up, it's not going to work, there's no way you can do it, but I kept researching to try to figure out how I could make it work.”
It was the counsel and experience of her teachers at St Clare’s High School that helped her to see that it was possible – not easy – but possible to create.
“My year 11 woodwork teacher, Mr Chapman brought up the idea of doing it in segments and then I told that to my teachers in year 12, Mr Chalmers and Mr O'Neill and then we worked to develop that idea.”
Siena also took the idea to the Manning-Great Lakes Woodworkers Club in Taree and said, “is this doable?”
Club member Geoff Crapp recalls seeing the concept and laughs as he says, “when she first came to us with the idea I thought, oh my God!.”
The experienced woodturner says he had “never turned something that big as a ball.”
With Geoff’s encouragement and support of other club members, Siena chose to join the club and began a collaboration that saw her learn the necessary skills to use the machinery and solve numerous challenges.
“We figured out what worked as we went along,” Siena said.
There was a lot of work, weekends at the club, and Siena says she had to complete numerous projects before she even started on the globe.
“I needed to learn so many things. I was there through pretty much all of my holidays, like every single day. Fun times for me!”
There were a fair few tears along the way, I can admit that, but I believed it would come along in the end.
Geoff describes Siena as “a lovely, attentive student. She listened to my instructions and then would work hard to apply what she had been taught.”
“We were conscious that it had to be her own work and so we worked to explain how to do things, and then show her how to do it. She was a great student.
“If you’re not doing it (using a wood lathe) correctly you get dust, and if you are, you get shavings. I would pick up Siena’s shavings and say to the boys, ‘you could learn a thing or two from her!
“I know she’s not mine but I’d be proud to be her dad.”
Siena is now focused on her Bachelor of Biomedical Studies and is hoping to transfer to medicine. She acknowledges Industrial Technology appears a strange subject choice considering her career aspirations, but is adamant her decision was the right one.
“To be honest, I don't want to say that if I could go back I would have chosen the subjects needed to get me straight into medicine because then I would not have created this globe and had all of these different experiences and met so many lovely people – I love that I can look back and feel proud about my globe.”