Damien Wright is an award-winning furniture designer and craftsman. He works almost exclusively with Australian timbers, in particular, indigenous hardwood species that are not traditionally used to make furniture. Damien sources his timber directly from farmers and millers in western Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
He is acclaimed for his unique ‘whole tree’ approach to furniture design and construction. Damien employs rare joinery techniques such as blind-mitred dovetails and thick veneering. He finishes with organic tung oil to preserve the natural beauty and durability of the timber.
Damien contracts on a commission-only basis, working either directly with clients or through architects and interior designers.
His public commissions include the Federal Court of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Immigration Museum, Federation Square Management offices, the County Koori Court of Victoria and the Archdiocese of Broken Bay (Sydney). Damien’s private commissions have been photographed for Vogue Living, Houses and Inner City Living and are represented in private art collections. Damien has also created sculptures and memorials for public and private collections.
Damien’s work has been exhibited in many group shows, including exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Jam Factory, the Tasmanian Design Centre, Craft Victoria, Craft ACT, Object Gallery, the Melbourne Museum and Furnitex. In 2006, he was selected to represent Australia in the international South exhibition in Santiago, Chile. Damien has written about craft for publications including Object Magazine and is a popular and passionate public advocate of craft. He is currently the President of the Victorian Woodworkers Association, a past president of the Board of Craft Victoria and has sat on numerous advisory and judging panels.
Damien’s work has been profiled in The Age and the Herald-Sun and he has been the subject of documentaries for ABC Radio National’s Artworks and ABC-TV’s Sunday Arts. His practice was included in curator and critic Kevin Murray’s book Craft Unbound (2006) and The Melbourne Design Guide (2007). Gideon Haigh’s essay about Damien’s Koori Court table, ‘The Pursuit of usable Beauty’, appears in the April 2009 issue of The Monthly.
In 2010, Damien established the Gumatj Wood Studio — Dharpa Djama — on the community of Gunyangara in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Over six months, Damien worked with the traditional owners, the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu people, in a collaborative craft, training and employment project.
Damien’s home studio is located in Northcote, Victoria. Damien lives in Melbourne with his wife Clare, three children, too many pets and an under-used surfboard.