09 Mar Bodja Chair Project
The Bodja Chair Project was an artist in residence project delivered in partnership between Toowoomba State High School and artist, Michael Epworth. Visual Arts, Manual Arts and History students in years 9 to 12 worked with Mike to deepen their understanding of Australia’s cultural heritage by exploring the history, design and work processes of nineteenth century Tasmanian chair manufacturer, Jimmy Possum.
Students applied this knowledge to their own work with recycled timber sourced from old school desks and port racks, producing and decorating a number of Bodja Chairs based on Possum’s designs as featured in the National Gallery of Australia collection. ‘Bodging’ refers to the use of hand tools and recycled wood to produce unique chair designs – a manufacturing process particularly common during the depression era.
The students’ five chairs were exhibited in Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and students documented their projects online via Facebook and the school’s website.
The artist and educators worked collaboratively and flexibly to adapt the project to student needs, providing positive skills development opportunities for a diversity of participants.