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Byron Shire
October 6, 2022

Arts investor makes Lismore woodworker’s dream come true

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John Dunne (L) with craftsman Colin Fardon (R) and Mr Fardon’s ‘Inlayed Collector’s Cabinet’. PHOTO: contributed.

Sixteen years after starting work experience as a high school student in Lismore, Colin Fardon’s persistence as a woodworker has paid off – literally.

Mr Fardon’s Inlayed Collector’s Cabinet has sold for $68, 000 at the Lismore Regional Gallery, less than 24 hours after it went on public display.

The news has come via an announcement from the gallery.

Secret drawers and intricate inlays

Inlayed Collector’s Cabinet reportedly took more thantwo to years to make and features 15 different varieties of timber including Brazilian Mahogany, East Indian Rosewood, Ebony, Pomelle Sapele and Ivory wood as well as serpentine stone from Lightning Ridge, a small town near the QLD border.

With 40 hand dove-tailed drawers, including 3 secret compartments, it was the perfect Trojan Horse for an engagement ring when Mr Fardon decided to propose to his partner in a private viewing of the cabinet before it was sold.

The cabinet also features intricate hand drawn inlays of Australian flora and fauna.

The master and the apprentice

Mr Fardon first began learning his craft as a high-school student doing work experience in 2003 under the guidance of master craftsman Geoff Hannah OAM and has been taking weekly classes ever since.

Mr Hannah started working at Brown & Jolly’s furniture in Lismore before starting his own furniture business in 1973.

He is the creator of acclaimed woodwork, Hannah Cabinet and more recently, an extraordinary new cabinet called Jubilee House.

Geoff Hannah’s ‘Hannah Cabinet’ took six years to build. Photo: Clayton Lloyd

‘I am privileged enough to have attended Geoff’s classes for the past 16 years,’ said Mr Fardon, ‘I have always loved working in timber, especially exotics from around the world’.

Jubilee House is on display at the Lismore Regional Gallery along with work by 26 of Mr Hannah’s students, including Mr Fardon’s already-sold Inlayed Collector’s Cabinet, until 1 December.

Woodwork artist Colin Fardon at work. PHOTO: contributed.

Investment in art allows artist to go full-time

The exhibition had barely been open to the public less than 24 hours before Brisbane investor John Dunne contacted the gallery, wanting to Inlayed Collector’s Cabinetas an heirloom for his family.

Mr Dunne reportedly told the gallery his purchase wasn’t only an investment in the work but also an in Mr Fardon as a practitioner.

Mr Fardon said the sale meant he would be able to focus full-time on his ‘small furniture making and restoration business which, until now has been part time’.

‘Woodworking has been a dream from me for many years, so I am very excited for the future,’ he said.

But was the cabinet impressive enough to make his marriage proposal a success?

Echonetdaily was told Mr Fardon’s girlfriend – now fiancée – accepted joyfully.

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  1. Wow , what an ” OMG ” moment here !
    Having played with wood and various other materials for 50+ years , but nowhere even close to this level of work , it can have two impacts!
    1) give up , I’ll never be this class !
    2) be inspired to not only persevere , but strive to be better !

    I’m running ( in retirement so not too fast ) with the latter !
    Absolutely brilliant , beautiful and inspiring masterpiece
    Thank you for sharing this with us mere mortals ! Lol
    Rob .

  2. what a talented and dedicated craftsman Colin Fardon is. this is an amazing and glorious demonstration of the beauty of timbers. and it is so wonderful that Mr. Dunne has seen the beauty in this exceptional piece and helped further Colin Fardon’s career. inspiring. more of this in the world.

  3. Absolutely beautiful!! We really need to stop using the word talent for people that have put so much time and dedication into practice. The word talent makes it seem like it was just a gift from god or something. It takes a lot of hard work and practice. Also it took 6 years to make. It didnt just show up. Talent is a word that is used by lazy people who don’t want to put the time, and patience in to learn something.
    This work is extraordinary, and deserves praise as such.

  4. Truly inspiring. I myself am a carpenter/ cabinet maker and I’m constantly disappointed how today’s society lacks the appreciation, patients and skill required to make such a beautiful piece of furniture. Keep up the good work.

  5. A delight to see the magnificent result, many years of discipline and toil, of a humble craftsman. I knew Colin would go on to achieve great results, when I first met and encouraged quite some years ago. Local boy done good, understates Colin’s ability and persistence. Well done Colin.


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