A passion for woodwork


Susan connected with the Dandenong Community Learning Centre (DCLC) through volunteering. She provided support in the office and in hospitality classes. Her real passion, however, is in woodworking and when she joined the community shed at the centre, she was home – hands and heart!

Susan is an outstanding learner because of her resilience and her belief that learning has no age limit! Growing up Susan didn’t have the opportunity to explore her woodworking passion. There were subjects that were tagged for ‘women’ and subjects tagged for ‘men’. More recently she had tried to attend woodworking courses but was yet again met with firm resistance – the courses were only for men. But this didn’t deter Susan, her passion for woodworking was still alive and looking for an outlet.

Over the five years Susan has been attending Dandenong Community Learning Centre, she has developed from a beginner to an advanced level in using woodworking tools like the lathe and the carbite wood turning chisel. She has created rolling pins, trays, bowls, pens and small turned boxes that have been given to the community, some have even been shipped overseas! The other area that Susan wanted to improve was her computer skills. Having grown up in a non digital era, it was time for Susan to jump into the deep end, and she willingly did! Susan, isn’t afraid to share her age, at 64 she joined the CNC (computer numerical control) class, where she uses a computer software program to design products and then the cutting and laser machine to bring them to life. The course has enabled her to improve her computer skills whilst also create products from design to finish. She is a wonderful example of breaking barriers like gender and age. Susan has expressed that wood turning is the highlight of her week!

The program at DCLC has allowed Susan to express her creative passion with others that share the passion of woodworking. It makes her feel happy and more confident in her abilities. She can feel that sense of achievement in an area that is meaningful for her. The program has also allowed Susan to make friends and the group has a sense of camaraderie. Susan often helps out others in the group that have disabilities. Having experienced exclusion herself, it is her way of creating an inclusive all ability space for all community members.

Susan wishes to use the scholarship to advance her learning in woodworking, purchase advanced wood turning tools and a computer so she can design and carve signs at home. At the moment she is helping local and home business with creating signs and hopes to expand once she has more resources. Her photo shows a sign she made for a local hairdressing business, she hopes to continue and expand this work.

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