The former industrial town of Burnie in Tasmania was once known for its paper pulp mill. Paper is still made in Burnie today but it is fashioned in a more creative way in an entirely new setting. The Makers’ Workshop building, purpose designed by Tasmanian architect Scott Balmforth of architectural practice ‘Terroir‘ is an eye catching addition to the western headland of Burnie town.
The Makers’ Workshop has many functions but importantly it provides a history lesson on Burnie’s industrial past whilst providing a centre for community arts and tourism. We visited it with our Burnie based friend and teacher Michelle who herself had undertaken a paper sculpture workshop. Michelle pointed out to us the paper chandelier that her tutor Tasmanian artist Ritchie Ares Dona, created for the entrance foyer.
Here is a new way to use paper, as building blocks, an original wallpaper design.
Makers’ Workshop have a system where local artists and craftspeople work throughout the centre in front of the public on a rotating basis. There are name cards for the artists involved in the programme mounted on the wall, so if you want to know who is in residence you visit the wall to see which names have a sign indicating they are working that day and you can make your way to their temporary studios.
There is also a creative paper making atelier that started in the 1990’s as a Work for the Dole project. In 2009 the training scheme moved into the building.
The retail shop has a very large section devoted to handmade paper in hundreds of colours and various sheet sizes, all for sale and just to make sure there is something for everyone, a cheese shop specialising in Tasmanian cheese. Regardless of your interests this place will not disappoint, it is a must for a visit to Burnie.
For lunch we visited its cafe. A tasty pumpkin feta cheese tart with salad. The salad could have been a bit larger, a garnish would describe it best. Not complaining, just saying.
The Makers’ Centre is so multifunctional it also operates a tourist office here. The service is outstanding, if you just happen to stop by some of the brochures the staff come out from behind their desks and benches and ask it they can help you.
Open seven days a week 9 – 5. Free entry, so there is no excuse for anyone travelling to Burnie – GO THERE.