Header image: William Bayliss Torrent Hi-Fi (winning piece for the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize)
Each year the previous winner of the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize joins the team of judges to decide on who will take out the prestigious award the following year.
After three years of cancellation, we are thrilled that William Bayliss, the 2019 winner of the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize will be joining the judging panel to judge our 2023 entries.
Winning the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize not only offers a $10,000 cash prize, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the artisans work, and open new doors and possibilities to broaden their practice. Hear what William has been up to since he took home the Wootha Prize back in 2019…
My journey as a craftsman (officially) started in July of 2015 at the age of 16 when I was apprenticed to Dunstone Design, one of Australia’s leading bespoke and limited edition furniture workshops. As a qualified maker I am still part of the Dunstone Design team but have always found immense joy in working on my own speculative pieces in my spare time and on weekends.
In late 2018 The Wootha Prize was brought to my attention by my employer Evan Dunstone. In The Wootha Prize, entries do not have to be for sale and usually has a stated theme that makers must address in their piece, however there was an open theme in 2019. This is very liberating for the maker and means they can design something for themselves or a loved one. I am an avid collector of audio equipment and needed a cabinet to house my HI-FI equipment and speaker cabinets to match, this was the perfect scenario.
The final entry featured both solid and re-sawn veneer Tasmanian Blackwood. Twenty one flutes wrap around the sides and the top. The sides are also curved. There is a cut-out on the top surface to seat the turntable. The design features ample space for records and exhaust fans are built into the rear of the hardware compartment to prevent the build-up of heat. There are two Huon Pine drawers that sit above the hardware shelf for miscellaneous items and cassette tapes.
Winning the Wootha at such a young age was a great feather in my cap and a milestone that led to many great opportunities such as receiving a scholarship to study at the New Zealand Center for Fine Woodworking for 6 weeks under Canadian mastercraftsman Michael Fortune. In which I expanded my horizons further by being able to make freely with a fresh headspace in a new workshop under a new mentor and created my Wakapuaka Cabinet that featured many techniques and systems that were somewhat foreign to my workshop back in Australia.
Since then I’ve gone on to be awarded Australian Wood Reviews 2021 Maker of the Year with my pair of Bunyjul Occasional Tables, a piece that involves evolved techniques from both my piece submitted in The Wootha Prize and techniques and an ethos that I learned studying abroad. This overall journey has added a new leaf to my book as a craftsman and I am looking to the future and cannot wait to judge the 2023 Wootha.
The Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize is proudly sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Council.
Entries are now open and close at midnight on the 17th of March 2023.
For more information and to enter click the button below
To follow William on his journey, follow the links below.