‘Monochrome Cabinet’ by Rick Hayward wins the 2024 Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize

Image: Rick Hayward with Sunshine Coast Mayor, Rosanna Natoli

It was a competitive year for the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize in 2024, with this year’s competition attracting the most entries ever to date. 

This did not make the task of choosing finalists easy for the selection committee, and it was quite the challenge for judges Carol Russel, Damion Fauser and Derek Calderwood who were to decide on the winning pieces under each category, from a selection of fine furniture, sculptures, and Tiny Treasures.

All agreed that the quality of the work that was entered into this year’s prize was of an exceptionally high standard, and that all finalists were to be congratulated. 

Taking out overall winner was ‘Monochrome Cabinet’ by Rick Hayward, a Meanjin (Brisbane) based multidisciplinary artist and maker with two decades experience working with his hands and a passion for craftsmanship. We caught up with Rick after the buzz of the Maleny Wood Expo had subsided, to learn more about his craft and what winning the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize meant to him.

Images of ‘Monochrome Cabinet’ by Daniel Mulheran

How did you get into woodworking and what has inspired your practice?

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, through high school and throughout my career as a traditional Sign Writer and Artist, and a few years ago was reminded of how much I enjoyed working with wood when framing artworks. 

I’m inspired by modern art, eastern philosophy, and traditional craftsmanship.

How long have you been exploring your practice?

I’ve had a commercial creative studio in Brisbane since around 2011, but only since about 2020 have I been really focussed on developing my current practice. 

I’m approaching it as an art practice concerned with exploring consciousness and the human condition primarily through the mediums of wood, glass and gold leaf.

What was the inspiration behind your winning piece ‘Monochrome Cabinet’? 

Monochrome Cabinet was inspired by the work of Gerrit Reitveld and Piet Mondrian, who were both part of the DeStijl movement in the Netherlands around 100 years ago. They were interested in exploring and attaching spiritual meaning to objects and artwork through simple geometric forms, and became very influential in the modernist movement.

How did it feel to win the overall Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize and what’s next for you now?

Winning the prize is hugely encouraging at this point in my career, I’m looking forward to investing in some more tools to keep me busy!

If you had any encouraging words or advice for other budding woodworkers, what would you say?

I would say once you understand the materials, tools and processes, some knowledge of design history can be really helpful to find a direction!

Follow Rick online

You can follow Rick’s work on his website and Instagram below.

Read more about the other winning pieces part of the 2024 Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize below.

The Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize is proudly sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council.