Herald Sun Newspaper

Crafting Lost Art to Life.

Horses are carved into the heart and mind of wood crafter Olivia O’Connor.

The 26-year-old makes rocking horses, taking a month to painstakingly carve each one from sustainable Australian radiata, before painting and trimming them with horse hair and a leather saddle.

‘I know rocking horses are a bit old fashioned and people say there is no money in old crafts, but there is a real demand for them.’ Ms. O’Connor said. ‘I’m working every day and half my clients are grandparents wanting to buy a really special present for their grandchildren.’

Ms. O’Connor, who already has orders for Christmas, said most rocking horses sold in Australian are imported from the UK and US.

She carves the horses at her parents farm on the Mornington Peninsula (please note, this was a printing mistake in the article. Olivia grew up on a farm on the Mornington Peninsula and currently has her workshop in Berrys Creek, South Gippsland) before taking them to her house at Berrys Creek, near Mirboo North, for painting and finishing.

‘I paint them in any design people want, with a lot requesting things like a white patch on the nose because that was a feature on their rocking horse as a child,’ she said. ‘But I’d even do a zebra if someone asked for it.

Ms. O’Connor is one of 60 exhibitors at this years Lost Trades Fair. Others include chairmakers carving seats and steam bent crest rails, knife makers folding Damascus steel blades, coopers making wine and dry goods barrels, luthiers, harp makers, saddlers, spoon carvers, dry stone wallers, boot makers and black smiths. Members of the Artisans Guild of Australia will be demonstrating the skills of silversmiths, metal workers, scroll painters, penny farthing makers, pin stripers and boat builders.

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