Australian artists challenged to create masterpieces from timber packaging waste

After a six-year hiatus, Create from a Crate, an innovative competition that challenges artists, furniture designers and woodworkers to create a masterpiece from an old packaging crate, is on again.

Waste Converters Recycling and the Victorian Woodworking Association are re-launching the competition in a bid to highlight the inherent beauty of wood while actively promoting recycling and waste reduction. With prize money totalling $7,000, the competition is one of Australia’s premier woodworking prizes.

Create from a Crate is the brainchild of Ward Petherbridge, a passionate environmentalist and owner of Waste Converters, a recycling depot in Dandenong that specialises in repairing and re-purposing timber packaging waste.

‘Timber packaging is commonly used for transporting heavy freight around the world. Over the years I have noticed the pallets and crates, originating from Europe and the US, were often made from highly valuable and beautiful timbers such as oak and elm. I couldn’t bear to see this timber sent to landfill or pulverised into mulch so I started approaching artists, furniture designers and architects to see if they wanted to utilise this incredible commodity. The competition is another vehicle for ensuring this waste stream is valued’ said Petherbridge.

In Victoria alone, over 500,000 tonnes of timber waste are disposed of each year, with industrial packaging such as pallets and crates commonly ending up in landfill sites or being pulverised into low-grade mulch as a means of disposal.

Amcor Flexibles will be supplying timber from their waste stream for the competition and participants will have 12 months to deconstruct the crate and design and produce their entry.

‘There are no constraints on the design and making process. The only limitations are the wood components of the crate and the artist’s imagination,’ said Petherbridge.

In previous years entries have been received from renowned practitioners including furniture designer Martin Davis and sculptors, Augustine D’allava and Emily Floyd. In 2003 John Sargeant, a Dandenong based woodworker, produced a violin from his crate.

Create from a Crate will be launched at the Victorian Woodworking Association Stand at the 2012 Working with Wood Show 19th-21st October. Melbourne Show Grounds, Epsom Road, Ascot Vale

‘It’s a great show with products, demonstrations, displays of woodwork, beautiful timbers and furniture exhibitions, and is attended by around 30,000 people over 3 days’ explained Elizabeth O’Brien from the Victorian Woodworkers Assocation.

  • For media interviews contact Ward Petherbridge on 0418 350 551 or
  • Images of previous entries and competition winners available on request
  • Website:

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