Jonny Gloyne was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1965 and even as a child always had an interest in wood.
When 12 years old, his family went for a holiday to Sydney. Visiting ‘Old Sydney Town’ where olden days were re-enacted, he met an old wood turner who turned a goblet. Young Jonny was in awe!
A few years later at age 15, still at school, Jonny went to night classes at Hodd Academy to learn how to carve dining room and grandmother chairs out of Brazilian Mahogany. That was the time when his love for dark timber colour was born.
After leaving school, Jonny started working in the building trade, but quickly became bored and left Adelaide for the NT to become a Jackaroo and eventually a bore man.
5 years later he was offered the opportunity to manage a sheep farm on Kangaroo Island, so he left NT and moved to KI, learning the shearing trade as well as wool classing.
Whilst there he soon learned about the beauty and potential of Kangaroo Island Red Gum Wood thanks to an old chap, who was a soldier settler who made fence posts. He taught Jonny that Red Gum was good to work with, as it was good to cut, had beautiful texture and was good to shape with tools.
Jonny bought his first quality wood lathe and started turning in a small shed using his house to sell some of his products as a side income.
After 1 year he realised that people loved his work and he could actually try to make a living turning wood which he’d always dreamed of. He then built a wood turning studio on his property next to his house located in the centre of Kangaroo Island where he could access a variety of areas to harvest wood.
This was the beginning of the realisation of a man’s dream and Jonny never stopped as he followed his passion to turn beautiful Kangaroo Island Red Gum varieties into exquisite pieces of functional art which he sells today all over the world.
From intricately stylish pens to uniquely shaped salt and pepper grinders to stunning bowls and lazy Suzan’s, he provides a variety of designs and shapes.
However one night in 2014 disaster struck!
An electrical fault resulted in the complete loss of his wood workshop and livelihood, as his lathe, all tools and all completed artworks burned to a heap of ashes within 20 minutes.
Devastated and robbed of his possessions or any means of income, Jonny had to use his passion and strong belief in himself and his craftsmanship to start rebuilding the studio as well as a charming old cottage which he now rents out as accommodation for tourists visiting Kangaroo Island.
For 6 months as he was rebuilding the studio (having bought a new lathe and tools) he turned pieces outside on the back veranda of his house in challenging conditions to keep up with orders and provide some income.
After 2 years of hardship and incredible resilience Jonny was able to start turning wood inside a workshop and producing his famous trademark pieces of functional art yet again. He has been working on large commissions as well as unique orders for businesses and private customers.
His work evolves constantly and he is always looking for unique ways to work with the beautiful timber provided by the Island.
Jonny also discovered his enthusiasm to teach his craft to interested people who came into his shop and started to share his passion and skill. He now divides his time between teaching and turning wood … living his dream yet again.
Today, you can meet Jonny at the Gallery as he crafts another unique piece in front of your eyes. He always has a captivating story to tell! Make sure you stop in at the Australian Red Gum Gallery on your drive down to Flinders Chase National Park or Stokes Bay. Jonny is just around the corner.