Our association's humble beginnings started with the concept of a Brisbane Knifemaking Club. This was first raised on an online forum as it was clear that there was very little formal support provided to knifemaking enthusiasts in Queensland.
On 18 December 2016, the first meeting of potential members was held. 42 people attended to show their interest and support for a club to be formed.
As the meeting progressed it became apparent that almost 50% of those attending had little to no experience. There were a wide variety of crafts represented at the meeting, including knifemakers, blacksmiths, an engraver, a sword maker, wood workers and leather workers. All artisans expressed a keen interest to have the club open to all these crafts, and were keen to earn more about each other’s crafts. There is little, if any, formal training available in Australia in many of these crafts, so the idea of meeting and sharing knowledge and skills at small events or workshops was very enthusiastically taken up.
It became apparent that the initial aim of the club to set up a show would become a long-term goal, with the immediate need being training, supporting and mentoring those who wish to improve their skills. The Club's charter is to freely share skills that are rapidly becoming lost.
A not for profit incorporated association was formed which became the Queensland Metal Artisans Collective. QMAC was incorporated in March 2017.
Cooneana Heritage Centre
While an important part of the Association is the ability to meet up in small groups, QMAC began investigating options for a permanent home. A few months later, the Ipswich Historical Society (IHS) generously provided QMAC a new home at Cooneana Heritage Centre in Redbank Plains.
The IHS has recently provided a space to QMAC to build a workshop that will house all our members, and cater for their diverse crafts. We are in process of building our new workshop which will consist of a workshop, a container and a roof spanning the gap. Our plan is to ensure the look and feel of the workshop fit in with the Heritage Centre.
Although the concept of a workshop at Cooneana has been approved, QMAC will need to use its funds and labour to complete the workshop before we can purchase equipment. As the association is in its infancy, funding is a major stumbling block to be overcome.
We are seeking donations and will be actively fundraising to build our workshop, so that we can accommodate metal artisans of all description, and provide them with the opportunity to learn and share their skills freely.