Leather Alchemy - Grainger Museum

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Garry Greenwood's Leather Alchemy

Biographical Details

Garry Greenwood was born in Kent, England in 1943. His father was employed by the British Colonial Service and as a result the family moved frequently and Garry experienced various English boarding schools. After leaving school, he was apprenticed as a sign-writer and screen-printer while also attending Reigate Art School in Surrey.

When the family emigrated to Adelaide, Australia in 1962, Garry worked for Claude Neon and eventually established his own graphic design company in Sydney. During this period he became active in the folk music scene and developed a strong interest in playing bluegrass.

Following his marriage to weaver Gail Whitehead, Garry went into commercial gallery management. He purchased the historic Bowerbank flourmill in Deloraine, Tasmania and converted it into a residence, studio and exhibition space. The gallery became a well-recognised institution within Tasmanian artistic community as it providing a showcase for not only Garry and Gail’s own work, but also for items by prominent Tasmanian artists and craftspeople. Gail exhibited her woven pieces and Garry began by working with marcramé techniques but by the mid 1970s he was working almost exclusively with leather.

In 1982, the Canberra School of Art employed him as a senior lecturer and as head of the leather workshop – one of a series of workshops established in the style of a European master’s studio. As well as training students to become proficient in wet forming/moulding, laminating and carving, he reinforced an understanding of sculptural concepts.

After returning to Tasmania in 1989, Garry re-established a studio in Deloraine and later in Launceston. A long-term interest in theatre motivated him to work with the Launceston Repertory Theatre, designing everything from sets to props to promotional posters. He also worked extensively with TasDance, Tasmania’s oldest contemporary dance company.

Until his death in 2005, Garry lived and worked just below the snowline on rugged Mount Barrow in Tasmania’s north-east with his partner of 15  years, Lyn Evans, a musician and educator who collaborated with Garry on numerous projects.

Garry Greenwood’s work is represented nationally and internationally in many prominent collections, including the:

  • National Gallery of Australia
  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • Art Gallery of Australia
  • Art Gallery of Western Australia
  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
  • Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
  • University of Tasmania
  • Grainger Museum, The University of Melbourne
  • Victoria Arts Centre Collection
  • Australian Embassy, Washington DC
  • Art of Leather Colomer Collection, Barcelona
  • Beta Shoe Museum, Toronto
  • German Leather and Shoe Museum, Offenbach
  • Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum, Waalwijk
  • Art in Public Places Program, Hawaii

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Date created:
17 December 2008
Last modified:
19 May 2011 13:46:14
Authoriser:
Director, Grainger Museum
Maintainer:
Grainger Museum
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