Chanelle Lum had just returned from a hiking and camping trip on the East Coast when I caught her on the phone – though there had been no surfing this time.
“I might head off again tomorrow if there’s some surf to try and get some in before work on the weekend,” Lum said. “It’d be nice to get out on the water now that I've got a bit more time.”
It was a university course – now almost completed – that pulled Lum to Tasmania, but her other interests certainly followed.
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“When I finished schooI I started a course and didn’t like it, and just ended up bolting and working on properties for probably about 3 or 4 years,” Lum laughed. “All along the east coast of the mainland; All beef cattle properties.”
That first course, exercise physiology, wasn’t really for Lum – who found much more satisfaction on the land or in the farm sheds across contract fencing and mustering jobs with her eight-year-old kelpie, Ruby.
“I loved just being out,” she said. “Waking up with a purpose and something to do or something to fix, and going to sleep exhausted, mentally and physically.”
She continued: “On my weekends, because I didn’t really know anyone in town - and it’s always quite difficult to make friends in smaller towns - I’d just tinker in the workshop and make stuff for my house and renovate the house.”
After some problems at a more recent job, Lum returned home to Sydney – before coming across the Strait to study last year.
“When I started doing furniture electives and majoring in it in my degree, I decided that’s actually more what I wanted to focus on and got suggested that this course would be great,” Lum reflected.
“I got a love of it during my time on the properties.”
That course allowed Lum to tap into a passion for working with her hands – and working hard – on work with physical outcomes.
At present her furniture, made under the name Two Woods, sits at the join where farmhouse practicality meets Scandinavian aesthetics.
“I guess that I’m sort of trying to channel what I loved about that,” she said.
“Hopefully I can show people in 50 years time it’s much better to have a beautiful piece of furniture that was made with a story behind it and has come down from generation to generation.
“Maybe there are scratches on it, but that scratch was from that big Christmas lunch or something,” she joked.
“They’re all memories, and I think memories are important.”
Lum has continued to pick up herding work on farms, and hopes to continue that into the future too. But, really, she has fallen in love with the East.
“I think I’d like to move closer … just to be a bit closer to the coast to surf.”
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