Katy Wallace observes that "New Zealand is saturated with discarded furniture located in demo yards, house-lot auctions, traders, and on the side of the road. I have always considered this low status material as a significant waste, and as a 'fuel' in waiting to be worked into a new entity."


Transmogrifier showcases the beginning of a new body of work in which Wallace treats this 'fuel' to her unique and successful design process. Transmogrifier incorporates methods of "fragmentation, collage, reduction and shaping, to explore a variety of deconstruction and construction techniques drawing on handcraft and workshop practices: achieving highly crafted original pieces that dislodge the perception of what is waste or worth. Value is approached in different ways through the pieces, drawing from both furniture and non-furniture contexts, exploring character, sentimentality, craftsmanship, or aesthetics to reinstate worth to peoples leftovers."

Although there are obvious ethical reasons for design that utilizes material waste, Wallace notes that she is primarily interested in advancing discourse via an active making practice. Drawing on a range of skills and principles, "the emphasis of the project is in exploring and forming a new methodology for my practice that will allow my work to grow into specialised one-off production and provide a foundation to produce works that will be original, innovative, and relevant to current social and environmental concerns."


Katy Wallace would like to acknowledge the support of Creative New Zealand and Paulus McKinnon.




Katy Wallace is a contemporary furniture designer, lecturer and curator based in Gisborne.

Katy Wallace, Transmogrifier, 2010.