Buvette Masthead

Future Generation: Chelsea Lemon

Emma Macdonald

When is a table a piece of art?

When it is a meticulously hand-crafted plateau of geometric splices of wood that almost create an optical illusion. Chelsea Lemon’s ‘Granger Table’ is indicative of the artist’s style. Her award-winning furniture and woodwork often includes foliage and plant themes, mixed with the technique of parquetry.

At just 24 Chelsea has already notched up an impressive CV.

She was awarded the Peter and Lena Karmel Honours Scholarship and graduated in 2015 from the ANU with Honours in a Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in Furniture Design.

Chelsea received the 2014 Designcraft: Craft + Design People’s Choice Award for her Triangulation Chair as well as the Craft ACT Exhibition Award to showcase her chair in the 2015 ‘Emerging Contemporaries’ exhibition.


She has exhibited in a number of galleries in both Canberra and Melbourne and completed residencies at the Sturt Craft & Design Centre and as a graduate at the ANU School of Art.

Her work questions archetypical furniture, and showcases a new and fresh approach to a traditional woodworking – offer a new perspective on furniture design within Australia.

What do you love about wood and are you attracted to working with other materials?

The natural qualities of wood are beautiful, containing different grain textures and colours. Timber is also a renewable source. I mainly work with timber as this is my skill area, although it is great to collaborate with other designers who have knowledge and skills with other materials.

What inspires you to take functional furniture and move it into the artistic realm? Isn’t a chair ultimately going to be sat upon?

There are so many chairs in the world, why make more chairs that look similar to the previous and only have one function! I aim to create designs that are unique and form conversation. My work is often functional, yet can be viewed as an art piece when not in use. I have a love for plants, so by incorporating this theme into furniture I can bring the ‘outside’ into the home.

Do your designs require patience?

The parquetry process can take hours and needs to be precise. It does take patience and I am continually problem-solving and concentrating on the grain orientation.

What would be your ultimate design prize or accomplishment?

Continuing to challenge design, being active in the creative community, and creating work that produces an income. I believe that is an accomplishment in itself, as creating furniture doesn’t feel like a ‘job’ – I love what I do.

Read the entire Future Generation series here

Photography by Martin Ollman

This article originally appeared as part of our Future Generation editorial in Magazine: Future for Winter 2017, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here.  



Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author