Katy Wallace has been designing furniture for 20 years. In this time she has been involved in commercial furniture development and production, contract design, and more recently handmade one-off design. Katy has taught design at both Unitec and AUT University. Almost seven years ago Katy and her partner left their Auckland base and moved to Gisborne where they were able to buy a ½ acre property with a house and numerous vented sheds that were built in the 1960s to grow mushrooms. It is here where they set up their studios and where since 2009 Katy’s mechanical alter ego, the Transmogrifier Machine has had a home.
Through this ‘machine’ Katy presents an array of found items of unloved and discarded furniture, often sourced locally, that have undergone transformation under Katy’s careful and attentive eye. Familiar forms are reanimated and modified, making the furniture new again, moving items from the op-shop to the gallery floor to be seen in a whole new light. Katy makes original, usable and collectible pieces giving these overlooked items new value.
In a consumerist world where buying new, rather than re-purposing is the norm, Katy demonstrates that even the most dowdy and unassuming item of furniture can be made new again through the hands of a skilled maker who throws in a healthy dose of wit and whimsy for good measure.
The Transmogrifier Collection has been seen at Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne, MTG in Napier and Objectspace in Auckland, the Sarjeant Gallery is the final venue for the collection.