Hi there!
My name is Olivia,

I specialise in woodcarving, handmade rocking horses and rocking horse restoration, I am living and working in South Gippsland, Victoria.

I grew up on a farm on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula. It was the perfect environment to develop a love for natural materials, such as wood and leather, and to appreciate the beauty of the countryside.

A love of working with timber led me to I study Furniture Design and Construction at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, for one year before being accepted into the competitive Prop Making course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. During this three-year specialised degree, I worked with wood, leather, foam-sculpting, model- and mould-making and puppet making.

After graduating from NIDA in 2011, I worked as a Prop Maker and Scenic Artist for a wide variety of shows and films in Sydney and London. These included work as Saddle maker for War Horse (Royal National Theatre London), Head of Properties (Sydney Opera House), Scenic Artist (Opera Australia and FOX Films), and Properties Supervisor (NIDA). These jobs allowed me to further develop my practical making and painting skills.

In 2013, I realised it was time for a sea change. I wanted to return to regional Victoria and surround myself with the countryside and natural materials that had inspired me in my childhood.

I left Sydney, and set up my workshop and studio on a picturesque farm amongst the rolling hills of Berry’s Creek, South Gippsland, where I spend my days carving and restoring rocking horses.

In 2017 I was awarded the George Alexander Fellowship from the International Specialised Skills Institute which led me to America in early 2018 where I studied traditional carving with Mary May and wooden carousel carving, painting and restoration with Rosa Patton. I have also spent time learning 16th Century pattern carving with Peter Follansbee.

Carving tools for my classes are supplied by Carbatec. Please use promo code OLIVIA10 when shopping online with Carbatec to receive a 10% discount (conditions apply).

Olivia O'Connor, woodcarver and artist with sculpture art

Photo by Fred Kroh for Lost Trades