• Banksia Gifts Australia

    February 24, 2021 • LIFE, STORIES

    Banksia Gifts Australia has been operating since 1985, supplying the world with beautiful products crafted from the Australian native, Banksia Grandis seed pod.

    At the early age of 15 years old, Anthony Hansen first began experimenting with Australian native timber and is now one of Australia’s leading and award-winning craftsmen. Formally working with metal, he transitioned to working with wood in 1983 when he was living in a rainforest environment on the south coast of New South Wales. It was here when Tony fell in love with this natural material.

    Tony’s ability to turn a piece of wood into a work of art stems from his dedicated love for the materials he uses, primarily native timber from Australia. His love of developing Australian made products quickly transformed when he discovered the Banksia Grandis and what he was able to create with it. It was out of sheer curiosity that Anthony’s wife, Liz, suggested he carve a small circular Banksia pod with a perforated centre to put her essential oils in. Shortly after discovering the porous nature of the Banksia Seed Pod, the Aroma Pod was born.

    The Plant
    With their knobbly, furry seed pods, their striking flower and their fascinating ability to regenerate by fire, Banksia plants are uniquely Australian and native to this continent. Banksia plant varieties range from low, ground-hugging shrubs to trees that can grow to 30 meters tall, with 170 different species such as Banksia Grandis found in the South West of Western Australia whose large seed pods provide the raw material for Banksia Gifts Australia’s range.

    The Banksia Grandis, commonly known as the Bull Banksia is one of the larger Banksia varieties growing to a height of 5 to 15 meters tall with a flower that can grow to approximately 35 centimetres long. It takes 24 months for the Banksia tree to produce flowers and for the nuts to reach maturity and be suitable for picking. The Banksia trees ability to repeatedly regrow its seed pods makes it an incredibly renewable resource.

    Sustainably Harvested
    The Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia highly regulate the collection of Banksia Grandis. Banksia Gifts Australia pays a royalty to the Western Australian Forestry for every seed pod collected which aids in forest management and conservation.

    “When collecting the seed pods, we have to ensure that the landscape is undisturbed and that the Banksia trees continue to thrive in the Australian bush. The seed pods we collect have expelled their seeds and have completed the lifecycle of the plant. Our pickers go in to the bush on foot and are careful not to disturb any surrounding plants or wildlife. They don’t use any heavy machinery; all of the seeds pods are handpicked in a way that doesn’t damage the tree itself or the surrounding Australian bushland,” said Anthony.

    Pickers are designated specific areas to collect the seeds pods and can only harvest 10% of the pods within the area. The areas also continually change to ensure they’re never depleted.

    Crafting products
    Once Anthony receives the seed pods his team of experienced tradesmen use traditional woodworking techniques to craft them into beautiful products. Each pod is cut into sections and put on a woodturning lathe. A chisel is then used to shave away the outside of the seed pod revealing its unique pattern. The products are hand sanded with up to three grades of paper, then polished with 100% Australian Canola Oil to enhance the Banksia pod’s natural colour.

    Over the years, Anthony and Liz have experimented making other products from Banksia seed pods including coasters, tea light candle holders and Christmas decorations. Every Banksia product has its own unique qualities and you will never find two the same. Each product has a combination of rough edges (the outside of the seed pod), holes where the seeds once were and a red velvety fur. These attributes are a completely natural part of the seed pod and what makes these products special.

    Banksia Gifts Australia products here >

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