Marc Harrison is a ‘wood whisperer’. A problem-solver, artist and furniture maker, he turns macadamia shell and timber into desirable, beautiful objects that have become icons of Australia under his brand Husque.
It’s Marc’s story that is launching Australian Macadamias new consumer campaign. Called Macadamia Change Makers, it will shine a spotlight on Australian brands and achievers using macadamias in creative and life-enriching ways.
Watch the first campaign video now:
Feeding a hungry audience
Australian Macadamias fans are eager to be informed and inspired about the macadamia experience. Our Australian audience in particular, is not afraid to experiment, explore and embrace the new, and they’re seeking brands they can believe in, and products they feel good investing their energy, interest and money in.
This new campaign, which will run in Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea, is an invitation for consumers around the world to discover, uncover and explore, as we share stories of people and brands that are breaking new ground with macadamias.
Learning about an Australian icon
Originally from New Zealand, Marc Harrison came to Australia aged 14, dreaming of adventure. It was here he had his first encounter with a macadamia tree, while renovating a house as a tradesman in Brisbane.
“There was a macadamia tree there, and that’s when I first experienced how hard the shell is. I began by trying to crack it with a rock, graduating to a hammer and then finally a ring spanner. I eventually understood the point of it all when I experienced how amazing the nut tastes,” Marc recalls.
This first encounter helped Marc understand the importance of macadamias to the Australian psyche. Then a residency with a furniture manufacturing company opened his eyes to the incredible possibilities of macadamia shell as a material.
“I was always very interested in doing things a little bit differently,” he says. “I wanted to try and combine art and manufacturing together and see if we could come up with some unusual solutions.”
The shaping of a new icon
Marc knew that Spanish companies were using waste almond shells to make coffins, so when a supplier showed him some pure macadamia shell powder he began experimenting. He combined the powdered macadamia shell with resin to create a beautiful smooth material that he shaped into his signature macadamia-shaped bowls that are now icons of Australian design.
“The macadamia shell has great thermal quality, so it’s nice to touch. It adjusts to your body temperature when you’re holding it. That gives it a certain tactile quality,” he explains.
Made by hand in Marc’s studio, the bowls are for sale through Husque and local galleries. Oprah Winfrey was presented with one as an official gift when she toured Australia in 2010.
The macadamia wood project
Marc’s current project uses macadamia tree wood to craft beautiful and unique furniture handles. Many growers appreciate the beautiful grain in the macadamia wood that they prune from their orchards, but Marc says it’s a challenging material to work with.
“Within a matter of days and weeks the timber starts to split, making it very hard to actually do anything with. It doesn’t season nicely and evenly,” he explains. Marc had to develop techniques that would work with very short, thick and gnarly bits of wood, and that’s where his creativity as an artist came in.
“The real breakthrough came when I looked at veneering the timber while it’s still green, before it’s even had a chance to dry out. Eventually I got to a point where I could cut a branch off the macadamia tree in the morning, and have this veneered, moulded handle by the afternoon. A tree limb the size of my arm can yield between 20 and 40 handles.”
Art meets industry
Although Marc’s products are at the forefront of industrial design, he approaches his work as an artist and maker first, letting the materials speak to him as he works with them. It’s that hands-on creativity that has allowed Marc to innovate so successfully with macadamias.
“Macadamias are a big part of Australia, and they’re becoming a big part of the world,” he says. “They’re a big part of my life too. In fact, I would say that Husque is my life’s work.”
Be sure to watch Marc’s story and stay tuned for more Macadamia Change Makers coming soon.