Banksia, Banksia, Banksia. Where to begin?
How about a few interesting facts firstly?
Flowers and Fruits
The flower heads on a Banksia are amazing. They are made up of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of tiny individual flowers grouped together in pairs. The colour of the flowers usually range from yellow to red.
The fruits of banksias are hard and woody and are often grouped together.
The fruits protect the seeds from foraging animals and from fire. I never realised they were called fruit until just recently, they look like hard seed pods. In many species the fruits will not open until they have been burnt or completely dried out. We even open some of the fruits by putting them in an oven and cooking them for a short while.
The fruit opens to reveal the seed inside.
I came across amazing things made from Banksia via instagram. I soon discovered they were made from the Banksia Grandis, which only grows in Western Australia.
A nice gentleman offered to send me a box of them to try my hand at turning, but I decided that to make them out of Tasmanian banksias would be more appropriate. So, we set out on our Banksia discovery journey.
We found some big ones, Banksia Serrata. they are big and beautiful but are a proper pain to turn. The fruit is so hard it becomes quite hazardous to cut and to turn on the lathe. But we have made other products using them.
Other Banksias have since come to light which I have managed to turn into pens and cheese knife handles. The varieties that grow in Tasmania are not big enough for anything else. But we are not complaining about that. The results are amazing.
That being said, making things out of Banksia is not easy, at all! They are hard to use. They need to be processed multiple times to produce a good result. But they are unique and deliver lovely products with a bit of help.