New Zealand born Wendie McCaffley spent the first 12 years of her working life pursuing her passion of designing & making clothes for men and women. Several retail shops and workrooms later in N.Z, London, Melbourne and Sydney she teamed up with Guido Gouverneur. Inspired by the Baroque architecture they saw in their travels together they produced an 'Iconic' range of jewelery, which was snapped up in Paris - a creative partnership was born.
In 1987 they established Wrought Artworks in Sydney. Wendie initially saw her role as business administrator, publicist and collaborator in design. However the process, the skills, and the creative result were so alluring that along with the move into 'The Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop' in 1991 Wendie enrolled at Tafe & was apprenticed to Guido in the trade of blacksmithing.
Eveleigh was a huge undertaking. They had to not only re-establish the operational workshop, keep business coming through the door, pay apprentices and themselves, but they also had to lobby for the workshops survival with development on its doorstep.
The blacksmithing bays have survived the site redevelopment into The Australian Technology Park, as has Wrought Artworks.
As designer-maker, McCaffley draws on a broad range of influences and styles that span the antique to the modern. Reflected in the breadth of her work - from traditional forged black chandeliers to mid-century modern style room dividers, is a unique blend of technical virtuosity combined with experience gained from commissions, from backgrounds in fashion and 'trend-spotting' to everyday life working beneath the imposing trusses of one of the world's great Victorian Industrial cathedrals - The Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop.
This is part of the romance of a McCaffley piece...the ability to not only conceive a design but to personally produce some of the work by her own hand. Her personal design aesthetic is not about a given formula; it is conceived with an understanding of the clients requirements, by broadening on the scope of the blacksmith's genre and perhaps incorporating traces of the past with a contemporary twist, to turn ironwork from a necessity into a new and refreshing feature.
Wendie also is being recognized as an up and coming sculptor. Her forged iron mid-century sculptures can be viewed here.