Makers’ Workshop: The Amazing Artisan Hub Of Burnie

The Makers’ Workshop is a must-see destination for art lovers and history fans.

Due to financial hardship, the local council has decided to close The Makers' Workshop and cease the Creative Paper Tours. It's unsure if/when they may be reopened.

Perched above the foreshore, overlooking Burnie Beach in north-west Tasmania sits a unique metallic cubed building, which is home to the Makers’ Workshop.

Opened in 2009, the Makers’ Workshop is a combination of time capsule, art gallery, museum and cafe purpose-built to showcase the regions unique history, produce, people and craftsmanship.

Makers’ Workshop Foyer

The main foyer of the Markers Workshop is an eclectic mix of items and information.

Learn about Burnie’s industrial connection to the forestry industry, such as its fascinating history with paper. Read about the paper mill that helped turn Burnie into the city of makers and the rare and much sought after Tasmanian woods used for crafting around the world. Or view Burnie’s more recent connection to paper with modern art pieces like the papier-mâché sculptures and knitted paper clothing.

Life-size statue of a woman crafted with papier-mâché
Life-size statue crafted with papier-mâché

If the paper doesn’t interest you, then don’t despair. You’ll also discover Tasmania’s connection to the medical industry and be able to view some amazing machinery from the past and present inside the wonderful display cabinets and drawers located throughout the foyer.

Paper Making Tour

Creative Paper Tasmania hosts a fascinating hands-on 30-minute paper making tour where you get to learn the art of producing hand made paper.

The tour encompasses the entire papermaking process beginning with sourcing recycled materials, processings those materials, through to producing the finished product.

Beginning in the pulping room, the tour guide will explain the machines and techniques used to prepare the outrageous materials used to create this unique Tasmanian paper.

And when I say outrageous, I mean outrageous! What sets Creative Paper Tasmania apart is their focus on using eco-friendly and rather unusual renewable materials in their paper making process.

Everything from recycled denim, cloth, hemp and apple to the more exotic kangaroo and wombat poo all make their way into some truly unique paper.

Paper made with hemp fibres by Creative Paper Tasmania
Paper made with hemp fibres
Paper made with wombat poo fibres by Creative Paper Tasmania
Paper made with wombat poo fibres

With the pulp processed and ready to use, it’s time to learn the next steps in the papermaking process. Watch as the tour guide demonstrates how the pulp is suspended in water, framed and shaped to form individual sheets of paper and how the excess liquid is removed before the final drying process.

Collecting the water suspended pulp into a wooden paper frame to create hand made paper
Collecting the water suspended pulp into the paper frame

Be prepared to get your hands wet during this hands-on interactive tour as the finale involves you putting what you’ve learned into practice and making your very own sheet of handmade paper.

The Makers’ Program

The Makers’ Program brings together a vast range of local artisans who specialise in different art forms, mediums and techniques. Each artisan crafts and displays their works inside an artisan pod, which are small cubby house pods on wheels located throughout the Makers’ Workshop.

Silver ring imprinted and shaped with a leaf design displayed on a finger
Ring imprinted and shaped with a leaf design

The range of crafts on display is enormous, ranging from the well-known arts of woodturning, painting and jewellery making to the fascinating and more unusual art forms, such as miniature picture making. The range of mediums is equally as enormous and includes glass, textiles, wood, paint, metals and even eggshells. There are so many unique mediums and techniques being used at the Makers’ Workshop that it’s impossible to mention them all.

Purple felt purse with vertical coloured stripes with engraved metal clasp
Beautifully detailed and colourful hand made felt purse

While being surrounded by all the amazing artwork is a wonderful experience in itself, the real highlight of the Makers’ Workshop is the opportunity to watch the artists in action as they craft beautiful pieces right in front of your eyes.

Silver pendant containing a wax painted forest landscape
Pendant containing a wax painted forest landscape

It’s an excellent opportunity to engage with the artists directly and learn more about their art, inspiration and unique crafting methods. The artists are all keen to share their knowledge and love of their particular medium with visitors.

Many of the pieces have an interesting back story behind their creation, such as a beautiful pair of earrings that are crafted from recycled water cylinders or a wooden recorder that took six months of trial and error to handcraft.

Tarnished copper and emerald green earrings displayed on colourful scarves
Copper earrings crafted from old recycled water cylinders

If you’re looking for that special one of a kind gift, or maybe a treat for yourself, then you cannot beat the Makers’ Workshop gift shop, which stocks local foods, souvenirs and the work of the artisans.

The Cheese Shop And Cafe

With Tasmania’s lush green pastures and top quality milk, it’s no surprise that Tasmania produces some stunning award-winning cheeses. And thankfully for the cheese lover in all of us, you’re able to samples a wide variety at the Makers’ Workshop Cheese Shop.

The Cheese Shop has a fantastic range of Tasmania’s best cheeses available for tasting so you can choose your favourite and purchase to enjoy later.

The Makers’ Workshop also has a lovely cafe with beautiful views. Order a tasty light meal or enjoy a coffee and cake while overlooking the ocean.

Makers’ Workshop Visitor Information Centre

If you’re looking for information on tours, accommodation or attractions on the Cradle Coast or wish to purchase a Tasmanian National Parks Pass, then the accredited Makers’ Workshop visitor information centre is the place to visit.

Speak to one of the friendly information centre staff who can help you craft your perfect itinerary using their local knowledge or browse the comprehensive information board which provides pamphlets and brochures highlighting the local tours, food experiences and attractions in the area.

Tour Price

Paper making tour prices:

  • Adult: 15 AUD
  • Child: 8 AUD (5-14 years. Under 5 years free)
  • Family: 40 AUD (2 Adults, 2 Children)

Tour Times

Paper making tour times:

Tours depart daily at 10:00, 10:45, 11:30, 12:45, 13:30, 14:15, 15:00 and 15:45.

Exceptions: Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, ANZAC Day, New Years Day and Good Friday.

Entry Price

Entry to Makers’ Workshop is free.

Opening Hours

Makers’ Workshop is open daily from 09:00-17:00.

Exceptions: Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, ANZAC Day, New Years Day and Good Friday.

Check the official website for up to date information.

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Seating
  • Car park
  • Gift shop
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
  • Meals

Location

Address: 2 Bass Highway, Burnie. Tasmania, Australia.

Click to view the map to Makers’ Workshop.

When To Visit

Makers’ Workshop can be visited year-round.

Suggested Timeframe

Allow 1-2 hours.

Conclusion

The Makers’ Workshop is a fantastic destination for those who wish to learn more about the history of Burnie and those who admire handcrafted workmanship. Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time here as the place is jam-packed with interesting information and artworks around every corner.

Nearby Attractions

This site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. If you make a purchase via these links, we receive a referral commission, without any extra cost to you. This helps us fund the blog and continue to share our content with you. Read our legal page for more info.