Leife's Rocking Horse

Repaired by Liam Mugavin

Leife’s rocking horse was made for her in the 1970s by her grandfather, who had learnt cabinetry from her great grandfather. Just as these woodworking skills have been passed down from generation to generation, so to has the horse. Leife recalls her daughter rocking madly on it when she was young. The rocking horse was never considered elegant. It was robust and functional, lasting for more than 40 years before the head eventually broke off due to rusted steel screws.

Repairer Liam Mugavin, also from a family of cabinetmakers, honoured the form of the horse and mended the neck joint with dowel and brass. The mend is highly visible, not hidden – a scar that marks the site of the original injury providing a continuous narrative as the horse moves into a new phase of life.

Design Repairer: Liam Mugavin

Liam designs and makes furniture, lighting and spaces. His practice focuses on traditional techniques, unconventional forms and integrity of materials. A prominent feature of his work is the play between repetition, void and architectonic forms. An aptitude for making and appetite for pushing the boundaries forms the backbone of his practice. After working in northern Japan for four years, Liam returned to Australia in 2013 to train at the Jam Factory in Adelaide. Having gained national recognition and a wide client base, his studio is now based in Sydney where he works on products, commissions and interiors.

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Leife's Rocking Horse. Repaired by Liam Mugavin. Photos by Lee Grant. Image copyright Hotel Hotel.