Surrounded by the history of one of the original Miners' Cottages situated on Hartley Valley Road, Rhonda likes to get creative using her dining room table as a work space.
"My hubby has lived in this house 30 plus years, I have been here for nearly 11. With my name being Rhonda and his Al, we called it Rhondal Cottage and it's just stuck," she said.
This talented woman spends hours creating colourful boards, bowls, mugs, jewellery and more at Rhondal Cottage.
"I have always been crafty."
"I used to make cards but I got bored with that and years ago I used to tinker around with resin and paints and I suppose with Covid-19 and not having much to do anymore I just got straight back into it," she said.
She dusted off her supply box from the shed and took over her dining room table for production.
Rhonda said she liked to keep her supplies Australian made and Lithgow local.
"All our timber boards are handmade for us by a timber man down in Tahmoor," she said.
She said once the boards arrived her husband would linish them and she would paint or resin them.
"...or I cut little holes, I hand paint the bowls for on top of them too and they get kiln baked so they are microwave and dishwasher safe."
Rhonda said she also resined coasters which were heat resistant with a special cork backing.
"We use industrial cork, it's a bit stronger," she said.
When asked how she comes up with different styles for each product, Rhonda said it was often a case of "going with the flow".
"It comes to me how I feel. Sometimes I look at things and they're all wrong, ugly or whatever.
"Some things, if I stuff that bad, go into the fireplace nobody knows I've stuffed up," she laughed.
She said using resin could be temperamental so she tried to be persistent when creating her products.
"Resin is very for heat, the weather has to be sort of the same because if it's too cold it withdraws and cracks.
"If it's too hot it sets really quickly, so I try to sit in here of a night time at the same temperature," she said.
"It can take up to 24 hours to cure the resin and the colors can still keep moving into each other."
Rhonda said it also took a day sand back the boards or coasters and tape them up ready for resin or painting.
More from the Made in Lithgow series:
- Lotamore Farm Harvest is producing delicious homemade products for the region
- Hartley-based blacksmith Ron Fitzpatrick the hands behind stunning sculptures, mirrors and jewellery
- Honeysuckle Produce distributing ethically and sustainably grown beef
- Nanna's Touch Sue Murdoch creates sensory products for people in need
- Treasured Creations' Alyssa Muldoon creates cards for all occasions
- Lithgow's Mandy Clarke gives neglected furniture a fresh look and a new life
- Samantha's 'crochet creations' include scarves, beanies and Kombi Vans
As for the jewellery, Rhonda makes earrings, bracelets and pendants to name a few.
"I have little scalpel and molds, dyes and paints that I use.
"Some of the pieces are glass cabochon dipped in resin or hand painted, and then resined," she said.
"Whatever I feel like at the time is what I do. Once they've been dipped I then glue bail on and I resin the back again so the bail will never come off."
When asked what she enjoyed most about creating colourful products, Rhonda said it was the end result.
"I just like throwing things together and seeing how it comes out at the end.
"I also like that nothing is the same. I can probably hand paint things the same but when it comes to resin I can't redo, they're one of a kind, totally unique," she said.
Rhonda hoped now with Covid-19 settling down, she could get out to markets and continue to sell her products.
"I'm going to try and get into more markets but I want to take it further," she said.
Price range for products:
- Earrings $10
- Pendants $15-$20
- Coasters $15-$20
- Timber boards depending on size and accessories $40-$75
You can order products through the Rhondal Cottage Facebook page.