Making It Australia: meet the cast
Your guide to the 13 artisans and craft experts competing in 10 reality contest.
New reality contest Making It Australia, hosted by Susie Youssef and Harley Breen, features 13 artisans skilled in sewing to woodworking, papercrafts to pottery, and carving to crocheting.
Judged by Production Designer Deborah Riley, and Paper Engineer Benja Harney, they compete for the title of Master Maker and $100,000.
Each episode will focus on a theme that draws its inspiration from trends in crafting and DIY. Makers must complete two challenges per episode, with the winner earning a “patch.”
The series was filmed on a property north of Sydney by Eureka Productions.
Scrap Metal Artist, NSW
It would be wise not to underestimate Making It’s oldest maker. Andrew is a salt of the earth type of man from country NSW, with a real eye for metal work and highly acclaimed for his sculptures. Andrew discovered crafting thanks to his wife, simply by suggesting he go to the shed and try and get creative. He specialises in scrap metal work sculptures with additional experience in metal fabrication, drawing, cartooning and painting. His large-scale works have become tourist attractions for regional areas all across the east coast. Never short of a yarn, Andrew was raised on a farm and after boarding school, joined the military and spent time in armoured fighting vehicles. He’s also worked on road crash rescue teams and volunteered at his local bush fire brigade for over 12 years.
Plumber, South Australia
Specialising in metal fabrication, automotive modification (aka pimping a car) and electrics, this pocket rocket plumber describes himself as a perfectionist and oversharer. Dan credits his passion for making and creativity from his father, who served in the Airforce. Although Dan is a master plumber, he’s more a ‘Dan of all trades’ with experience in metalwork, woodwork, masonry, paper / cardboard, welding, silver and gold smithing, textiles, spray painting and foam. Outside of making, Dan is a keen gardener, beekeeper and loves modifying cars. Dan would put the prize money buying a gift for his wife… and building his electric hot rod, nicknamed Short Black.
Sculptor, Western Australia
Keeping active by riding her electric bicycle everywhere, Denise describes herself as “unapologetically decorative”. The coolest grandmother this side of the Making It barn, Denise is committed to her craft and her family. Working as a university lecturer in the arts and design department, Denise is also an accomplished artist with many of her pieces featuring in Cottlesloe’s Sculpture By The Sea. Denise specialises in large 3D metal and stainless-steel sculptures and skilled in welding, woodwork, textiles, paint finishes and knitting. Like many makers, her creative inspiration comes from friends, family and nature. The youngest of four daughters, she is married with two daughters and four grandchildren.
Prop Maker, NSW
Cheerful and strong-willed, George is an experienced props maker with a degree from NIDA to prove it. She has experience working in film, television, and corporate events including the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Vivid Sydney. Working across multiple disciplines including mural painting, drawing, welding, steelwork, and pattern making, George says she is most satisfied repairing or repurposing something, rather than throwing it away. Outside of making, George is a keen gardener, avid reader and loves to cook.
Jack is hard to forget. With a wardrobe almost exclusively procured from vintage stores along with his signature red beanie, this Melburnian is known to his mates as ‘the human firework’. Studying architecture in Tokyo, Jack spent a lot of his childhood in Indonesia where his father, also an architect, worked. Being inspired by the way things could be crafted by hand set him up on his future career path. While architecture is his primary profession, Jack also has experience with textile sewing, and casting work. Jack is an accomplished composer, piano and guitar player releasing his own solo material as well as recording soundtracks and effects for films. He’s even spent time in the WA Australian Circus Company for many years as a kid, performing acrobatics. Jack lives with his super supportive fiancé, Tegan who is a musician and budding ceramicist along with their dog, Disco.
Kids Entertainer/Crafter, South Australia
Confident and energetic; textiles are Kat’s specialty. Studying home economics in high school sparked her creative passion and she now makes her own clothes, bags, upholstery and quilts. Kat’s crafting skills help enhance her part time job as a children’s entertainer, wowing kids at birthday parties and special events with elaborate costumes and props. Inspired by the events happening around her, Kat is also a talented drawer and painter with experience working with wood and metal. The youngest of four children, she lives in Adelaide with her boyfriend, dog and cat. If Kat was crowned Master Maker, she would use the prize money to leave her corporate job and elevate her career as a colourful and frivolous entertainer.
Graphic Designer, NSW
Rehana’s love of crafting comes from her siblings. Her big sister would come home for the summer with a new crafting hobby, and Rehana would have to use those skills to keep her younger siblings entertained. Aside from her day job as a graphic designer, she also specialises in baking ridiculous cakes, painting, crocheting, paper craft and not to mention jewellery and fabric design. Rehana says she’s excited to immerse herself in the Making It world, with so many tools and materials to work with. With an Indian-South African background, this well travelled married mother of one is originally from WA, spent many years in Cape Town and is now based in Sydney.
Born in the Phillipines, Rizaldy moved to Australia 29 years ago with the offer of a dream job; animating for the Walt Disney Company. After his 14 years with Disney, his making skills went from 2D to 3D, eventually making tangible toys and characters from scratch. It was a full circle moment for him, as his father once did the same when the family couldn’t afford their own toys. Suitably, his motto is ‘why buy when you can DIY!’ From there, his skills flourished, and he now works comfortably with woodwork, metal, clay, leather, and recyclable materials. Rizaldy credits a lot of his inspiration and creativity to his two sons who are his world.
Born in Melbourne, then relocating to Adelaide and back to Melbourne as a teenager, Robert had a sliding doors moment where he was set to play football professionally, but chose to pursue art instead. Robert specialises in Aboriginal art, from painting to sculpting to woodcarving, all with the aim to celebrate Gunnai, Waradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta culture. His inspiration is undoubtedly his heritage, aiming to raise awareness and tell stories of his and his community’s mob. In 2018, Robert was fortunate enough to meet Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their Australian visit, when they came to view a mural he created that represented his local area. He has also created works for tennis star Novak Djokovic.
Costume Maker, Victoria
Making, is Russell’s way of giving. They love helping people sparkle and feel beautiful. Nonbinary, loveable and downright fabulous, Russell is our glamour expert. Working with countless drag artists and performers to elevate their looks; from wigs to feathers, crowns to dress making, they’ve got it covered. Spending a lot of time alone as a child, Russell turned to making as a way to keep themself entertained. Based in Melbourne with their husband, Russell and their sister was raised by a single mother who moved to Australia from Mauritius.
Mixed Media Artist, Victoria
Lush and over the top, Sai-Wai calls herself an all-rounder because she will try it all. Specialising in fashion design and mixed media sculpture, she also makes a lot of 3D pieces using paper, textiles and embroidery. With Chinese heritage, Sai-Wai was born in Maylasia and moved to Australia with her parents and two sisters in 1980. A Dolly Parton superfan, she will be the first to admit that she has no filter or volume control. Initially using making as a way to appease her anxiety, Sai-Wai’s family was initially taken aback by her career in design who had hopes of her becoming a lawyer or doctor.
Party Planning Mum, Victoria
An absolute super-woman to her two kids, Stephanie likes to spend months planning their parties with matching invites, decorations, table settings and costumes. Naturally, everything must adhere to theme and Stephanie has been known to create some unusual things such as cakes built on remote control cars, or hats with mini speakers in them. A glue gun connoisseur, her preferred materials are paper mâché and cardboard. She also has experience with a drop saw and sander, even helping her husband build a deck for their backyard. Coming from a Greek-Cypriot heritage, Stephanie works as learning support officer and, outside of crafting, loves to cook.
Apprentice Electrician, NSW
Even though Will is Making It’s youngest maker, we like to say he’s an old soul. Driven, hardworking and always up for learning new things, he wants to be part of Making It to inspire young people to get creative rather than just sitting in front of a screen. Will’s specialty is in metal work. He has strong experience in blacksmithing, knife making metal fabrication, woodwork as well as manipulating and treating leather. ‘Mucking about’ with tools at home, Will was introduced to making from his father at an early age, with the majority of his skills were self-taught, copying YouTube videos and replicating what he could find online.
Deborah Riley is best known for her award-winning work as the Production Designer on one of the most popular television series of all time, Game Of Thrones. Her role in helping bring the epic medieval fantasy to life earned her four consecutive Emmy awards, three Art Directors Guild Awards and a BAFTA. Deborah originally studied architecture in her hometown of Brisbane, graduating with a Bachelor of Design Studies (Architecture) at the University of Queensland in 1993. After a Tim Burton film inspired her to change paths and pursue stage design, Deborah enrolled at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and graduated three years later with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art (Design).
Benja Harney is renowned as a pioneer in his field, having worked both in Australia and internationally as a professional creative, artist and educator in the medium of paper. Through his studio Paperform, Benja has engineered bespoke paper constructions for some of the world’s leading brands including Google, Nike, Facebook and Hermès. Not to mention two of Australia’s most successful music exports – Kylie Minogue and SIA. From pop-up books, paper sculpture, installation, illustration, packaging, fine art, fashion, animation, set design – Benja makes anything and everything possible within this endlessly inventive material. Benja has spoken about paper illustration at the University Of Sydney (UTS), the Museum Of Contemporary Art (Sydney), and the National Gallery Of Victoria (Melbourne). He has conducted international workshops at the World Pop-Up Exhibition (South Korea), Graphika Design Conference (Manila) and Semi-Permanent Design Conference (Auckland).
Susie Youssef is a comedian, actor, writer and improviser who has written, performed and produced comedy for stage, radio and television in Australia and around the world. Susie is a regular co-host and correspondent on 10’s The Project, and a regular guest on 10’s Have You Been Paying Attention? Previously a core cast member on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia, Susie has had regular roles in Rosehaven, Squinters and No Activity and appeared in Get Krack!n, How Not To Behave, The Chaser’s Media Circus and The Checkout.
Making It Australia’s co-host Harley Breen is an award-winning comedian, television host and radio personality who has won over a legion of fans in Australia – and the globe – with his accessible and relatable stories and style. Harley appears regularly on television shows including 10’s Hughesy, We Have A Problem and The Project, as well as Best Bits and It’s A Date.
7:30pm Wednesday & Thursday on 10.