Jonny Baxter came to Chippendale following a 4-year stint in timber frame construction in Northern Ireland. 10 months on and he has won the prestigious Student of the Year Award. We catch up with him a month after the end of term.
So what did he make of the course?
“It was definitely action-packed” he says. “We were taught loads of skills and techniques but what I really liked was the idea of bringing in specialist tutors for things like the gilding, carving and stained glass. In the day-to-day furniture making side of things the staff at Chippendale were really helpful and knowledgeable. But there was such a broad spectrum of stuff going on that you couldn’t expect them to be masters at every single skill. So it was great to be able to pick the brains of the visiting tutors because they work with their specialist skills everyday and can give you really relevant advice backed up with real world examples.”
And how did he feel about becoming Student of the Year 2009?
“It was really unexpected, actually. But it was a massive confidence boost and it has helped me feel ready to take on the world”
His favourite project…
“…was a brick-built lighthouse that I made at the end of second term. It was actually something that led on from one of the bench-skill sessions. It wasn’t one of my term-projects; it was just something extra I did. At the time everybody was finishing their second-term veneering projects and it was nice to step back from that and enjoy some down time. It was great fun and I built in lots of secret compartments.”
So what does the future hold?
“Well I’m starting up my own business, Jonathan Baxter Furniture. I was offered a bench at Chippendale but I decided to go for something a bit closer to Edinburgh, so I’m renting space at a workshop in Dalkeith which I found through Scottish Furniture Makers. I’m going to be doing contemporary furniture design and furniture restoration.”
You can find Jonny’s website here at www.jbaxterfurniture.com. We wish him all the best with the new business.