A string of events andcoincidences led Ali Wilson to the Chippendale International School of Furniture. Firstly she noticed an advertisement for a furniture exhibition at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.
It was here that she admired the work of Ali Easton and in particular a chair designed and made by Ali during his time at the Chippendale School.
The two Ali’s spoke and discovered that both had a connection with Dunlop in Ayrshire. Ali Wilson had recently built her own house there and Ali Easton had family living in the village. With a potential commission for a dining room table on the cards the dining room itself was used as a venue to discuss the design. Unfortunately for Ali Easton (who’s business is based in the Chippendale Incubator workshops) and his enthusiasm for the course at the Chippendale School, Ali Wilson swayed away from the commission and instead pursued more information on the furniture design course.
She first spoke to Anselm Fraser in November 2012 seeking, at that time, to learn both wood and metal work skills. Anselm was quite dismissive of the latter advising Ali there was more skill in the crafting of wood and that any metalwork components could always be commissioned from other parties.
Not yet fully persuaded Ali received the application forms and remained in limbo… until, that is, she saw a BBC production on the works of Thomas Chippendale. At the end of the programme Anselm was interviewed. Further to the screening, the school sent texts and emails to the potential applicants inviting them to an open day.
Considering the time-frame of other similar courses the Chippendale School presented the most condensed course making the possibility of time out from the daily grind a real possibility. Ali filled out the forms, had a telephone interview on the way to a ski trip and the rest is history.
The students, now in their first term, are making their solid wood pieces.
With an architectural background Ali is confidently drawing up a curvaceous, fish-shaped drinks cabinet. She is supervised by George the ginger cat. The challenge will be in the making. The fish comprises many layers of wooden cut-outs to be brought together to form the profile and will, in its final form, display a variety of timbers in a stripy configuration with a dynamically opening ribcage. The final piece will be supported on that metalwork frame she always knew would be required.
The beauty of the course and the teaching methodology is the support given to allow you to challenge yourself. For a new start this seemed an overly complicated piece and yet Anselm and the other teaching staff have given Ali the confidence to believe it is possible. She hopes, by Christmas, the success will be realised.
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