It’s the end of another year for the twenty-one furniture design students at the Chippendale International School of Furniture; the college is throwing open its doors for its annual Student Exhibition and Sale of Furniture.
The free Student Exhibition with strawberries and wine runs from 6 – 8 pm on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th of June 2014 at Chippendale School near Gifford in East Lothian EH41 4JA (no need to RSVP).
You are invited to see (and buy) many stylish pieces of contemporary furniture, all created by the talented students. The Chippendale School was founded in 1985 by Anselm Fraser and is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading furniture making schools.
The school’s intensive furniture making and furniture restoration courses run from October to June each year, and there are still some places on the next course which starts on the 13th of October.
The course is very hands-on with up to 1400 hours of hands-on bench work, but also includes lectures by Anselm Fraser, visiting experts and inspiring field trips. It condenses a 2 to 3 year course into under a year. Most students go on to set up their own woodworking and furniture making businesses. Some stay start up their businesses in the adjoining Chippendale Incubator Workshops and benefit from ongoing support.
The photograph shows the ‘Big Apple’ created by Andrew Adamson, one of last year’s students: “I made the Big Apple as my solid wood piece using sycamore during the second term. I started with the Empire State Building and then another student said ‘why not put an apple on top’, so I created the very tactile two foot wide apple,” says Andrew.
“The stalk is made of walnut – I had to go into Tesco’s to measure apple stalks to get the proportions right!”
Current student, retired doctor Charlie Clark says: “When I started, I didn’t have a clue how to get from a plank of wood to a finished product, neither in terms of design and planning, nor in terms of the practical skills involved.
“The Chippendale School is a very interesting learning environment. It has much in common with the process of building knowledge, skills and experience that I was familiar with as a doctor. You learn from the masters, you learn from those who know a bit more than yourself and you learn from the other students. There’s a minimum of formal teaching, some exercises, but mainly the learning is built around the practical experience of conceiving, designing and making pieces of furniture.
“The furniture course is an enormously fulfilling thing to do in retirement for anyone with the time and energy to learn something new. Learning to work in new ways with your hands is a fabulous experience. I have acquired a whole set of skills that will keep me happily occupied for the rest of my lifetime and in the process have made valuable new friends and had a hugely enjoyable year.”
Reflecting the school’s international appeal, quite a number of the students come from overseas, particularly America, Europe and the Far East. The course appeals to a wide age range and even caters for students with little woodworking experience.
“All students need is a love of wood,” says Anselm Fraser, the School Principal. “We always look forward to showing off all the students’ wonderful pieces of furniture at the exhibition.