It’s anything but a man’s world at the Chippendale school or, for our graduates, having a career as a fine furniture designer.
This year, six of our students are women – from the UK, India, Trinidad & Tobago, New Zealand, and the USA.
We’d like to encourage more women into woodworking because it involves design skills that women often excel in.
So it’s a great pity that some women may overlook furniture design as a career option or, worse, that it’s not an option that’s brought to their attention at school.
For example, one of last year’s students was Yu Hua Liew, a former civil servant from Singapore, whose signature piece was a mirror with a beautifully-carved limewood surround gilded in white gold.
Her mirror’s design was inspired by the ocean and featured a breaking wave, a polar bear and, if you look closely enough, a seal hiding in a cave.
Or two years ago, a Russian female student won top honours at the school by becoming our Student of the Year for her hugely impressive portfolio.
A former financial controller, Iana is now back in her native St Petersburg and has set up Credenza Studio, her own furniture business.
Also from last year was Polish-born Joanna Majewska, a former graphic designer who, after seven years working in marketing agencies in Warsaw, decided on a more practical and hands-on career.
Her signature piece was a steampunk round drinks cabinet that was inspired by the internal mechanism of a clock – incorporating an array of oak gears that form the locking mechanism for the cabinet.
Joanna has stayed on in incubation space at the school and runs her own business, FurniturePhilosophy, as well as working with former student Ewan Ogilvie whose business, Ogilvies of Haddington, is also based on the school campus.
The school is proud of its track record in teaching female students from many different countries, and would like to encourage more women to consider fine furniture design as a career.