Stars of screen and sawdust

We all have ways of coping with the pressures of life, and for some stars of film and music their preference is woodworking.

Back in 2008, actor Brad Pitt commissioned a desk from leading US designer Frank Pollaro, who personally delivered it to the actor’s chateau in the south of France.

During the visit, Pollaro discovered that Pitt had sketched hundreds of furniture designs and, four years later, the duo launched the Pitt-Pollaro Collection – a dozen pieces including a bed, tables, chairs and a marble bathtub.

Another four years on, and following his split with Angelina Jolie, he’s taken his creativity one step further, and taken up woodworking as a serious hobby.

He’s not the only well-known person to have picked up a chisel to cope with stress.  The singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini also took up woodworking to help him deal with the pressures of touring.

Another big name is Daniel Day-Lewis who, at the start of his acting career, was also an apprentice carpenter and cabinetmaker.  While filming The Last of the Mohicans, Day-Lewis built a wooden canoe.

While many people take up woodworking as a hobby, one famous actor has literally made a fortune from carpentry.

It was while working as a joiner on film producer George Lucas’ home that a young Harrison Ford was offered the part of Han Solo in what was expected to be a fairly low-key piece of sci-fi nonsense.  The rest, as they say, is history.

During the year, the Chippendale school runs a series of one-week introductory courses that are designed to give students some basic woodworking skills.

That intensive week gives students a greater passion for woodworking, and the elementary skills to really get to grips with their hobby.

For those who want to take it further still, this year we introduced a one-month intermediate course.  This course really does put sawdust into students’ veins and, while it doesn’t equip them to work professionally, it gives them a whole new range of skills.

For many of us who are woodworkers, our passion is also therapy – a way to escape from everyday pressures, and to use our creativity to produce something beautiful or useful.

That certainly seems to be driving Brad Pitt’s enthusiasm, and if he wants to come on one of our introductory courses, he would be more than welcome.

And If Brad were to then enrol on our 30-week professional course, the course fees from the introductory course would be deducted from the professional course (as they are for all our students).

There again, we doubt that money would be a problem for the celebrity filmmaker and actor.  Plus the fact that his chairs sell for $45,000.

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