Favourite things: jewels and Celtic knots

We’re looking back at some of the superb pieces of furniture that our students made during their year with us, and which show how our nine-month professional course gives students the skills they need for a career in fine woodworking.

Darren Christie is the first student we’ve had from the Falkland Islands, and we’re delighted that he made the long journey to the Chippendale school.

Not only was he an exemplary student he was the deserved winner of our Portfolio of the Year Award, which recognises the student who has created the best set of marketing materials.

We firmly believe that you can be the best woodworker in the world, but success is also down to promoting and marketing yourself to a buying audience.

That’s why we also include modules on business skills on the course, and give students help and advice on such things as website design and content.

Darren’s standout piece was a beautiful elm and fumed oak jewellery box for his wife, complete with brass hanging pegs for necklaces, and drawers for other items

The box also has a hand-gilded mirror and is decorated with hand-carved Celtic knots, an intricate pattern of loops that have no start or finish and which represent friendship and love.  Darren also tied the leather drawer pulls into Celtic knots to match the carvings.

Adding significantly to the box’s complexity, its four sides are made from a single piece of elm that was carefully mitred so that the grain of wood flows organically around the box.

A qualified zoologist, Darren most recently worked for the Falkland Islands government, and is now back in the Falkland Islands to set up Desire Cabinetry in the islands’ capital, Port Stanley.

Earlier in the school year, Darren won our first-ever bedside cabinet award, a first-term project that gives students an introduction to different woodworking skills while working on a modestly-sized piece of furniture.

Like his jewellery box, his stylish oak and satinwood bedside cabinet has also gone back to the South Atlantic.


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