The Chippendale school teaches our professional course students all they’ll need to know to be able to practice as furniture designers and makers.
It’s about teaching skills and creativity and giving students the confidence to start designing and making their own wonderful pieces of furniture.
But it’s also about inspiring a sense of responsibility and an understanding about how sustainability should also be part of their creative thinking.
That’s why, each year, we invite the colourful and hugely-knowledgeable Ulrich Loening to lecture to our students.
Ulrich enjoyed a glowing career in botany, human ecology and molecular biology studying, for example, ribonucleic acid (RNA), one of the three major biological macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life (along with DNA and proteins).
He also set up The Centre for Human Ecology, a non-Faculty body within the University of Edinburgh.
Ulrich is also something of a polymath and ran a sawmill in East Lothian where he came up with the idea of building a solar-powered drying kiln, which is currently being tested and optimised by the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers.
His solar kiln is a brilliant piece of lateral thinking; taking an existing technology and applying it for an entirely new use.
Ulrich is someone therefore who understands the natural world and our impacts on it – and is passionate about how we should grow and process wood sustainability.
It is always a pleasure to welcome Ulrich to the school and for him to pass on his extensive knowledge about how we must work with the natural world, and not simply waste its resources.
It’s a message that we’re passionate about at the Chippendale school, and why we minimise waste, recycle and upcycle wherever possible and, for example, by using sawdust-powered heaters, keep our carbon footprint to a minimum.
We like to practice what we preach, and Ulrich’s inspired lectures help ensure that our graduate woodworkers will also apply principles and practices of sustainability in everything they do.
Picture: Ulrich is pictured (right) with student Oli Juliusson from Iceland.