Leon short course Chippendale school

Out of Arabia

As an international furniture design and making school, our students come from far and wide.

This year on our professional course we had students from the USA, Canada, Iceland, UK, Ireland, Australia, Poland and Germany.

On our one-month intermediate course we’ve had students from as far away as Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.

More usually, our one-week introductory courses are largely filled by students closer to home.

That said, a recent one-week student was from Germany – and has now enrolled on this year’s professional course.

Leon Mcilvene, from the USA, now becomes our furthest-travelled introductory course student!

Leon works for the US government and is currently posted to his country’s Qatari embassy.

He’s something of a Middle East specialist having also served in, among other countries, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq.

He’s long been a keen woodwork hobbyist, and likes working with his hands.

With retirement looming, he now wants to take his woodworking interest further.

He doesn’t yet have plans to become a professional woodworker, but would like to keep himself busy.

“At the end of the day, it would be nice to look back and know that I built something,” he says.

He found the Chippendale school through online research.  “The school really stood out,” he says, “and seemed to be the gold standard of furniture schools.”

He’s thoroughly enjoyed the course as well as the peace and tranquillity of East Lothian.  “It’s far removed from the hustle and bustle of Qatar,” he says.

Leon is considering enrolling on one of our professional courses after he does retire and, if so, we look forward to seeing him again!


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