Fiona Gilfillan Chippendale school

Aliens, gin and courses

Last year, Fiona Gilfillan from East Lothian became the second student on our month-long intermediate course.

It’s already proved to be hugely popular, with students coming from as far away as Brazil and Australia.

Fiona’s decision to come on our intermediate course was based on how she much enjoyed our one-week introductory course.

That makes Fiona, who has long been a keen hobbyist, the first of our students to have completed all three of our woodworking courses.

She also concluded that her old life as a self-employed management consultant was no longer for her.


Having now graduated from our professional course, she’s in the process of setting up Feemade from incubation space at the school.

Myreside Studios allow graduates to immediately set up in business from the Chippendale campus.

It makes the transition to professional life easy by giving graduates full access to equipment and machinery and continuing tutor support.

As a hobbyist, she made furniture for friends and family using, for example, old scaffolding boards.

As a professional she’s already completed a couple of commissions, and particularly likes restoration because she “likes fixing stuff.”

Fiona Gilfillan Chippendale school

She’s a designer who can add a touch of humour to her pieces, which we like because it can add a unique quirkiness.

One of her stand-out pieces was a sycamore table, with a clever “lazy Susan” mechanism that allowed the table top to be turned.

That transformed it into something substantially larger, with four hinged wings unfolding.

The unfolded wings then depicted a science fiction theme, complete with astronauts and aliens.


It also had sycamore and tulip wood veneers, and was partly gilded with 12 carat gold.

It’s was a bold and imaginative design, echoing other pieces in her collection.

For example, her beautiful console table in elm and ash.

Fiona Chippendale school

Or her drinks cabinet in lacewood and sycamore…ideal for storing her beloved bottles of gin.

Or her over-sized Chilling Chair in yew and cherry, ideal for quiet contemplation while sipping a gin and tonic.

Details of our 30-week professional course can be found here and we still have a couple of places available.  The course starts in October.

Or you can see details of our intermediate course here, with students able to specify, subject to demand, when they would like to start.

The school only takes a maximum of two intermediate students at any one time, maximising one-to-one teaching time.

It’s an ideal way for keen hobbyists to take their skill levels up several notches.

We also hold a number of one-week introductory courses through the year.  They are aimed at novices and DIYers who want to learn some of the basics.

At the Chippendale school, we cater for everyone, whatever your woodworking ambitions!


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