Marion Makes: When artistry meets woodworking

When art and woodworking collide, you get Marion Morris – a recent graduate of The Chippendale School’s Professional Course and the founder of Marion Makes.

During the 30-week course, Marion impressed us with her unique approach to woodworking, often combining her artistic abilities with the structural integrity of the furniture to create fun, standout pieces that delight its viewers. 

We spoke to Marion about what inspires her creative process, her reasons for joining our Professional Furniture Making Course and what we can expect from Marion Makes going forward.

What inspired you to take a career break and take up woodworking?

“Like many, I once thought that a fulfilling career meant a good job title, a decent salary and top-notch pension that would see me through later life. I worked hard to achieve all of these things, and yet there was still something missing. I was comfortably uncomfortable and feeling the pressure of reaching life’s traditional milestones.

“My passion has always been in crafting and making. I had never done woodworking before but I was always interested in learning, so I took a leap and enrolled on the Professional Course at the Chippendale School of International Furniture. 

“I have since bought together my love of art, design, and woodworking to launch Marion Makes.”

Where do you find inspiration for your furniture designs?

“I’m often inspired by mid-century and Japanese design principles – simple, understated, and well-crafted. I also get inspiration from a variety of makers who are not woodworkers – including screen printers, weavers, illustrators, and ceramicists.” 

Marion’s chalkboard bobbin leg table and stools

How would you describe your style?

“My woodworking is simple, understated, and well-crafted – the wood often, but not always, acts as a canvas for a unique splash of Marion Makes artwork.”

Some of your pieces feature artistic print. Where does your creative process begin – in the artwork or the structure of the furniture?

“I’ll always start with researching and identifying gaps and demands in the market. Then, I move onto the artwork and the structure of the furniture. I pursue these in parallel and I am always flipping between the two, it’s an iterative process for me.

“Art is something that has luckily come naturally to me since I was a child, so I love incorporating my art into my furniture whether that’s through illustrations, bespoke fabric printing or more. My artistic talents enable me to create unique, customisable, and creative pieces of furniture and homeware pieces.”

What are your goals for Marion Makes?

“I’m going to keep on making. Selling a number of items at the 2022 Graduate Exhibition gave me a big boost. I have taken on a couple of high-end commissions, and I am also going to make a collection. I am envisioning a collection of children’s furniture that is fun, unique, and colourful.

“But I’m not all about making, I am passionate about fostering diversity. Through being a woodworking professional, I aim to make a direct and positive contribution to increasing the visibility of women and those less privileged in the woodworking community. In the hopefully not-too-distant future, my dream is to create a creative hub, for makers from many disciplines, to teach and collaborate.”

“The beginning is perhaps more difficult than anything else, but keep heart, it will turn out alright.” Van Gogh.

Marion Morris and Tom Fraser

Many thanks to Marion for contributing to this blog.

If you, like Marion, have considered pursuing a career in crafting and making, we invite you to take a look at our 30-week Professional Course here.

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