As we approach our highly-anticipated 2023 Chippendale Graduate Exhibition and Fine Furniture Sale, the soon-to-be-graduates of our Professional Course are putting the finishing touches on their fine furniture designs.
In this first of our three-part blog series, we find out more about these talented fine furniture makers – starting with Andrew and Graham’s tutor groups.
These highly skilled woodworkers have showcased exceptional talent and dedication throughout their intensive 30-week journey. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for our graduates!
If you haven’t done so already yet, book your free ticket for the Exhibition here.
Andrew’s Tutor Group
Fiddle & Switch
David first learnt how to swing a hammer from his Dad, who owned a construction company, building large commercial projects all over Southern California. He learnt many skills required to construct a building but never the woodworking skills required to be proficient at making fine furniture.
Having spent over 30 years as a collegiate football coach, mentoring and developing young sporting professionals, his days were filled with little time for creative woodworking. Over the last 8 years, he’s remodelled kitchens and bathrooms for others, as well as build a few pieces of furniture.
The Chippendale School of Furniture has helped him hone in his skills in creating fine furniture which he plans to continue developing as he launches his furniture business, Fiddle & Switch.
David Langlois Ng
David arrived at Chippendale to learn as much as he could, having worked as a junior carpenter in Hongkong; it was the woodworking process itself that originally fascinated him.
When conceiving a piece, David is initially inspired by colour and how light will interact with it. As well as: the creolization of different cultural aesthetics, forms, and techniques- and ideas of how furniture may democratise living spaces by facilitating human (and animal) connections.
David believes that fine furniture should be available to everyone, and that pieces should be built to last, designed with versatility in mind, and made from sustainable materials.
Fahad is a passionate and emerging furniture designer from Saudi Arabia. With a bachelor’s degree in design, he is well trained in that area, however he lacked the craftsmanship aspect of fine furniture making which led him to Chippendale.
This course has been instrumental in honing his skills, enabling him to construct high-quality fine furniture pieces. Looking forward, Fahad plans to return home to Riyadh to start his furniture business.
Kelsey’s story doesn’t start with herself, it starts with the story of an Old Fart and a passion. Bruce Hershey – her grandfather, was always building, fixing, and (unbeknownst to Kelsey) inspiring others, and inspiring Kelsey.
Kelsey’s childhood was filled with “helping” him fix things, she was always there sitting in the backseat of ol’ red learning everything she could. Kelsey was inspired by the man who helped build her. In 2015, Old Fart Creations was born, and Kelsey knew woodworking was something she too was passionate about. Once she had learned all she could from the Old Fart, she discovered Chippendale. The experience was Kelsey and her grandfather’s last big hurrah, he passed away in February of 2022. Kelsey is proud to have been a part of her grandfather’s story and his passion for woodworking will continue to live through her new venture, Cowgirl Carpentry.
From studying the complexity of Sinology (Chinese Culture, History & Language) to woodworking. He started with almost no experience whatsoever and over the past 9 months he has tackled a range of technical challenges within his design. His aesthetic is both clean and functional.
Under the name Werkstatt Heuer, in remembrance of his grandfather – Heinrich Heuer, Ruben will continue to work as a furniture maker. Striving towards simplicity, he aims to consolidate and further his woodworking skills back home in Austria.
All hail hand-cut joinery!
Graham’s Tutor Group
Having worked and studied as a civil engineer for the last 10 years, Douglas felt it was time for a career change. Engineering provided an opportunity to make the most of his practical skills, however, he wanted a more creative outlet.
When designing furniture, he prefers to focus on the shapes and lines that complement the particular piece of wood with which he is working, rather than limiting himself to a specific era or style. This gives freedom to mix traditional and contemporary elements. As an engineer, Douglas likes to concentrate on structural integrity and function to create pieces that blend practicality with design.
Following graduation, he plans to start his own business Lytham Studio at Myreside Studios, designing and producing furniture of the highest quality for clients.
Harris Le Derf
n a m a r a
Pursuing his passion for music, Harris began his career as an accomplished drummer. However, with Covid affecting the music industry, he decided to take a change in direction and pursue his other passion for woodworking.
Inspired by modernist architecture and mid-century design, Harris enjoys exploring the relationship between geometric shapes and natural forms. He champions the use of locally sourced materials and has an appreciation for the hand-crafted element in Arts and Crafts furniture.
Looking forward, Harris plans to set up his own fine furniture business specialising in both fitted and free-standing furniture for recording studios, with an emphasis on the character of wild Scottish wood. Harris is also able to take commissions for bespoke fine furniture.
Lauren never ceases to be amazed that she has the privilege to work with the most magical of mediums – trees. With no prior woodworking experience, Lauren has put a tremendous amount of effort into accomplishing her visions – Lauren’s designs are the unhampered actualization of her creativity run riot.
Inspired by nature, Art both Nouveau and Deco, and her background in dance, Lauren’s work aims to evoke movement, dreaminess, and the juxtaposition of delicacy and strength. At Hanum Design, Lauren will continue to create functional art that can also be considered furniture.
From Civil Engineering at Edinburgh University to 32 years as a Chartered Accountant; the expression “old dog, new tricks” seems apt when it comes to Mark. He has relished exploring the creativity of the last 9 months, developing his design ideas as well as his woodworking skills.
He loves working in wood with character – as evidenced by his choice of wood in his main projects this year. Mark lives close to Chippendale in the beautiful village of Stenton, and will continue to develop his practice next year at Myreside Studios, before ultimately setting up his own workshop at home. He plans to work on one-off pieces using traditional techniques and spending his time learning more “new tricks”.
Matthew Armstrong’s passion for woodworking began in Kenya whilst helping his father in the workshop. His love of nature and craft led him to study Product Design at Edinburgh Napier. Whilst on the course, he created work for the Scottish Design Exchange – a social enterprise supporting local creative talent in Scotland’s Capital.
His design aesthetic is hugely influenced by his childhood in Kenya and travels around Africa, creating modern rustic furniture with a particular focus on the natural grain of wood. During his travels, Matthew loves to pick up new woodworking techniques from local craftsmen which helps in developing his woodworking skills. Matthew will continue to develop his skills at Myreside Studios, creating fine furniture pieces that bring nature indoors as well as outdoor furniture to help us spend more time with nature.
Interested in attending the 2023 Graduate Exhibition and Fine Furniture Sale? Book your free ticket here.