Introducing Our 2024 Graduates – Part 2

With the 2024 Chippendale Graduate Exhibition and Fine Furniture Sale now finished for another year, we want to spotlight some of the incredible work of our Professional Course graduates.

Read on to find out more about these talented fine furniture makers.

Graham’s Tutor Group

David Farcht

Dave worked for the US Government for over 20 years before coming to Chippendale. He was a Border Patrol Agent on the US/Mexico border and an advisor for the Department of State and the US Military in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

When Dave found the time, he dabbled in amateur woodworking, a craft that both his father and grandfather enjoyed. After a nudge from his wife, he enrolled and took the plunge into making woodworking his career.  

In 2023, Dave founded Honored Heirlooms Woodworking in Falls Church, VA USA. Post graduation, he will be accepting commissions for fine furniture.  

Harrison Heale

Harry came to the school immediately after the completion of his A-levels. He studied product design and business studies to prepare him for Chippendale. He has always wanted to build and design furniture for as long as he can remember and now is taking the opportunity to make those dreams come to life.  

When designing furniture, Harry has a keen interest in exploring textures in wood. For example, the front of his sideboard in African Sapele resembles the texture and tone of chocolate.  

After the course, Harry plans to work part-time for an established workshop, whilst building up his portfolio for his newly launched business, Lazy Bear Furniture

Lisa Ott-Kimzey 

Lisa was drawn to furniture making in her search for functional creativity. She came to Chippendale to learn to design and build gorgeous, unique furniture that lasts.  

Lisa is inspired by her love of plants, colour, and her desire to bring old things back to life. Her goal is to add a little (or a lot) more colour and vibrancy to the world. 

Matilde Mitchell-Wilkinson

Matilde Mitchell-Wilkinson graduated from Newcastle University in 2022 with a First-Class Honors degree in Fine Art and three university prizes. There she worked primarily with clay and metal.  

Her love of making three-dimensional sculptural forms from natural materials led her to apply her artistry and skill to the design and handcrafting of beautiful and timeless fine furniture pieces. 

Matt Hardy

Matt has spent the past several years working as a musician in an industry which has taken him across the UK. Although working in music has always satisfied his creative itch, Matt was drawn to furniture making as a means to take full control of his creativity, from conception to completion.  

Matt is drawn to making playful yet functional furniture, with inspirations from mid-century design and Bauhaus concepts, resulting in his own contemporary designs.  

After graduating, Matt intends to launch his own bespoke furniture business Spelk, a name that echoes his roots in the North-East as the Geordie word for a splinter. 

Len’s Tutor Group

Arthur Brooke

Arthur has always loved working with his hands, starting with bronze sculptures and silver jewellery. He then discovered his love of wood and soon after enrolled on the Professional course at Chippendale.  

Arthur’s oak coffee table is inspired by nature; somewhere between the annual growth rings we find in trees and rain dropping onto the surface of water. For his second project, he took a different approach, concentrating on more traditional methods of cabinet making, with one eye on getting into kitchen making after the course.  

Arthur’s business, Brock Designs will focus on making wood and metal-infused furniture for a wide range of purposes

Jennifer Oldenburg

Jennifer worked for the German police for 20 years and realised during the last few years that she needed a different, more positive and creative working environment.  

Building furniture and learning techniques like Marquetry and Gilding opened up a whole new world to her and she can’t wait to start over again and start a career as a furniture maker. 

Maisie V. W. Frayn 

Having previously worked in the construction industry as a builder and decorator, the Chippendale Professional Course is Maisie’s first foray into the world of fine furniture.  

It was a confirmation of what she had always suspected – that she would find working with her hands, creating beautiful and tangible objects, out of the wonderful medium of wood, immensely rewarding.  

The course has given Maisie the opportunity to acquire great foundational knowledge, and her passion for creativity and a keen eye for detail has assisted this growth.

Michiel Vrenegoor 

Michiel, a former officer in the Dutch merchant navy with over 15 years of experience at sea, anchored in Edinburgh five years ago and embarked on a career transition from the sea to the craft of furniture making.  

Possessing a keen sense for problem-solving and attention to detail honed through years of navigating the seas, Michiel has applied these skills in his designs within the world of woodworking.  

After graduating, Michiel will establish his own business, Fidra Furniture at Myreside Studios. Inspired by both innovation and tradition, he envisions crafting bespoke freestanding furniture as well as fitted pieces that seamlessly blend into any space. 

William Rollitt 

Will found his love for furniture at a young age having grown up surrounded by amazing pieces of furniture and antiques. His passion for woodworking led him to sidestep University and instead go straight into workshops, learning directly from other makers in the industry.  

After a couple of years doing this, Will found that he wasn’t satisfied with making pieces where he had no say over the design and aesthetic. This led him to the Chippendale School of Furniture so he could further both his design and making skills.  

After the course, he will create amazing bespoke pieces of furniture for both private and commercial clients. He is going to be staying on at Myreside Studios initially, before hopefully moving back home to set up his own workshop. 

Matty’s Tutor Group

Bob Klepfer

Bob lives and works in central Virginia in the US. Directly out of grad school he worked in academia, migrated to defence and related industries, and last year took the step to a third career by enrolling in the professional course here at Chippendale.  

Like countless others, he worked from a hobbyist workshop for decades as space, money, and time permitted. In his current shop, he has restored cars, antique tools, and furniture for himself, friends, and family.  

Bob will be reshaping his hobby into a business upon return to Virginia and will be accepting commissions for custom furniture and restorations.

Doobie Sidikman

Doobie is a young woodworker with a passion for crafting and creating. Growing up in a home that encouraged creativity, she developed a love for arts and crafts, with a strong belief that she can create anything that comes to mind.  

She’s always eager to take on new challenges and push the boundaries within her craft. Looking ahead, she’s excited to continue her journey as a woodworker, exploring new techniques, collaborating with other artisans, and sharing her love for woodworking with the world.  

Whether it’s building a business around her craft, pursuing further education, or simply finding joy in the process of creating, she’s committed to following her passion and making her mark in the world of woodworking. 

Ryszard (K) Kwiatkowski

Before attending the Chippendale International School of Furniture, K worked as a CAD/CAM engineer in the Aerospace Industry.  

Wanting to trade his office desk for a workbench, K decided that wood had easier grain to follow than metal. Inspired by the natural beauty of locally sourced wood, K intends to set up his own workshop in the East Midlands, making custom furniture from UK-grown timber. 

Lea Schmidt

Originally from Germany, Lea spent the last 10 years in Dublin working in the customer and technical support field for various software companies.  

Realising that her career lacked creativity, passion, and fulfilment she decided it was time to leave the sterile office environment behind. It was time to get her hands dirty and find a trade that spoke to her heart and soul.  

After graduation, Lea would like to find employment with an established furniture-making business to continue on her current path of learning and exploration

Robert Bolduc

Following 35 years of military and public service, Rob took a two-year Heritage Carpentry and Joinery program. Fulfilling a secret desire to be a lumberjack, he went on to attend an Urban Forestry program, resulting in his last four years working as a tree surgeon.  

Taking his love of wood to the next level, Rob signed up for the Professional course at Chippendale. His fine furniture designs focus on celebrating the inherent beauty of the materials he works with. Rob finds extreme satisfaction in the process of selecting the perfect piece of wood for a project, appreciating its figure (grain patterns), colours, and textures.  

Rob’s business, Figured Enthusiasm, offers personalised solutions for individuals and businesses through the design and creation of custom furniture. 

Explore the work of our 2024 Professional Course here.

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