At Chippendale School, we pride ourselves on providing our students with exceptional opportunities for learning. In addition to receiving world-class training in woodworking from our resident tutors, we host a number of guest tutors throughout the academic year.Read More
After battling US snow storms that delayed his arrival, Scott Grove, the award-winning New York artist, sculptor and woodworker, has just finished teaching the art of veneering at the Chippendale International School of Furniture located near Edinburgh, Scotland. Grove first visited the school in 2013, when he taught an intensive, one-week-long course to enthusiastic students.
Like last year, Grove again found the students keen to add more techniques to their fine furniture-making repertoire. He teaches in the United States, both privately and at furniture schools. About Chippendale School he said, “It offers a great curriculum in its 30-week course, and unlike other schools, they teach you the skills you need to be a fine woodworker as well as focusing on creating a career, with business classes included.”Read More
Alice MacLean is a Canadian artist who graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2012, where she majored in Fine Arts.
Alice is currently providing advice as the first ever Artist in Residence at the Chippendale International School of Furniture in East Lothian, near Edinburgh in Scotland. Over the last four months, Alice has created a portfolio of paintings based on her experiences of living in Scotland. She has recently exhibited at the Six Foot Gallery in Glasgow and will also be exhibiting in Edinburgh this spring.Read More
Richard Walker, owner of Watergild Studios in Portsmouth, Hampshire, works as a freelance master gilder on private commissions as well as teaching the art of gilding at a variety of locations across the UK and online. For the last two weeks, Richard has been teaching a gilding course to students at the Chippendale School of Furniture.
Richard loves “the sense of community at the Chippendale School” and “Anselm Fraser’s relaxed and caring style of teaching”. He describes the Furniture School as managing “not to separate home from school, and where feeling relaxed and comfortable is all part of the same deal”.Read More
This blog based on a conversation with Simon Macintyre, a visiting furniture restoration expert who runs his own restoration business in Sussex near London. Simon works on private furniture restoration and for the antique trade. It’s the ninth year that Simon has been running his course at the Chippendale School of Furniture.
“The furniture school students are always very enthusiastic; they love the learning experience. Usually they’ve not done any furniture restoration before. They maximize the learning opportunities here and many enjoy the furniture restoration week more than they initially expected.
“Each morning we discuss the pieces of furniture being restored. I’ve also given a talk on setting up a furniture restoration business. Several of the students want to go on to do furniture restoration rather than furniture making.Read More
Scott Grove, award-winning New York veneering artist, sculptor and woodworker, will soon be delivering another week long veneering course at our furniture school in mid-February 2014. Last year’s was his first ever course at a UK furniture making school. We are delighted to welcome him back. This is the second part of Scott’s blog (read the first blog here).
The Chippendale School’s intensive 30-week furniture design and furniture making course hits a nice median between short programs and a full two- to four-year degree curriculum offer in the States. Dollar for dollar it is a good deal for the serious woodworker and saves a considerable amount of lost earnings time.
The 6000 sq. ft. shop is open 12 hours a day and the students utilize the facilities to maximize their experience. They have an abundance of heavy-duty, well-maintained, solid equipment.
They also have lots of homemade jigs and stations for quick and efficient work for specialized tasks such as dovetailing, spray rooms for finishing, turning, a separate sanding room with downdraft tables, photography, staging and more. When they don’t have an item they improvise with whatever challenge a student comes up with.
“Let’s get on with it!” Anselm would declare, as if nothing could stand in his way. For example, I explained a shooting board for cutting veneer with required ceiling-mounted pressing bars, and before I knew it, the tutors made one.
Anselm is not afraid to purchase whatever a student needs to get a project done. He picked up two deep throat scroll saws just for my marquetry class. He also includes all materials in the tuition, so students don’t inhibit their creative design process with concerns of material cost.
Safety was always stressed and each student was required to own an air-filtered venting helmet for eye, ear and dust protection. I was the one who felt a bit reckless with my paper dust mask, usually sitting around my neck. (I kept telling myself: safety gear has been removed for educational purposes!)
The shop atmosphere is cozy; each student has a bench with a full set of colour-coded tools. They have since expanded the shop, adding another 2800 sq ft, giving each student two benches of their own and allowing for even more ambitious projects.
Each day was action-packed with problem-solving every step of the way. For example, it turns out one can’t buy window screening anywhere in Scotland. (I use fibreglass window screening to help dry out veneer in the flattening conditioning process.) I thought, what… Scotland doesn’t have bugs?
Apparently they don’t use window screens, and we needed to figure out what else to use. This spawned a solution: use a fibreglass mat typically found in boat building. Who knew? We got on with it and kept the ball moving forward.
In concert with pushing the limits, some old-school traditional techniques are also taught such as stained glass, traditional hide gluing, tortoise shell and brasswork (boulle), oyster veneering, brass and mother-of-pearl inlay, and verre eglomisé (reverse glass gilding).
Water gilding is also taught, which is a traditional method used to apply gold leaf that makes a piece look like solid gold. It offers a much higher aesthetic than oil-sized gilding. This was especially interesting to me as this technique is taught only in a few places in the States and I wanted to compare notes. They’ve got it down ‘pat…en’. (Pun intended for gilders).
Evenings I spent discussing woodworking in the UK with Anselm and touring the local sites: castles, coastline, taverns for the best hand drawn ale I’ve ever had, along with some good conversation with the locals, although I couldn’t quite understand a word they were saying. Really, it was right out of a stereotype movie where I’d catch some profanity and the rest sounded like marbles in their mouths. We smiled and laughed a lot and everyone was very friendly.
The food?… did I mention how good the beer was? I was even treated to a massage by a strong-thumbed Mrs Doubtfire-double with all the pleasantries to boot: “Och, my dear, there ya go, there i’ tis, och aye…”
Students stayed in the local picturesque village of Gifford, which was a short bike ride away from the School.
I am anxious to return this season as I’ve been asked to head the entire veneering section. We will expand last year’s program and cover everything from traditional parquetry using a veneering donkey to marquetry, hand cutting to machine cutting, as well as my alternative techniques and compound veneering human forms.
For more information on the Chippendale School of Furniture click on the school menu above.
Hope to see you there in February 2014 or in 2015!Read More