A furniture designer from the west of Scotland has won a top award from the Chippendale International School of Furniture. The Chippendale School is regarded as one of Europe’s premier furniture design schools and runs intensive furniture design courses and furniture restoration courses.
Ali Wilson, who was brought up in East Anglia, studied architecture in Plymouth and now lives in Ayrshire, won Design Student of the Year for a stunning drinks cabinet in the shape of a fish.
Ali said that she was “delighted with the award. I have loved the course and learned such a lot.” Her “big fish” will be displayed at a number of venues over the summer.
The awards ceremony was presided over by arts impresario Professor Richard Demarco, who said that the Chippendale School was an “inspirational place and a teaching resource of national importance.”
The long-established school, which is in East Lothian just outside Edinburgh, takes students of all ages from around the world. This year’s intake included students from the USA and Canada – as well as across the UK.
You can see a selection of the amazing pieces of furniture designed and hand-crafted by the students in the Student Gallery.
There are still places remaining for this year’s 30-week intensive course which begins in October, with graduating students able to take incubation space at the school to establish new businesses.
Canadian student Gary Staple from Halifax, Nova Scotia won Student of the Year for his portfolio of work, which included a tea cabinet with intricate inlays, and which will go on show in Canada over the summer.
Gary, who trained as a carpenter and who now also runs his own Halifax business, Gary Staple Fine Woodworking, said that “the Chippendale course has been hugely useful and taught me a great deal, as well as giving me a European perspective on furniture design.”
Anselm Fraser, the school’s principal, said that “our students, many of whom have never worked with wood before, leave the school with skills they can use for the rest of their lives.”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 is by Fergus McCoss who was a deckhand on super yachts but his long term plan is becoming a woodworker. After graduating from the Chippendale School of Furniture, he dreams of building boats in the style of 1960’s Riva Aquarama speedboats!
I started in Palma, did Mediterranean loops, Atlantic crossings and Caribbean routes.
I was working with 60-75m yachts which had crews of 13 to 23 people. The interiors were like 5 star hotels. Doing a refit in a boatyard in Germany made me want to work with my hands on the interior design and maintenance of yachts.
I was attracted to the Chippendale School by the no frills, get-on-and-do-it approach. I’m not really one for the classroom – you learn more when you make mistakes. I enjoy being really hands-on, and, having been away for 3 years, it’s great to be back in Scotland.Read More
Anselm wanted to ensure his tutors were kept busy during the summer holidays so they’ve been refurbishing the main workshop and creating more space round student benches.
“Because we are a not-for-profit organisation, we are continually reinvesting in our buildings and facilities. Every year we make improvements. Our students wanted more space round their benches so we decided to make our workshop even bigger,” says Anselm Fraser. “We’ve also put in another huge woodburning stove to keep everyone warm in the winter.”
The Chippendale School studio workshop covers a massive 5,500 sq ft studio workshop so that everyone works together and is not split up into small workshops. What’s more every student has 2 dedicated benches (one clean and one dirty!) with lots of space to design and make pieces of furniture.
It’s a great environment for collaborating and sharing banter with colleagues. There are also 5 separate machine rooms just outside the main workshop to reduce the amount of noise and dust.Read More
Tom Thackray, the UK’s leading Windsor chair maker, has just spent a week teaching woodworking students at the Chippendale International School of Furniture how to make Windsor chairs.
He first met Anselm when he was running his Thomas Chippendale School in South Carolina then Oregon, and has been coming to Scotland to the Chippendale School for the last 15 years.
Tom introduces the students to the Windsor chair, Britain’s national chair, at his short lectures on their history. During the week, the students make a stick-back Windsor chair. Using local ash, they learn to turn, bend and drill the wood. One of the most challenging stages is drilling the holes.
“The Chippendale School is the best furniture school in Britain. I’ve worked in America and Japan but this is the only cabinet making college in the UK where I run my Windsor chair making course.
“I can’t believe the diversity of woodworking techniques they learn here. The students learn a lot here and there’s a wonderful mix of different cultures. Some of the work they do is stunning, but they can only do it because of the quality of the woodworking teaching staff.”
A Windsor chair is built with a solid wooden seat into which the chair-back and legs are round-tenoned, or pushed into drilled holes (source: Wikipedia). The seats of Windsor chairs were often carved into a saddle shape for comfort. Traditionally, the legs and uprights were usually turned on a pole lathe. The back and sometimes the arm pieces (if there any) are formed from steam bent pieces of wood. There are seven distinctive forms of Windsor chair.Read More