Term 1 ‘Total Immersion’
This is the most intense period within the furniture school. The first term is all about total immersion in all aspects of furniture making and furniture design. During this 15 week (term lengths can vary) term our designer maker students will devote hundreds of hours to learning the core cabinet making hand skills. They will work closely and intensively with our vastly experienced workshop tutors and through the carefully designed set projects develop high level skills in areas such as tool preparation & sharpening, accurate hand planing, precision chisel work, marking and measuring, jointing, carcass creation, making and fitting doors and piston fit drawers, inlay, veneering and much more.
Running alongside this essential ‘core handskills’ training we run a series of ‘specialist training days’. We cover areas of furniture making that will both inform and inspire our designer makers. Topics such as laminating, shaping, carving, surface treatments and creative finishing, advanced veneering and marquetry, jig creation and much more are covered. These ‘hands on’ days are designed to expose our students to what is possible. To inspire. To sow the seeds of future designs.
And let’s not forget the machine shop and the use of portable power tools. The set projects are designed to introduce and then master the use of the machines in our machine shop. We are realists. We understand that ‘core handskills’ are at the heart of every maker of fine furniture but we also understand that woodwork machines and portable power tools are an essential ingredient in the modern designer makers studio / workshop. By the end of the winter term our designer maker students will have received detailed training in the safe use of all the machines and power tools within the furniture school. Culminating in the occasional table project’ which is made almost entirely by machine but which is always finessed with hand tools. This combination of fine hand skills and the skilled use of power tools forms the basis of all that we do within the ‘pro workshop’ and furniture school. This is real life and often cutting edge furniture making.
Technical Design training is just as intense. Every project is drawn up on the computer. Starting with the simple ‘Chinese puzzle’ project, head design tutor Will Acland walks our designer maker students through the use of Sketch Up and Layout. Workshop drawings, cutting lists and an order of process are created for each and every project made within the furniture school and this level of professional practise is insisted upon throughout the duration of the course. An essential ingredient in building confidence and self reliance within our designer maker students. The mission being to have at least one ‘self designed’ project meticulously designed, drawn up and well on the way before the end of term. For those that are only here for the first term we strongly advise that this first project is finished before they leave. For those staying for the spring and summer terms this project can be a touch more ambitious and run over into two term.
The mystery ingredient in this most intensive of times within the furniture school is creativity. It is important to us. We encourage it. We teach it. We inspire our designer maker students to express themselves and to develop their own design style. From Holly Acland’s drawing classes to Will and Olivers twice weekly one on one design development sessions our mission is to empower our students to make considered design choices. To create pieces of beauty and integrity. To create the antiques of the future. To become true DESIGNER MAKERS.