Fine furniture maker, furniture making training courses, bespoke furniture, cabinetmaking training

A 10yr Review

I’ve now been training adult students for ten years – forty all told, an average of four per year.

Drawing from my experience of different student types and innate abilities, I’ve gradually fine-tuned the structure of the courses and optimized the workshop to provide the most effective learning possible.

A few students are content to just develop their skills to a high standard and work as amateur makers (amateur in the sense of loving what one does and doing it well), while most others have gone on to set up their own professional furniture-making workshops. The prior experience and future potential of each student may differ, yet my role – whether a student is on a one-month intermediate course or the full forty-week comprehensive programme – is to provide the most relevant instruction, encouragement and professional guidance for each individual.

While all courses are clearly structured, as students gradually build their skills and understanding, I expect them to start thinking through design and making solutions for themselves and taking responsibility for their own learning. I provide the setting, knowledge and enthusiasm – each individual student completes the circle.

‘It’s a slow burn’ my own teacher once told me – and it most certainly is! My aim is to give students the surest of foundations in a wide range of craft, business and creative skills, so that they can gain employment as makers or set up as professional designer-makers with the fullest confidence in themselves and their abilities.

On going on to set up their own workshops, students then need to allow about five to seven years of full-time work (roughly equivalent to the ten thousand hours a top musician or sportsperson needs to practice before they’re good enough), at which point they’ll have encountered most making and professional scenarios, evolved their own authentic creative voice, and fine-tuned their operation to be making a viable living within their particular location and market sector.

My own voice will then be but a distant memory, but the skills they practice and the design and business decisions they make will hopefully have been informed by the best of what I was able to teach.