As one of the leading schools of furniture design and restoration, the Chippendale International School of Furniture near Edinburgh, Scotland, attracts students from Europe and North America for its “learn by doing” practical approach. Its top students were honored with awards at its recent graduation ceremony.
Gary Staple, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, won Student of the Year for his portfolio of work, which included a tea cabinet with intricate inlays. The trained carpenter and principal of Gary Staple Fine Woodworking credits the program for steering him in the right direction to further his career as a woodworker.
“The Chippendale course has been hugely useful and taught me a great deal, as well as giving me a European perspective on furniture design,” Staple says.
Scotland’s Ali Watson won the design award for a liquor cabinet made in the shape of a large fish.
Spain’s Shane Elliot was also honored for a 1920s-inspired “Prohibition Table” with a motorized, secret compartment to hide the booze.
Established in 1985 and inspired by the work of Thomas Chippendale, the school focuses on traditional craftsmanship in a modern context. The goal is to educate its students for a successful career as a professional woodworker.
“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,” school founder Anselm Fraser says.
About 20 students per year attend the school’s professional furniture-making course, which runs from October to mid-June. The program has five full-time instructors and frequent guest instructors.
Graduates can take advantage of the school’s incubator workshops, where they can start a business for up to two years. They get shop space at a subsidized rate, advice from the staff and opportunities to collaborate with other students.
For information, visit www.chippendaleschool.com.
This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue.