Meet the team

During your time here on one of our many woodworking courses you’ll be learning key skills from our team of knowledgeable experts, from the key woodworking techniques, through to digital image making, web design and finances. If you have a question, the team are here to help.

David Savage teaching woodworking school

This is David Savage, master craftsman and the inspiration behind Rowden Atelier. David is very largely retired but still comes into Rowden to wave his arms about. It is his ideals, his lifetime link with the Arts and Crafts movement, which drives our ethics and frames how we treat one another, and especially how we treat makers.

A lifetime of experience in the bespoke luxury furniture business. His experience has been instilled with all the staff at Rowden. Daren Milman has worked with David for over fifteen years. Ed Wild, Jonathan Greenwood and Jonathan Walter all trained directly with David Savage. All can offer, from different view points, priceless advice on the practicalities of running a successful bespoke furniture maker business.

Rowden Woodworking Course: experts with over 100 years of collective experience in furniture making.

Daren Milman:  “a bit like a young Yoda, before he got wrinkly!”

Daren teaching one of our students

This is Senior Craftsman, Daren Milman – Daren runs the workshops and has been working with us at Rowden for over fifteen years. Four year apprentice trained as a cabinet maker he has over twenty five years experience. Asked to describe Daren to a visiting lecturer Rose Carter Stout a former student said “Daren is like a young Yoda, but before he got wrinkly!” We know him as one of the best makers and one of the best teachers there is. “Daren is amazing, he is one of those quiet, calm people that never gets flustered and always seems to have an answer to your problem”.

As the Senior Cabinet Maker here at Rowden he is responsible for overseeing much of the woodworking technical teaching and the new development work within the workshop.

Watch out for our Second Year Apprentice Scheme for industry. Daren will be helping to set that up ” It would be nice to have a separate workshop making to a highest level but going at a speed . Where jobs are made to a time as well as a quality criteria.”  On a more mundane level if you have a joint that will not fit or a drawing to detail. Go see Yoda.

Ed Wild: tells you like it is.

Ed wild measuring a students work for accuracy

This is Ed Wild – a National Award winning furniture designer maker. Winner of the 2014 Wesley-Barrell Craft Awards for Furniture with his Hall Table. Here is a link to his website ewcf.co.uk. If you thought Daren was tough then don’t ask Ed what he thinks of your work and expect too many unearned compliments. A very patient, but incredibly demanding teacher who gets great results. Ed is in the workshop part-time, usually five half days a week.

Ed trained here at Rowden about ten years ago and carries with him all the ideals that we Rowden stand for. We are delighted that he can come here and help another generation of makers learn how to make and how to choose what to make.

Ed teaches a drawing class once a week. and his efforts are complimented by Phil Mayne our Digital Artist. Drawing can mean the difference between a good maker and an indifferent maker. Being able to draw is an essential part of what we do. And it will become an essential part of your woodworking course. You DO NOT have to be Da Vinci , but you have to be able to visually explain an idea. And Ed is great at giving you the right techniques and advice to get you there, your drawing skills will improve very quickly if you follow his guidance.

 

Jon Greenwood: can we do this one more time please?

Jon and Kathy at the bench

Another maker trained the Rowden Way.  Jon went on to work in a top class commercial workshop before returning to work with students here in their first six months. We all look out for the quality of work  but Jon is essentially “The Guardian” of the technical quality of handwork at Rowden.

That quality is instilled in these early months, by patient application of hand skills that underpin everything we do later on with machines.

Jon is a great member of this quality team, a perfect foil to Ed Wilds tough demands. Jon is kind, patient and supportive, whilst being demanding at the same time. An exceptional maker himself Jons guidance will get you to that tight joint and polished surface.

 

Bark Furniture:   bow wow Wow!

Jonathan Walter and Lakshmi Bhaskaran are both former Rowden students. They both sought to establish a business and bring up their family in Cornwall. They set up Bark Furniture Ltd in 2010. They bring to Rowden a wealth of real world experience having now established a successful business in Bude selling furniture world wide. Jonathans history as an accountant with one of the worlds great American banks will help you highlight your profit line and keep your figures tight.  All in the context of small quality furniture making business.

You can visit their site at www.barkfurniture.com

Jonathan Walter

Jonathan Walter from Bark Furniture

Jonathan will be working in small groups or one to one seeking to help you make “the next step” Do you want to work in a top workshop, go for bench rental, or set up a small workshop? Jonathan will especially be encouraging students developing their own products and suggesting a route to market that will serve them after the course is completed. He usually comes in once a week on a Wednesday to have one to one and tutorials. Use his time carefully

Lakshmi Bhaskaran

Lakshmi Bhaskaran from Bark Furniture

Lakshmi, alongside Jonathan, run the successful furniture design company Bark Furniture Ltd. Before becoming a furniture designer and maker, Lakshmi was a design writer and journalist with many books and publications to her name. But instead of writing about design, she wanted to make.

The experience of writing about design and running a successful workshop in Cornwall Lakshmi is now ‘The Voice of Rowden’. You will no doubt read a lot of her work within our blog and newsletter. Be sure to keep an eye on the blog or sign up to our newsletter to read about the Rowden experience.

Digital Artist

Phil Mayne

Our resident digital artist and creative teacher

Phil Mayne is our resident digital artist. He deals with all of the technical areas of the School from projectors to photography and design. You can see more of his work on his website: www.elraymond.com

As part of our longer courses we organise a creativity course. Phil has used his experience in adult learning to manage a course which enables new students to grasp the idea of letting go and getting ideas on to paper. Phil is a perfect compliment to Ed Wild who teaches drawing and rigorous looking . Phils approach is more organic and intuitive. The idea that creativity is also about play.

Communicating with a client with a presentation drawing is an essential skill. Phil  works with you to set a brief then demand from you a design solution presented in a professional manner. Phil will sit with you helping develop those skills to present your idea to the client.

Phil also teaches a Basic CAD course which covers how to use the exceptional industry standard 3D CAD programme Rhino. This covers the basic tuition needed to draw up a design. You can find Phil usually in the art room  three days a week.

Administrator and David’s PA

Rachel Hudson

Rachel admin staff photo

Rachel thankfully keeps the place going. Without Rachel nobody would get paid, we wouldn’t know where the money was and the dogs would not have someone to make a fuss of them. If you need help finding accommodation nearby or want to re arrange a course contact Rachel, who is in the office three days a week, direct at rachel@finefurnituremaker.com

Business Advisor

Angie Taffs

Angie Taffs business teacher

Angie Taffs is a great addition to the team. With her vast experience as a local business advisor, managing her own home based business and planning strategies to get the most out of up and coming businesses.

This information can be vital for any young maker looking to get their creative business off the ground. With these classes students have a much better idea for what they need to do once they finish our courses. To find out more information about Angie and what she has to offer please visit: www.angietaffs.com

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