Once you have primary making skills by month five you will have the option to make what you want, or what your client wants. Yes, you can make for a client or a friend who will act like a client . We urge you to use this time to build your portfolio, these will be your first few pieces of work. This will be the start of you developing your own style, your own aesthetic. You may be artistic, or this may be just starting to emerge under our teams guidance, choose carefully what you want to do with this time. You could develop with Ed, Daren or Jonathan’s help a range of furniture to be sold direct through exhibitions or you could make pieces for friends or family.
These are great ways to learn to deal with real customers and Jonathan will be there to offer help as you make the visits, develop the client brief, do the drawings and eventually get the cheque, oh yes, that’s really a most satisfying part of the process GETTING PAID FOR YOUR WORK!
“I would have hated people at college telling me what to make, but some people need to have projects that have been resolved.” For those of you who want to make chairs we have a range of successful designs that have sold in hundreds over the years.
By the end of the year with the help of Jonathan you could have a plan for how to get your business on the road, a few carefully crafted products and more knowledge about how to take the next step than you realise. If our previous students are anything to go by it will take you a couple of further years of hard work to get to a stable predictable income but you should be able to make some profit straight away. Predictability is the aim, after all one of the definitions of a real business is predictability.
Your portfolio says who you are and how far you are down your journey. At the beginning you may only have a couple of pieces of work to show, make the best of them have detail shots and really good studio photographs. Phil will work with you to get those shots and show you how to do it yourself. Use drawings of future projects, create a maquette or scale models of pieces, light them and photograph them against a white background so the scale is lost. Build your personal visual language. Do it a step at a time.
We all have a side of our brain that is more attuned to holistic intuitive, visual and musical thought. Creativity is a process of assembling ideas from existing material just in a new way. Not just lateral thinking but three dimensional thinking, gathering up processes, images and methods to produce something new.
“Drawing is a natural extension of what we ask you to do in the workshop, we ask our students to use their eyes in an extraordinarily intense way, to look much harder than usual to really see; if a surface is flat; if a curve is true.Drawing is synergistic to this. Drawing is looking, the more you draw the better you see and, like any muscle, the stronger you will become at looking, and seeing.”
You can make the loveliest furniture in the world but if nobody knows you are there you will go without work. Learn how to become visible, attending exhibitions, selling through galleries, direct marketing through the web and public relations. You will learn about attending exhibitions and selling direct rather than giving a high percentage to galleries or shops as a recommended route to market. You will learn to stand on three legs not two. Design, Market, and Production.
To secure a good job as “an improver” your attitude and your core skills are what really count
We have every respect for people who feel that they need qualifications to become a furniture maker. We have played our part in the establishment of National Vocation Qualifications in Hand Crafted furniture levels 1 to 3 and seen those qualifications systematically destroyed over the past twenty years.
WE HAVE THE REPUTATION WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY TO GET YOU INSIDE THE DOOR
When a maker comes here for a job the last thing we do is look at her qualifications, we see their work, in photographs and in real life, we ask them to do some work for us to see how they go about it, we check out their tools, they say a lot. Its called a trade test, every good workshop does something similar, and finally, we call up the last guy that was her trainer or employer and ask what is this person really like to work with?
In this context your method of applying, your letter, how you deal with the interview and your attitude is what really counts. We have seen most of the trade tests of most of the mayor workshops and sent many students to successful interview properly equipped to succeed. We know how to do this and WE HAVE THE THE REPUTATION WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY to get you inside the door. The rest is up to you.
“Hi Daren, and everyone else at Rowden. I’m just writing to tell you that the moment I got back I had job offers like crazy. I accepted a job at “Wasatch Woodwrights Inc”. and I now am making beautiful furniture and some cabinetry.
They have made a huge difference in my job options.
Because of what I was taught at Rowden I started out as the second highest paid employee, and am loving my job! I just want to tell you thanks Daren, Ed and Jon for all the skills I learned while attending at Rowden. They have made a huge difference in my job options. I am also building furniture on the side my boss lets me use his whole shop for my own projects. Thanks again Ed, please keep in touch I need you to motivate me into drawing and painting more. And for those of you who are thinking about going to school at Rowden workshop I can not say enough good things about it. It was the best year of my life and if I was rich I would still be there and I guarantee I’d still be learning the whole time”.
PS “please throw something at Harry for me.”
This is your investment in yourself. Check out the great work being done by our students in the student furniture design gallery, see the new emerging businesses set up by former students and see the established workshops on our special ‘crit days’. All are changing and growing a step at a time. You could do this with the proper training.
Taking a year out is a big step. We know this and have helped many people take that step. We know that managing the risk is the key to it so we will help you assess this workshop at no cost to yourself. We run one week Master classes with only two or three students. Take the “Basics” Master class, the cost of this is £790, get the feel of the place, meet the students, talk with the staff, try it out. If you then decide to commit to the 50 week course we will discount your year course fee by £790. I CANT BE FAIRER THAN THAT CAN I?