“We have at Rowden a series of workshops  with usually between 15 and 18 students. Two things are absolutely of paramount importance to me. One is the quality of the work. The other is a good atmosphere within the workshops. It is very much about wanting to make something exceptional. We select our students based on these criteria. This is not about prior qualifications, it is not about prior experience, its not about age or sex or nationality. It is very much about wanting to make something exceptional, and wanting to make a modest living out of it at the same time. I have spent most of my life working out how to use my creative talent without compromise and at the same time make a living, it is this I want to pass on as much as anything else; How to paddle your own boat


Your personal qualities are what we value

David Savage teaching watercolouring

One thing I would like to absolutely stress is that you can come here to attend one of our woodworking courses without ever having picked up a chisel or a plane in your whole life. Without even knowing which end of a chisel is the sharp end. It doesn’t matter. We will teach you everything from the most basic assumption. At the same time, that shouldn’t exclude somebody who has been working in the lumber trade for 20 years but feels they want to improve their skills. We can work with you from a different starting point and this is what we do best in building a personalised course.


I have had students who come here with redundancy payments from the coal mining industry and others with 4 year college courses in furniture design. I have had former diplomats and captains of industry. The thing that unites them is an innate intelligence, a will to make something to exceptional quality and the will to make something that perhaps extends their own sense of artistic ability.


The “Arty” side worries some people and it shouldn’t do. I am looking for students who feel that the creative is a part of their life that is maybe missing or underdeveloped. In which case we can encourage and enable you to make something beautiful using your hands and eyes and feelings. Certainly the work in the workshops is complementary to the work we do in the art studio. The work we are making for my clients should also, at best, be inspirational or, at least, encouraging. Seeing a curve on a piece of wood and spoke shaving it in the daytime helps no end for somebody looking at a similar curve on a nude life model the same evening. We are using our eyes and our hands synergistically and those open to it can begin to learn how to look, see, and draw, in a relatively short time.

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