Meet the team

During your time here on one of our many fine woodworking courses, you’ll be learning key skills from our team of knowledgeable expert Rowden tutors, discovering everything from the key woodworking techniques, through to digital image making, web design and finances. If you have a question, our team of teachers at Rowden Atelier 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 teachers at Rowden. Daren Milman has worked with David for over fifteen years. Ed Wild, Jonathan Greenwood, Matthew Lacey and Jonathan Walter all trained directly with David Savage. All can offer, from different viewpoints, 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 Milman - Rowden woodworking tutor

This is Senior Craftsman, Daren Milman – Daren runs the workshops and has been working with us at Rowden for over fifteen years. With a four-year apprenticeship 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 the industry. Daren will be helping to set that up. It would be nice to have a separate workshop making to the highest level but going at a speed. Where jobs are made to a time as well as 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 - senior tutor at Rowden

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. 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 trained here at Rowden about ten years ago and carries with him all the ideals that we Rowden tutors 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 complemented by 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. 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 working 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 Wild’s tough demands. Jon is kind, patient and supportive, whilst being demanding at the same time. An exceptional maker himself Jon’s guidance will get you to that tight joint and polished surface.

Matthew Lacey: an eye for the detail

Matt Lacey - Commercial Head at Rowden

It will be Matthew that you speak with when first enquiring about coming to Rowden and he’s likely the first person you’ll meet. He takes care of the commercial aspects at Rowden and our broader development. He also runs our marketing efforts as well as being resident photographer for all of our student and bespoke work.

Another of the Rowden alumni, Matthew carries an impeccable focus on composition and strong design in his own making. If you want to better understand the positive impact time spent at Rowden can have, speak with Matthew.

Jonathan Walter: accountant turned furniture maker

Jonathan Walter - Business tutor at Rowden

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?

As a former student and now successful businessman, Jonathan knows what it takes to turn Rowden tutelage into a career in the industry. In a past life, he was an accountant at a prominent American firm, now he leads Bark Furniture – a Cornwall based furniture business selling worldwide.

Jonathan will be especially encouraging to 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.

Admin – Rachel Hudson

Rachel admin staff photo

Rachel is a crucial cog in the smooth running of Rowden and a useful contact for all current and potential students. If you need help finding accommodation nearby or want to rearrange a course, contact Rachel, who is in the office three days a week, via the contact form.

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