If you’re keen to get into furniture making, there’s no better time than the present to start looking for ways to fulfil your potential, as Tom Fraser, Principal of The Chippendale International School of Furniture shows here
Limitations often lead to creative solutions and lockdown is perhaps the greatest limitation many of us will have ever encountered. But being forced to withdraw from society, from our friends and loved ones – from our normal lives – has given us all more time to reflect.
Following what has been a truly difficult time for so many people, possibly a glimmer of hope is that we will come out of this with a changed perspective on what is important. Perhaps more of us will choose to follow creatively fulfilling paths. Given the time to tinker, to experiment with designs, and play about with the limited resources in our garden sheds, the joy of creativity may well be reignited and perhaps we’ll see more woodworkers in our midst in years to come.
Midlife career changers
Long before lockdown, The Chippendale International School of Furniture was a haven for those in midlife seeking a change of career. People with established careers from a range of industries – from lawyers, to GPs, to car mechanics – have chosen to study as professional furniture makers. Often, the appeal has been the freedom to make things by hand, and the gentler pace of life that woodworking affords. There is something very meaningful about being able to produce a piece of furniture that will be used every day. That sense of fulfilment is harder to emulate if you’re in a job that you’re not particularly passionate about. With more time to reflect, however, perhaps we will see more people embracing the possibility of a new and exciting career in woodworking.
Hobbyists & DIY enthusiasts
Many of our graduates started their woodworking careers carrying out small DIY projects at home. There is something very soothing about working with wood. Craft projects are all-absorbing in their nature and can be welcome distractions during times of stress, and the joy of working with natural materials can be very therapeutic. Often, the demands of everyday life mean we're pulled away from ‘just for fun’ projects, because they rarely make the top of our priority checklist.
This is a shame as making time for the things we love doing can make us so much happier.
My bet is that during lockdown, many hobbyists will have the opportunity to develop their woodworking skills and realise their talent. The creative challenge of not having all the right tools or materials will inspire people to think laterally, so I’m sure that, as a community, we’ll learn of all sorts of interesting approaches to design and making in the months and years to come.
It's certainly a difficult time to be a young person starting out with so much uncertainty at present. While university might not necessarily be a straightforward route to employment for the next few years, perhaps more young people will be encouraged to take up woodworking careers.
Many of our youngest students joined us because they wanted a faster route into business. By building their skills they are able to get a job with an existing furniture company or start a business straightaway. While the coronavirus has thrown a huge spanner in the works for many, one wonders if it will inspire inquisitive minds to follow their dreams of working in a creative field?
If you're keen to get into furniture making, there's no better time than the present to start looking for ways to fulfil your potential... Will you look back on Spring 2020 as a new beginning or a positive turning point when you took the leap? Our woodworking courses are hugely fulfilling and enjoyed by people from all walks of life. If you're interested in finding out more, click here.
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