Anselm Fraser's Wooden kilt for National Tartan Day Anselm Fraser's Wooden kilt for National Tartan Day

It’s a Scottish icon that’s been reinvented by a leading furniture designer, although the words wood and kilt don’t immediately go together.

However, that’s what Anselm Fraser, founder and principal of the Chippendale International School of Furniture in central Scotland, has done to help celebrate National Tartan Day.

It’s an American celebration that was created in 1998, when the U.S. Senate declared April 6th to be National Tartan Day to recognize the contributions made by Scottish-Americans to the United States.

The highlight of the day is a 4,000-strong parade from West 45th Street to 55th Street up Sixth Avenue, and this year led by Grand Marshall KT Tunstall, the Scottish singer-songwriter and musician.

Anselm Fraser’s unique kilt combines carefully-crafted wooden slats with hessian, creating a 21st century take on an age-old garment.

“The wooden kilt is about demonstrating that furniture design should have no boundaries because the human imagination has no boundaries,” said Anselm.

He admits that his creation isn’t the most comfortable garment but argues that isn’t the point.  “What’s important is to continually challenge convention, and to reinvent what can be achieved through the medium of wood,” he said.

Each year the Chippendale school welcomes a small number of students from across the world to its 30-week professional course which starts in October, but which provides the equivalent of a three-year course in less than a year.

During the intensive course, students learn all the skills they’ll need to design, make and restore furniture.  The school’s tutors are all cabinet makers themselves, so therefore understand the demands of the woodworking profession – and how to translate skill into a worthwhile business.

The school also takes in students for one-week introductory courses and, a new addition, a one-month intermediate course.

This year, the school has three American students – John Grillo, from Denver who is a former business intelligence analyst, Vanessa Johnston, previously a marketing director and graphic designer from Seattle, and Brian London, originally from North Carolina, who is a former law enforcement officer.

Reinforcing the school’s transatlantic link, a visiting tutor is the renowned American artist and craftsman Scott Grove, whose work is a part of, among others, the permanent collection of the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York.

“Furniture design is timeless and international, but is also about finding new ways to express creativity in wood – whether that’s a table, chair or wooden kilt,” said Anselm Fraser.

To find out more about the School, the courses and their fees on offer, see
The Chippendale International School of Furniture website.