Christian Burt, from Portland, Oregon Paul Hartman from Alberta, Canada

Each year The Chippendale International School of Furniture takes 26 students from around the world for its 30-week professional course that is a pathway to a career in fine furniture design and making.

The school, near Edinburgh, this year welcomed students from the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Poland, Germany and Iceland.

Student of the Year was Christian Burt, from Portland, Oregon, who won the prestigious award for his exceptional furniture made while studying on the professional course. 

His Japanese-inspired tea cabinet, made in Sycamore and Beech, showed off his high level of accuracy and craftsmanship.

It has a kumiko limewood front panel, which is the delicate and ancient Japanese art of assembling pieces of wood without using nails.

Christian’s specific design, asanoha, is a particularly popular motif still used in architecture, fashion and graphic design.

The asanoha pattern, based on regular hexagons or an aggregate of triangles, is widely used on kimono and baby clothes, and is believed to give health and long life.

Christian is now returning to Portland to set up Christian Taylor Fine Woodcraft.

The Students’ Choice Award, chosen by the students themselves, went to Grant Anderson, originally from Zimbabwe but now living in Scotland.

His signature piece was a drinks cabinet with some 1.8 metres of tambour door.

The complexity involved in Grant’s drinks cabinet is that the external tambour doors also attach to an inner tambour mechanism, giving a real sense of motion as the tambour doors move in opposite directions.

Grant will now pursue a new career in fine woodworking. 

The Best Design Award went to Ross Cunnison, originally from Aberdeenshire but now living in Edinburgh, who first came to the Chippendale school on a one-week introductory course.

His portfolio included a sideboard made from olive Ash, a coffee table in walnut and Oak, and a hall table in solid Oak.

Ross is going forwards with his furniture making business, Ross Cunnison Bespoke Furniture.

Each year, our students show off their pieces at a public exhibition in Edinburgh, with the public invited to vote for their favourite designer.

This year’s Public’s Choice Award went to Paul Hartman from Alberta, Canada whose signature piece was a rocking chair inspired by the late Sam Maloof whose rockers are in national collections, and have been owned by US presidents.

Paul is returning to Alberta to set up his own furniture design business, Dry Tree Construction.

One unique aspect of a professional course at the Chippendale school is that it teaches the basics of business planning and marketing, to give students the best start post-graduation.

The Marketing Award is given to the student who creates the best portfolio of marketing materials, and this year’s winner was Heather Jones from Los Angeles.

She demonstrated a flair for giving personality to her pieces, carrying fun and quirky descriptions into her promotional materials.

She’s initially returning to the USA and setting up Heather Jones Bespoke Furniture.

The Richard Demarco Prize 2019 was awarded to a Northern Irish student who used the Brexit debate to create a humorous, yet pointed, piece of furniture.

The annual prize is awarded by the celebrated Professor Richard Demarco CBE, one of the UK’s leading arts commentators.

Professor Demarco’s prize is awarded to the student whose work not only displays design and woodworking skill but exceptional artistic talent.

Stephen Barr’s “Strong and Stable Brexit Cabinet,” in walnut and Japanese ash, depicts the Union Jack on one door, and the EU’s stars on the other.

Stephen is setting up Starship Unicorn Furniture from premises in West Lothian.

“This has been an exceptional year, with our students designing and making some fantastic pieces,” said Anselm Fraser, the school’s principal.

“I’d like to congratulate every one of our graduates for their hard work and wish them all well in their new careers,” he said.

To find out more about the School, see
The Chippendale International School of Furniture website.