The Artichoke School of Furniture

At Artichoke we believe what we do enhances people’s lives. Our vision is that in 100 years, English design and craftsmanship will have continued to flourish, and our interiors will be celebrated by future generations.

We count ourselves very fortunate to have found our craft, although much of the team have discovered Artichoke via rather circuitous routes.  Among our ranks is an ex prison officer, an ex ad man and an ex paramedic.  Despite our eclectic backgrounds, we are united in the belief that the skills we are lucky enough to have learned should be passed on.

To help realise our vision, we are delighted to be launching the Artichoke School of Furniture. A series of free introductory courses for Somerset teenagers, who are interested in learning the basic skills of furniture making.  The aim of these courses will be to try and light the first spark of enthusiasm for cabinet making.

The initial five week pilot is being run for youngsters studying at the Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar, before being rolled out to the wider community.   The course will be run by Artichoke cabinet makers Wilma and Inigo, and accompanied by Kai Holmes who teaches Design Technology at the Kings of Wessex Academy . The students will be in excellent hands.

 

Artichoke cabinet makers Inigo and Wilma

Wilma completed the one year Williams and Cleal furniture course before joining Artichoke in 2018.  Prior to this she was a Prison Officer in Bristol.  Inigo began his furniture journey in France,  first as a restorer in Paris before completing his apprenticeship at La Bonne Graine.  He eventually began  his own furniture making business while simultaneously running evening classes for French teenagers.

 

A set of tools from Axminster
Kindly provided by Axminster Tools. A great kit for budding students to begin their making journeys with.

Learning the skills which which make our our craft so compelling is hugely fun, but we cannot run a course like this without a great set of tools.  We are particularly grateful to the amazing team at Axminster Tools who have generously provided our students with the use of the most amazing starter kit any budding maker could wish for.

We have great hopes for the Artichoke School of Furniture, which first started as a gem of an idea in 2017 and has largely been driven by our production manager, John Hampton, a deeply passionate and committed craftsman.  We have since been notified of other organisations also looking at grass routes education.  The Carpenter’s Company, of which our company founder Bruce Hodgson is a member, has a long tradition of delivering high quality education training in building crafts and building conservation.  The Furniture Maker’s Company, a livery company dedicated to supporting furniture making trade in numerous ways is also hugely proactive in this area.  We hope our combined efforts help us achieve our vision.

The first course starts in April 2019, and we can’t wait to report on our first Students’ progress!  We will report back.

To see some of the stunning work we have completed please click here.