Trip to Vastern's Timber Yard

Vastern's Timber.jpg

Trip to Vastern's Timber Yard


Throughout the year, we like to take our students offsite on trips that will enrich their learning and understanding of timber, materials, cabinetmaking and the bespoke furniture industry.

A particular favourite is a trip to Vastern Timber in Wiltshire, the countries largest and most established hardwood sawmill.

Vastern's Timber is a family business, owned and run by three members of the Barnes family; Peter, Jon and Tom. Yesterday, Tom Barnes took time out of his day to show our students around Vasterns and to share his incredible and detailed understanding and knowledge of timber with us. We always look forward to a visit to Vastern's, as the information that we learn there is always incredibly interesting and valuable to us in terms of understanding and selecting the best wood as furniture makers.

Vastern's timber have four log-converting bandmills, computer controlled drying kilns and well equipped machining faciliities; which enables Vasterns to process both hardwoods and softwoods and they  cut and process their own logs. This means that they can offer a range of species, grades and specifications that may not be available at other merchants.

A trip to Vasterns is also a great opportunity for our students to stock up on materials for their upcoming projects. Henry had the opportunity to select and check several boards of Olive Ash for his Sam Maloof inspired rocking chair -  and came back to the workshop with a car load of beautiful timber to get started on.

For more information on other trips that we run to compliment learning on our Furniture Designer Maker Year long course - please feel free to contact the office for an informal chat.

School Visit to 100% Design and TENT for London Design Week


School Visit to 100% Design and TENT for London Design Week


 On Friday 22nd September, Jane Cleal took four students to London to visit the 100% Design exhibition and TENT.

Trips like these are optional at the school, but Jane Cleal is a real advocate of our students attending design events and exhibitions because they improve awareness of production manufacturing techniques, keep students aware of the current trends in design and interiors, offer good design inspiration and are a good insight into how industry presents itself in terms of stalls, branding etc.

It’s also a jolly day out from the workshop!

Our students really enjoyed both exhibitions and got very different things out of both 100% Design and TENT.

From 100% design, many of the students found inspiration in the pieces that they saw – but also found it very beneficial for making links with suppliers. Tim was interested to discover veneer suppliers and leather manufacturers that were in the locality of where he lives – and he was able to talk to them about new production processes and advances in leather printing that he was unaware of before his visit.

All of our students found TENT really interesting, with some preferring it over 100% Design for the reason that you can meet smaller makers and have a better conversation with them about their design and making process. Our students commented that TENT felt like a better place to network, and that in being able to talk with the smaller makers, there were useful discoveries to be made such as new and interesting materials being used in design - and how to work with different materials.

As such our students came back with ideas incorporating new materials they had not been aware of before their visit.

It also shows just how important it is to take time out of the workshop to connect with other makers and experience where the industry is - and where it’s going.

For more information about other trips that we offer our full time students, feel free to give the office a call on 01984 667555.

Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design 2017


Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design 2017


Last week the annual Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design took place at the Thirlestaine Long Gallery at Cheltenham College in Gloucester. CCD is the largest exhibition of contemporary desigher-maker furniture in the UK and it draws visitors and exhibitors from around the world. The exhibition showcases the work of the very best makers and emerging talent in the world of furniture design and making.

It is a really important calendar event for our students - and  we strongly encourage our students to not only submit their work for entry into the Alan Peters Award for Excellence (which gives three new designer-makers the opportunity to win free exhibition space for their entry at the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design) but also to visit the Celebration of Craftsmanship and immerse themselves in the design styles and work exhibited there.

Our current students attended the show's VIP opening evening, and met with several past Williams and Cleal students - all now successfully running their own bespoke furniture companies and exhibiting their work at the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design.

It was great to see past students Damain Robinson from BlytheHart Made, Maria and Charlie from Byron and Gomez, Irene Banham from Irene Banham Furniture and Thomas from Thomas Whittingham Furniture all recieving great interest in their work. Congratulations to our student Finn James, one of the winners of this year's Alan Peters Award for Excellence who won the opportunity to exhibit his 'Brompton' coffee table at this years show.

Student Visit to Artichoke Ltd and Vastern Timber

Student visit to Artichoke Ltd and Vastern Timber

Student visit to Artichoke Ltd and Vastern Timber

This month, our students have been on two trips to augment their learning and understanding of the furniture making industry.

The first trip was to Artichoke Ltd, a high end bespoke furniture company based in Cheddar.  Bruce Hodgson and John Hampton kindly gave their time to tour the students around the workshop of Artichoke and talk to us about the developments in the industry in design and production. It was a very inspiring visit, and very informative for the students in terms of developments in the furniture making industry.

Our second trip was to Vastern's Timber near Wootten Bassett. Tom Barnes kindly spent a few hours touring our students around the timber yards. Tom gave a very informative talk on everything though to how the timber is cut, dried and stored... to advice on good timber selection.

Both visits were incredibly useful to the students and a real highlight to the week.

Student Field Trip to Halstock Ltd

Student Field Trip to Halstock Ltd - bespoke luxury interior company.


This week our school visited Halstock, a company that design, manufacture and install luxury bespoke interiors.The students got a real feel for the work carried out at Halstock with talks covering all aspects of production from consultation through to design, to creation and making. We look forward to working with Halstock going forward to enhance our students learning experience and employment opportunities.

Clerkenwell Design Week 2014

Clerkenwell Design Week 2014

Earlier this week we had a llittle excursion to London to the Clerkenwell Design week. 

The exhibition now its 5th year is one the UK's leading independent design festival and annually attracts the international design community to London.

With over 60 showrooms and 200 design brands, it was a great opportunity for the students to see what other designers are making and maybe get some inspiration for their next piece.