workshops and design studio
Tel: +44 (0) 1984 667555
workshop and design studio
Our school is set in the heart of the beautiful West Somerset countryside, on the edge of the Brendon Hills. Offering stunning views across the Quantock Hills, this beautiful location, combined with a well equipped workshop makes Williams and Cleal the perfect investment of time in your future career or hobby. We encourage you to come take a look for yourself.
The workshop is split into two areas. At one end we undertake commissions, and at the other end there is a dedicated teaching area
We feel this provides the perfect solution; the students have the opportunity to see work being produced in a commercial setting, while having their own dedicated area to concentrate on their projects.
We restrict student numbers to a maximum of 8, to ensure as much personal tuition as possible. We provide each student with their own cabinet making bench and workspace, storage, worklight and stool. There are also facilities for secure tool storage.
the machine room
We are fully equipped with all the standard wood working machines and hand power tools you would expect to find in a small to medium sized professional workshop. All machines meet current Health and Safety regulations and are fully extracted and maintained.
The main machines include:
- Dimension saw
- Single end tenoner
- Spindle moulder
- Belt sander
the creative hub
The creative hub is where our students learn all the fundamental skills to support their furniture making. Although we recognise that for a lot of our students the making element of our courses is principally why they are here, we also encourage the development of complementary skills, such as; design, drawing, Auto-CAD and photography.
As we can offer students a completely bespoke course, many of the skills taught in the creative hub are optional, and we tailor them to meet specific requirements.
On our one year course after students have completed the initial three set projects, we encourage them to make furniture to their own designs. The set projects are used to ensure that all essential hand, tool and machining skills are covered before venturing onto more complex designs.
Jane, the principal tutor not only gives theory lessons on the key design principals such as aesthetics, proportions and ergonomics, but she is also on hand to help students create their own designs. We want to inspire our students, and equip them with the necessary skills to develop their own ‘design identity’.
Theory tutorials and lectures cover a broad spectrum of topics from timber technology to business studies. Jane runs these short lectures in pairs or small groups, so they can be referenced to the students’ specific needs. A full list of the topics covered can be found under the ‘course content’ section of the website.
These theory sessions give the students a good grounding, and a better understanding of all furniture and related subjects, and then built to inspire, challenge and support each student in their individual development.
All design work undertaken by Williams and Cleal starts with pencil sketching. Students are therefore encouraged to keep sketch books. We feel this is one of the best ways to help students develop their creative side, and explore all avenues of design.
We realise that drawing isn’t everyone’s strong point so Jane, and often practising visiting artists are on hand to give you support and practical guidance to help in this area. Drawing sessions will not only cover how to draw, but will also encourage students to explore and develop their own unique style. This improves the ability to 'see', critique, and share ideas with others. It will also give you the ability to produce presentation drawings for both yourself and potential clients.
Students frequently ask us ‘Is it best to design with pencil and sketch book or CAD?’ The short answer is that we promote the use of both. It is so important in this day and age to use the appropriate medium and to have a varied range of skills at our disposal.
We teach our students how to use a range of computer packages to draw up designs, with the primary programs being Auto-CAD, Inventor, Solid works and Google sketch up. Computer Aided Design has many advantages over the traditional drawing board. On a simple level, it enables you to document, amend and print out your designs far easier than by hand. It also allows our students to explore the potential of digital technology e.g. CNC machining or laser cutting veneers.
During a fairly intensive program of lessons our students gain a vital insight into the uses of the CAD software, building a good understanding of the programs. This hopefully leaves them in a position to comfortably produce their own working drawings for future projects. Auto-CAD support is also available during the entire length of the course.
We encourage students to learn to photograph their own finished pieces of furniture, not only does this act as a good record for their portfolio, but the photos can also be used for promotional literature for magazines or websites.
Jane is on hand to give advice on different camera settings and the correct lighting to use to get the desired effect. We also have a professional photographer on hand to come in and give advice on achieving the best results.
Apart from the obvious cost savings, learning to photograph your own furniture also gives you the ability to portray your work in the way you intend.
There is two small kitchen area's equipped with a sink, kettle, toaster and microwave to prepare food and make hot drinks. Both the machine shop and study room have toilet facilities. Adequate parking is also provided at the workshop.