Bespoke joinery specialists in the making

solid oak joinery door being assembled

We are pleased to share the news that the third year of the Artichoke School of Furniture concludes this month, an initiative we started in 2019 as a series of free evening courses for local school children.

The school’s aim is to introduce local 16 and 17 year olds to the world of bespoke joinery and fitted furniture.  This year, five Year 12 students from Backwell School came along, with their teacher, Head of DT, Robin Lavelle and her assistant Ken Trevitt.  Ken is also very experienced as was formerly Head of Department at another school.

Bespoke cabinet maker in workshop

Bespoke joinery specialists Wilma, Rosie and Ed took on the task of briefing and coaching the students through the mission which was to create a box jointed tray using various timbers – walnut, teak, chestnut, and oak.

Student learning how to use bespoke joinery tools

Wilma described the group as ‘super keen’ and as having achieved some stunning results.  One of the students, Adam Kendall, has making in the blood.  His great, great grandfather was a carpenter who worked on the entrance doors to the Wills Memorial building.  Adam is in possession of his ancestor’s handmade tools.  While Adam has always enjoyed making, being in the Artichoke environment has helped him recognise the importance of taking time to achieve the finer tolerances required for high quality bespoke joinery.  He aspires to one day commission an Artichoke kitchen!

It takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to create interiors which will be admired in hundreds of years.  The reason antiques exist today is because they were made properly, many years ago, by skilled craftsmen and women who took care.  They took the same care then as Artichoke’s team of bespoke cabinet makers do today. That’s why we work on some of the most intriguing and elaborate bespoke joinery commissions of our time.

A panelled hallway and jib door

The foundation of the Artichoke School of Furniture goes a small way to help us build on these principles and to deliver our company vision, which is that in 100 years, English design and craftsmanship continues to flourish; creating interiors and bespoke joinery that will be celebrated by future generations.

The model for the Artichoke School of Furniture is simple so it can be rolled out by other makers wishing to inspire young people in their local communities.

As teacher, Ken Trevitt pointed out

‘We don’t have enough contact with industry in DT.  Having students come in and have a go is a really good way of promoting a business as a good place to work and helps young people to understand the wide range of jobs that are available, not just the ones everyone’s heard of!’

If you are a cabinet maker or craftsperson, and you’re interested in rolling out our model into your own community, please contact us at newprojects@artichoke.co.uk

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