Introducing the line up for The New Makers’ Conference 2023

As part of our commitment to nurturing the designers and makers of the future we are hosting, in collaboration with the Furniture Makers’ Company, our second New Makers’ Conference on 2 June at Wells Museum in Somerset. ⁠ We are bringing together experienced furniture designers and makers with those who are just starting out, focusing on how new enterprises start and grow, exploring routes from training into business, and how to achieve results with effective marketing, exhibiting, and retailing. The event has completely sold out which we think proves the appetite for this kind of support and opportunity to network.  Our thanks go to the fantastic line up of speakers we have in store.  We take this opportunity to offer a bit of background on each.

The speakers

Bruce Hodgson

As the founder, and CEO of Artichoke, Bruce Hodgson leads the Artichoke team.

Photo of Bruce Hodgson founder of artichoke

Bruce founded Artichoke nearly 30 years ago after studying at the London School of Furniture. He remains the creative force behind the company, overseeing the direction of every project we design. A highly experienced kitchen and furniture designer, interior architect, cabinet maker and fitter, Bruce takes a keen interest in the domestic layouts of country and town houses and in how their architecture can be manipulated to improve how rooms function for Artichoke clients. Bruce is particularly interested in the joinery designs of Sir Edwin Lutyens as well as Edwardian and Georgian joinery detail. In 2018, Bruce was elected as a member of The Carpenters’ Company, a City of London Livery Company, set up in 1477 to safeguard the welfare of those working in the profession. Bruce regularly uses his position as a liveryman to support, promote and encourage woodworking crafts and also works to create clear pathways for young people into craft-based businesses like Artichoke.

Eleanor Lakelin

Eleanor is a renowned wood sculptor with work exhibited in the V&A and other leading museums around the world. She came to wood sculpture having trained in furniture and cabinet making at London Guildhall University.

Photo of Elanor Lakelin in her studio

Brought up in a rural village in Wales, Eleanor Lakelin worked on educational projects in Europe and West Africa before retraining as a cabinetmaker in 1995. Since 2011 she has concentrated on the vessel form, studying with established makers whenever possible but largely teaching herself to hollow and carve works of increasing scale and ambition. Her sculptural objects are created using a traditional woodworking lathe and centuries-old chisels and gouges alongside modern carving techniques.

Eleanor works only with trees grown in Britain, felled due to decay. Her deep knowledge and a passionate interest in the natural properties of wood result in forms that seem true to the spirit of the material, and which encourage us to look at the complexities of nature with a new perspective. Her work is rooted in the rhythm of growth, the eroding power of the elements and the passing of time. She transforms wood into objects that invite touch and reflection, reminding us of our elemental and emotional bond with wood and our relationship to the earth.

Eleanor’s work is exhibited internationally and included in prestigious museum and private collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, Museum of London and Mint Museum, USA. She is the recipient of notable awards and commendations including a QEST Scholarship 2018, British Wood Award 2017 (Bespoke category), Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize 2014 (nomination) and The Cockpit Arts / Worshipful Company of Turners Award 2011. She lives and works in London and is represented by Sarah Myerscough Gallery.


John Makepeace

Pre-eminent designer-maker, founder of  John Makepeace Furniture, founder of Parnham School which he ran for 25 years, producing a generation of very high-quality furniture makers, and Hooke Park, a centre for using sustainable timber in architecture and furniture, now run by the Architectural Association.

Photo of John Makepeace OBE


To a generation of makers and craft students he is simply known as “the father of British furniture design” but John describes his career as an ‘adventure in wood’. He first saw furniture being made at the age of 11, and visited the great cabinet-makers in Copenhagen as a teenager. Rather than go to Oxford, he trained as a cabinet-maker. ‘Qualify to teach so that you have options when you fail as a furniture maker’ was the blunt advice from Keith Cooper with whose workshop John trained. Although, the prospects for a young designer-maker were not great in 1957, by the age of 22 his designs were being sold in Heals, Liberty’s and Harrods.

After being frustrated with the educational system that seemed to be anti-entrepreneurial, John set up Parnham School to give students everything they needed to start out in business and to fill educational gaps. He was a founding member of the Crafts Council, and in 1976 bought Parnham House in Dorset to provide larger studios for his growing design practice, where he also set-up The Parnham Trust to provide courses for aspiring furniture-makers. Between 1977 and 2001, the Trust educated a generation of designers and makers who have established successful businesses around the world. After 25 years, Parnham Trust amalgamated with the Architectural Association which now runs practical programmes for aspiring architects.

John’s furniture can be seen in exhibitions and galleries in the UK and abroad. In 2010 he received a Special Commendation from the Prince Philip Designers Prize and in 2011 a 50-year retrospective of his work, supported by the Arts Council, toured the UK. He was awarded an OBE in 1988 for services to furniture design and in 2002 received the American Furniture Society’s Award of Distinction.


Chris Hyde

A trained cabinetmaker and antique restorer whose interest in the furniture and furnishings industry came from his upbringing in a family retail furnishing company G.B. Hyde and Son, which traded for 128 years in Cambridgeshire. Chris is Rycotewood course director and co-chairman of the Furniture Makers’ Company Education and Training Committee.

Photo of Chris Hyde

Chris is passionate about sharing his broad skills and knowledge along with a belief that creativity, crafts, community, training, and education firmly go hand in hand. His experience of furniture includes retail, industry contract furniture prototyping and as a furniture restorer for the TVADA and LAPADA antique trade.

All these experiences have supported his 28 years role in leadership of an outstanding specialist professional furniture education and training centre that is Rycotewood Furniture in Oxfordshire.

As Chairman of the Education Committee for The Furniture Makers he has a vision for a thriving British furnishing Industry with a talented workforce. Influencing and inspiring, signposting, connecting the next generation into the furniture industry creating a line of sight to employers.


Sean Evelegh

Sean is an award winning, independent designer-maker of fine furniture. His passion for creating beautiful wooden furniture embraces the whole process, from milling up the tree, to applying the final coat of finish. He has a deep understanding of the capabilities of different wood species and always looks to incorporate the natural beauty of the wood in his designs. Sean is a perfectionist who devotes as much time to the unseen parts of the piece as to the seen and has a very successful YouTube channel where he documents his efforts.

Photo of Sean Evelegh
A young, innovative fine woodworker, based in Kent, UK.  He would describe himself as a creator of modern pieces, informed by traditional methods, but always looking to push the boundaries. His making journey started at Ryecotewood Furniture Centre, renowned for excellence in delivering vocational training for people who want careers in furniture design and making and followed by setting up his own successful woodworking business with his brother Daniel. He is a brand ambassador for Latham Timber, Axminster Tools, and Rubio Monocoat.


Mark Boddington

Founder, and CEO of Silver Lining, furniture maker and entrepreneur. He trained at the John Makepeace School for Craftsmen in wood to then establish Silverlining furniture in 1985.

photo of mark Boddington

Coming from the famous brewing family, Chris opted out of the beer business in favour of a life at the bench and drawing board. Today Mark leads his team at Silverlining Furniture with a progressive design ethos that combines time-honoured craftsmanship techniques with the latest technologies and for supporting tomorrow’s designers and makers. Their 70-strong team of designers, makers, project managers and other specialists are based in Wrexham in North Wales – a base from where they create museum-quality furniture that finds its way to palaces, galleries, corporate headquarters, homes, yachts and private jets around the world.

What unites them is the passion for bringing together creativity with the highest levels of craftsmanship while seeking out the finest materials – from rare woods and exquisite leathers to precious metals – drawing on the best of old and new techniques.


Hattie Speed

An award winning designer-maker and creator of the multi-disciplinary project, This Girl Makes.

Photo of hattie speed


Although, Hattie’s specialty is fine furniture making, she uses different mediums within her creative practice, to spread the message that craft should be accessible to all. Being motivated by her childhood bereavement, she believe that making has life-changing, therapeutic benefits and is a basic human need.

For Hattie, This Girl Makes means questioning binaries, challenging traditions and engaging with marginalised people.

She is an experienced Creative with a demonstrated history of working in the design, manufacturing, and education industries. Skilled in Guest Lecturing, CAD, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Woodwork, and Creative Problem Solving. Enthusiastic advocate for social equality and empowerment with a Bachelor of Arts – BA Hons focused in Furniture Design and Manufacturing from Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Oxford Brookes University.


Katie Walker

Founder of Katie Walker Furniture and furniture designer with a background in fine art.

Photo of katie walker furniture maker

She creates furniture that has a timeless and iconic aesthetic with each piece designed to raise a smile and bring pleasure to the end user. By crafting and marrying form and tension, she produces sculptural and user-friendly furniture that can be enjoyed and handed down the generations. Her formative years were spent working as a designer-maker on corporate and private commissions, and developing the inaugural pieces in the Katie Walker Collection, some of which are still available. During this time, Katie was awarded a grant from the Crafts Council and a loan from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, which allowed her to set up the workshop where she still uses the original machinery for developing designs.

In her work she combines fine art and sculpture with practical design, architectural detailing and the geometric patterns found in nature, constantly looking for ideas that can trigger a fresh solution to structural problems.  She works predominantly in European hardwoods which are always sustainably sourced.


Our thanks go to Axminster Tools & Machinery and Halstock Cabinet Makers for sponsoring this event.


About Artichoke

Artichoke was founded in 1992. From simple beginnings on a borrowed workshop bench, it is now a team of 50 with private clients all over the world. The company’s focus is to create architectural joinery led rooms which will form part of a building’s architectural heritage for centuries.

Learn more about our commitment to nurturing creative talent.

New Makers Conference 2023 Announced

Image of speaker at Artichoke makers conference

Are you studying design and furniture making or are a designer or maker that is just starting out?

As part of our commitment to nurturing the designers and makers of the future we are hosting, in collaboration with the Furniture Makers’ Company, our second New Makers’ Conference on 2 June at Wells Museum in Somerset. ⁠

We are bringing together experienced furniture designers and makers with those who are just starting out, focusing on how new enterprises start and grow, exploring routes from training into business, and how to achieve results with effective marketing, exhibiting, and retailing.


Image of a speaker at conference

Stories will be shared, and lessons learned from those who have been in the industry for many years and from those who have recently begun. Our speakers will tell all about what mistakes they made and where things worked out well and share lots of practical advice on how to survive the first five years.

You will have an opportunity to ask questions of our speakers and debate the latest challenges facing the industry.

Book your tickets

Image of two women at Artichoke Makers Conference

When and where is Makers Conference 2023?

Friday the 2nd of June
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Doors open at 9:00 a.m.

At Wells & Mendip Museum
8 Cathedral Green

We are hoping that the weather will hold for us to enjoy the use of The Walled Garden.

You can refer to ‘Your visit’ on the museum’s website for information on how to get there and where to park.

How to book your event tickets?

The event is ticketed with a small charge of £10 to include a buffet lunch. The capacity is limited to 100 people so please book early to avoid disappointment.

To book your place, go to Eventbrite.

Image of new speaker at new makers conference 2023


We have some brilliant speakers…

  • Sean Evelegh, Fine Woodworker and YouTuber
  • Harriet (Hattie) Poppy Speed, designer-maker and founder of ‘This Girl Makes’
  • John Makepeace, Award Winning Designer-Maker
  • Bruce Hodgson, CEO and Creative Director at Artichoke
  • Mark Boddington, Founder of Silver Lining
  • Katie Walker, Independent Designer-Maker
  • Eleanor Lakelin, Wood Sculptor
  • Chris Hyde, Director of Curriculum Design at Activate Learning, Rycotewood Furniture Centre

Our thanks go to Axminster Tools & Machinery for sponsoring this event.

We hope to see you there but if you have any questions in the meantime please contact


About Artichoke

Artichoke was founded in 1992. From simple beginnings on a borrowed workshop bench, it is now a team of 50 with private clients all over the world. The company’s focus is to create architectural joinery led rooms which will form part of a building’s architectural heritage for centuries.

Learn more about our commitment to nurturing creative talent.

Artichoke Features in Country Life Top 100 (2023)

‘One of the best country house specialists in Britain’

We are delighted to be included for the 5th consecutive year in the Country Life Top 100 and be recognized as the widely respected in the design and manufacture of joinery-led rooms for country houses.


Image of Country Life March 2023 magazine cover


This represents the ultimate recognition of our expertise in working on fine English houses and an acknowledgement of our mission to create Britain’s future heritage.⁠

We are so delighted to be recognized once again for the quality of our work – achieving a fine balance between meeting the needs and tastes of owners and fulfilling the potential of a house without harming its architectural integrity. Over 30 years, we’ve worked in houses of every architectural period and have built a detailed understanding of each.

Artichoke interiors, which are joinery-led, fulfill the unique promise of architectural joinery, which is not just to embellish rooms, but to give them their status and their role in the life of a household. Explore the extend of our services.


Image of classic Edwardian kitchen with cooks table by artichoke


Architectural joinery achieves something no other trade can, in creating liveable, elegant and architecturally authentic houses. This puts us in a unique position, filling the gap between architects and interior designers, creating the interior structure that makes sense of a house.

Artichoke looks backwards to take our clients’ houses forward, recoupling exceptional artisan skills to design expertise. We are makers and creatives working as one to achieve the remarkable for our clients and their houses. Read about how we work.

We have been lucky to work very closely with Country Life magazine in recent years and to be part of this list, standing  shoulder to shoulder with some of the most incredible companies of designers and artisans in the country which makes us very proud

The full Country Life Top 100 2020 list can be viewed here


image of A period home

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

We’d love to hear more if you have a project in mind.   Whether it’s a single room – maybe a kitchen or a dressing room, or a whole house project, please do get in touch – speak with a member of our team on +44(0)1934 745 270 or email us at . 


Alice Blogg to Talk at Artichoke Conference

At Artichoke, our long term vision is that English design, craftsmanship and architectural joinery will still be flourishing in 100 years. It is partly our responsibility, as a guardian of our craft, to do everything we can to ensure that designers and makers across Britain will still be in relative abundance in many years and still creating magnificent interior and hand-crafted architectural joinery that will be admired by their future generations. To realise our vision, it is vital we support up and coming makers today as they start their journeys, just as we were supported some 30 years ago.

We are therefore delighted to announce that Alice Blogg will be speaking at the first Artichoke New Designers and Makers Conference which is being held in Cheddar on February 25th, 2022.

alice blogg in her workshop
Alice Blogg in her Dorset Workshop

Alice is a Designer Maker based in Dorset. She began her journey by studying 3D design before coming into woodwork via an apprenticeship with a local joiner. She is widely respected as one of the UK’s foremost female designers in wood. With her father being a carpenter joiner, her grandfather a boat builder and her great grandfather a shoe-last maker, she is well placed to be at the forefront of the new generation of British furniture designer makers and architectural joiners, and her work has been featured in Elle Decoration, Modern Rustic, and Homes and Antiques.

Alice has also collaborated with Benchmark Furniture, Hole and Corner, the British Council and Heritage Lottery Fund and her team have worked on many exciting projects, covering whole room interiors through to restaurants and commercial product ranges. To top that, Alice is also creative director of the joinery company Arttus.

designer maker alice blogg


We are hugely grateful to Alice for giving up her time to talk at our conference, particularly as she is also the mother of two very young children. Alice will be giving us all an insight into her journey so far with a focus on some of the lessons she has learned along the way.

The conference is free to attend, and if you are a student or new designer maker and would like to register for a place, please see the link below:

Artichoke Talks at Traditional Architecture Group

UPDATE:  The captured Zoom lecture given by Andrew and Bob can be seen below:


Andrew Petherick of Artichoke and Bob Sykes of Sykes Timber will be giving a talk to the Traditional Architecture Group (TAG) on 26th August on English Country House Timbers.   The talk will cover correct specification, treatment, environment, uses, availability, and alternatives to those now scarce.

The Traditional Architecture Group forms part of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was founded in 2003 in response to the growing number of architectural practices and architects in Britain that are now building traditional buildings.  Artichoke are proud members of TAG.

library traditional joinery
European walnut panelling by Artichoke. European walnut stock in Europe was decimated by the Great Frost of 1709, opening up the door to mahogany from the West Indies.


Anyone wishing to attend can visit the link below:


Artichoke Regatta 2021

The inaugural Artichoke Regatta was held last week.  Making the most of the local Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club, we squeezed into wetsuits and threw ourselves headlong into the unchartered waters of Cheddar Reservoir.

During the afternoon, we displayed quite brilliantly that we are not just great at making history, but also great at making fools out of ourselves.

Ben (Projects Director), Tim (MD), Emma (Project Co-ordinator) and Cat (Project Manager) made a strong start in the Single Giant Stand Up Paddleboard Challenge, where remaining standing became the true challenge.


James (Operations Director), doing a sterling job bulldozing his way through the final of the Single Stand Up Paddleboard final.


Production Manager Arthur remains well balanced on the giant stand up paddleboard, supported by Jason and Craig (Cabinet Makers)


Chief race organiser Nige (right) did an excellent job of keeping proceedings in order on the water.


Kelvin (Designer) receiving his trophy for foul play on the water from the Regatta chairman, Andrew.


No expenses were spared in the creation of the silverware. Kelvin shows off his award for Foul Play.  It is now locked away safely.


Despite his winning the foul play award, Kelvin failed to beat Tess at table tennis.


New recruit and Cabinet Maker, Jack (in black), the winner of the single kayak sprint.  There was little actual ‘sprinting’ to be fair, but Jack managed to sprint less badly than everyone else, making him a worthy champion.


Ava (Polisher), Rosie, Wilma and Cameron (Cabinet Makers) bask in the sun and the glory of brilliance on the water.


Cobbs of Cheddar produced a wonderful dinner for us all.


Evening sun.

We would like to thank Aaron Geis for sending us these images and letting us use them in this blog, and also for his hospitality as one of the members of the Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club.

I am sure we’ll be back next year!


All Party Parliamentary Group for Craft

We were delighted to have been invited to present our work with the Artichoke School of Furniture to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Craft on 17th June 2021.

Peter, one of the first graduates of the Artichoke School of Furniture


The Artichoke School of Furniture was set up by us to answer a need, both our need and students.  Our need is that we must meet our company mission which is to ensure English design and craftsmanship is still thriving in 100 years.  The students’ need is that provision for some of the more practical aspects of DT are lacking.  By running the school we can hopefully inspire and excite students towards the craft skills we are trying to keep alive.  It was an enormous priviledge to be able to show off our work on the school to the APPG.

All Party Parliamentary Groups are informal cross party groups run by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords.  The Chair of the APPG for Craft is Sir John Hayes MP, and Vice-Chairs are Sharon Hodgson MP, the Earl of Clancarty, Lord Cormack, and Baroness Garden, all supported by Patricia Lovett and Daniel Carpenter of the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA)

It is immensely encouraging that the topic of crafts and the challenges faced by many crafts based businesses are being listened to by members of parliament.  While our craft, furniture design and making, is not on the HCA’s red list of endangered crafts, it is at potential risk, with far fewer GCSEs being taken in Design and Technology (DT) in the first 20 years of this century.

When we create rooms to last forever, we usually don’t do it entirely on our own.  We often employ third party craftspeople such as tile makers, glass engravers, leather workers, carvers and the like, so it is also within our interests to support other crafts as well as our own.

We were particularly encouraged to learn the government is in the process of rolling out T Levels, which are alternatives to A Levels and focus more on vocational activities such as Craft and Design (due for launch in 2023).


If you’d like to discuss the work we are doing with the Artichoke School of Furniture, please email or call 01934 734270



Somerset Stories Interview with Bruce Hodgson

Bruce Hodgson, Artichoke’s founder and creative director, was recently interviewed by Somerset Stories, a podcast which explores the lives of the people that live, work, and create in Somerset.

If you’re interested in our story and how we started from humble beginnings on a borrowed workshop bench to evolve into one of the leading architectural joinery designers and makers in the UK, have a listen.

Episode Synopsis
In the latest episode of Somerset Stories, we meet one of the country’s foremost architectural joiners, the founder and creative director of Artichoke– Bruce Hodgson. Based in Cheddar, Bruce has – over the last 30 years – designed and created interiors for some of the world’s finest and most historical homes. With an ethos that combines technical craftsmanship, historical preservation, and stunning design, Bruce’s vision has created a business that has placed it’s stamp in properties from Jacobean manor houses, to villas in Tuscany.



The interview was conducted by Lewis Webb, who has conducted many other interviews with some of Somerset’s most creative and dynamic teams.  Other interviews can be heard at Somerset Stories.


If you’d like to discuss our approach to architectural joinery and our passion for how brilliantly designed furniture can immesuarbly improve your experience of living in a period house, please email or call 01934 734270

English Joinery – the lost art explored in Country Life

Shining a light on the lost art of English joinery in a recent article in Country Life magazine, Interiors Editor, Giles Kime invites our founder, Bruce Hodgson, to explain how door casements, shutters, panelling, skirtings, architraves, cornicing and dados can transform a space.


If you’ve been inspired to know more about the transformative impact of authentic joinery led interiors, please do get in touch and tell us about your project or read more about our services. To view the article in Country Life Magazine Interiors section, click here

Finding the Why Behind Artichoke

When we’re all asked what we do, the answer usually trips off our tongue.  But when asked why we do what we do, we’re often lost for words.

Discovering why a company does what it does is usually hard.  In Artichoke’s case it has taken several years to find our ‘why’.  In retrospect it had always manifested itself subconsciously in our daily behaviours, but we’d never attempted to proactively find it or explain it.  It took six months of corporate therapy, a company-wide meeting, three arguments and several packs of Post It notes to look deep within Artichoke’s soul.

A board with post it notes on
The process of finding our why


More marketing literate companies are often founded on their ‘why’.  Starbucks sells coffee. This is ‘what’ it does.  However, the reason it was really founded was to offer a ‘third space’ between work and home. The provision of a welcoming and comfortable high street location for people to meet or email from is why it does what it does, and that’s what’s made it a success.  The coffee and cake is simply a by-product.

Other companies are founded to solve a problem, only to stumble on their ‘why’ later on in life.  In 1901, William S Harley designed a compact motor designed to power a push bike, and if you ask the Marketing Director at Harley Davidson today ‘what’ they do, he’ll tell you they design and sell motorbikes.  If you ask him ‘why’ Harley does it however, he’ll tell you they exist to give middle aged accountants the power to ride through small towns scaring people.  This is what makes their company different.  If you’re a middle aged biker, and you want to revive some of the lost front you once had in your youth, there is really only one motorbike for you.

man on a harley davidson riding through London
During the week he works for Ernst & Young


In much the same way, Artichoke designs and makes kitchens and fitted furniture.  This is ‘what’ we do.  While there are lots of companies describing themselves as doing this very same thing, none of them do it for the reasons we do.

To help crystalise our ‘why’, we first decided to create a brand manifesto, a living document distilling our company’s beliefs.

Artichoke’s Brand Manifesto

We are craftspeople.
We will only work with other companies and clients who share our values.
We are unrelenting in the pursuit of quality.
We regard working in our client’s houses as a privilege.
We will always act with honesty and integrity.
We believe what we design enhances people’s lives.
We have a responsibility to ‘get it right’ for our clients.
We are always learning.
We are obsessed with detail.
We refuse to take short cuts.
We will always nurture traditional skills and embrace innovation.
Our ambition is to be a centre of excellence of design and craftsmanship.
We are guardians of our craft.
We will pass this expertise to future generations.
Our work is an expression of who we are.
We believe true quality cannot be achieved without love.
We love what we do.

Distilling our beliefs in this way was incredibly helpful, triggering one of the teams observations that our beliefs were closely aligned with those of John Ruskin, the Victorian philanthropist and supporter of the arts:

“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labour and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our fathers did for us.”

At Artichoke, we have the innate desire to ensure our work is not temporary, but instead forms an intrinsic part of a building’s architectural heritage for centuries to come.  This belief runs through our company like words through a stick of rock, and it affects the way everyone in the company behaves, the materials we specify, the joints we deploy, the designs we create and the care we take.

So, why does Artichoke exist?  The reason we are here is to create Britain’s future heritage.  We are here to make history.

Artichoke Making History Logo


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