LINLEY Summer School 2017: An Inside Look
Now in its second year, the LINLEY Summer School is an opportunity for eight talented students to learn traditional techniques from master craftsman whilst under the roof of Messums Wiltshire, a tremendous tithe barn and exhibition space in Tisbury.
The focus of the week-long event is to raise awareness of the importance of hands-on making courses and design education. Eight students, carefully selected from the leading furniture colleges in the UK and Ireland, were granted the opportunity to advance on a range of cabinet-making and marquetry skills from master craftsmen.
Lessons from the Masters
The Summer School’s core focus is the making of a marquetry topped bedside table with demonstrations and guidance from Jonathan Rose, marquetry expert and fine furniture maker for LINLEY since 1997, and William Warren, award-winning designer and draftsman, whose work was featured in the stunning exhibition on Wood also on display at Messums.
From Bill Amberg, Gareth Neal and John Makepeace, the students were able to identify the different aspects of craftsmanship and the opportunity they have been given to lead a new arts and crafts movement for the 21st Century.
A Deeper Understanding of Design
The eight students at the LINLEY summer school were able to advance their marquetry skills and cabinetry making through the remarkable teaching from William and Jonathan. William conducted several sessions to guide the students through the design processes and make sure each student was gaining a deeper understanding of the skills required to create their tables.
Alongside the practical elements of the course, the students were able to learn from visiting Matthew Burt in his workshop in nearby Hindon, and Robin Jennings, an expert organ maker.
A Study of Leathers
Bill Amberg spoke to the students about the process of combining cutting-edge technology with age-old leather-working techniques and enlightening them to the use of different materials within their work.
The vast range of leathers, all created through differentiating techniques, demonstrated the importance of the four principle aspects which a designer needs to consider when controlling the leathers final outcome.
Scale, Colour, Texture, & Touch
By explaining the different effects which the leather could be manipulated to form and its multiple uses in craftsmanship and design, Bill was able to show the students the whole process from the raw material to the end result.
‘Scale, colour, texture and touch’ – Bill Amberg
The session ended in a workshop with students able to craft their own sunglasses case.
Into The Woods
Further on in the week the students took a tour around Matthew Burt’s workshop, where they were able to interact with the makers and benefit from learning about their experience and expertise before continuing with the press marquetry onto their table tops or drawer bottoms.
The tour around the Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Fontmell Hill Estate, led by Christopher Guest and Edward Parker, allowed for a deeper understanding into the natural material at the heart of the course. Additionally, the students were privileged to meet Robin Jennings, an organ maker, in his fascinating workshop.
Collaborations with Experts
David Linley’s passion for nurturing the next generation of craftsmen and women is what led to the creation of the Summer School in 2016 as a part of LINLEY’s 30th year celebrations. Through their expert tutors, Jonathan Rose and William Warren, the students are able to learn intricate skills such as hand cut dovetails and marquetry all whilst creating a unique bedside table all of their own.
With external speakers and visits afforded to the students throughout the week, the Summer School’s programme gives each of the students unprecedented exposure to experts throughout the world of craft allowing them the best possible start to their chosen careers in design and making.