“The Chippendale School of Furniture has grown from a crumbling steading 30 years ago, into a bustling, woodworking community”

Furniture school founder

Anselm Fraser trained as furniture designer and restoration expert with the renowned Michael Hay-Will and is today highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading exponents of the art of furniture making and design.

He is an inspirational teacher who marries the 18th century values of Thomas Chippendale with 21st century techniques.

His daily lectures, which range from tips on how to market a woodworking business to the complexities of modernist furniture design, are one of the highlights of the school day.

And he is always on hand to give individual advice and support to students, even long after they have graduated.

His approach to teaching is very simple – he believes that it is only by living and working with wood in a busy workshop that a student can excel in this most demanding of disciplines.

Those who teach still work

Anselm combines the demanding job of furniture school principal with running his own award-winning bespoke kitchen, furniture design and restoration business, Anselm Fraser Furniture – ensuring he brings his practical experience to his teaching.

His signature blue and copper style has many fans and he has restored some very fine pieces of furniture, including the poet William Wordsworth’s bureau.

Anselm brings his business expertise to the course. Being able to work with clients to design exactly what suits their home best, from the clean lines of contemporary units to the more traditional, solid beauty of oak, is a skill key to creating a successful business.

Furthermore, because Anselm Fraser Furniture works out of the same workshop as the school, Anselm’s students are able to see first-hand how a modern, professional cabinet making business operates.

School history: a vision for fine furniture making and design

In 1985 Anselm Fraser, bought a crumbling farm steading in the heart of the East Lothian countryside, near Edinburgh in Scotland.

His vision was to transform the 19th century stone barn into one of the world’s leading independent furniture making and furniture design schools.

Stone by stone, joist by joist, he and his wife Antonia slowly transformed the neglected farm building into a world-class school of furniture, recognised for its dedication to high quality furniture design and making skills.

From acorn to oak – A world class school passionate about cabinet making and design

The school grew steadily, with three or four more students each year; as its reputation for excellence in traditional and modern furniture making spread, numbers increased.

Today, up to 24 students each year attend our professional furniture making course that runs from October through to mid June.

Graduates from this full-time course have gone on to run their own woodworking businesses, design and make furniture, teach or work in museums and much more.

There are five full-time furniture school staff and a host of visiting experts from furniture design and practical backgrounds.

Commercial bench space for graduates who, after their course, want to start their own business, is available to rent in our Chippendale Incubator Workshops.

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