A student from Russia has won top honours at the Chippendale International School of Furniture, for the first time in the school’s 31-year history.
Iana Molotok from St Petersburg won Student of the Year at the prestigious school, against competition from other students from the UK, Canada, the USA, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
Among her portfolio was a wych elm chair with echoes of a Möbius strip in its beautifully-shaped design, and a coffee table in yew and sycamore, with an intermittent stream of resin across the top, creating the effect of a meandering river.
A former financial controller, Iana is returning to St Petersburg to set up Credenza Studio , her own furniture business.
Best Portfolio went to Mike Whittall, from Aberdeenshire, for a portfolio that included a curvy dressing table and stool made from sycamore and yew; an exceptionally well-proportioned coffee table with a shaped ash top and elm legs; and an elm desk with generous flowing curves and a design borrowed from the Ottoman Empire.
Mike, a former finance and tax advisor, is setting up Ochre & Wood, his own furniture making and restoration business, from his hometown in Aberdeenshire.
He will be working mainly to commission sourcing wood, as far as possible, from local sawmills.
Design Student of the Year was awarded to Anne-Lise Maire from Stasbourg in France for a portfolio that included a beautifully-crafted yew and elm writer’s desk. Her second project was a wonderfully-eccentric long-legged music box with and elm cabriole legs.
Anne-Lise, who now lives in Edinburgh, has set up Gild Ma Frog Furniture to produce bespoke furniture and create her own range of modern and sophisticated gilded cabinets.
Adam Stone from Perth in Scotland won Students’ Choice for a highly-inventive oak coffee table that opens from 120cm to 200cm long to become a dining table large enough to accommodate ten people.
The chairs, which he has also designed, can be stored inside the table – making it a practical and attractive solution for any home where space is at a premium. The internal mechanism was also made from oak, although the ingenious table can be made to order in a variety of materials.
Adam is setting up Adam Stone Furniture in Perth.
Professor Richard Demarco Prize
Lastly, Graham Clark from Fife was awarded the Professor Richard Demarco Prize 2016, an award that recognises particular craftsmanship and artistic merit. In 2011, Graham was knocked off his motorbike by a hit-and-run driver, sustaining both head and other severe physical injuries, and had to relearn how to read and write.
The main piece of furniture he made during the year was a folding double cabinet made from spalted beech, oak and yew – and which is to be given to his youngest daughter Madison (6).
Each year the award-winning Chippendale International School of Furniture takes students from around the world for immersive 30-week courses. The school also runs one-week “taster” courses throughout the year.
Anselm Fraser, the school’s principal, said that “this year’s graduates have all shown exceptional skill and craftsmanship, and it was very difficult to choose winners.
“Our course is designed to give students the very best training in furniture design, making and restoration and, with their proven talent, give them the building blocks for future success,” he said.