It’s always amazing what students on our nine-month professional course can achieve, and how students come to the Chippendale school with all sorts of prior careers.

Some students at the Chippendale school come to us straight from school.  A few others are looking to acquire a new skill in retirement.  Most, however, come to us mid-career, realising that a passion for working creatively with wood is where their hearts lie.

That’s true of Timothy Low Timothy Low from Singapore, a veteran of the oil industry, having spent the last ten years working offshore in an itinerant profession that has taken him across the world from South America to Asia and Africa.

But with the global downturn in the oil sector, it was time to think about a new profession – and one that could allow him to settle down in one place with his wife.

His signature piece was a cabinet that tells its own joyful story of fun and lost balloons, but which incorporates a whole range of skills including shaping wood, marquetry and woodcarving.

Timothy funfair console-style cabinet, made from layers of bendy ply and sycamore, has a hand-carved little girl on its front who has lost her balloons.  The multi-coloured balloons, set in resin, are floating away across the cabinet’s top.

The sides of the cabinet have marquetry panels depicting a colourful funfair carousel, with details picked out in 24 carat gold, and Timothy’s signature on the piece is that it has no permanent fixings, making it easy to disassemble and transport back to his home in Singapore.

Among other pieces, he also completed a coffee table that incorporates a two-piece elm top, with an oak drawer with a sycamore and rosewood inlayed lid – all fitted together using either tongue-and-groove fixings or hand-crafted dovetails.

His funfair cabinet is not only perfectly functional, with a structure that makes transportation simple, but a cabinet that conjures up memories of childhood and the small and poignant story of a little girl who has (maybe) lost her balloons.