It’s been a great year at the Chippendale school, with our professional course students making some wonderful pieces.

Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at some of the best of the best.

First up is Rachel Faulkner from Newcastle whose previous career was in the Merchant Navy.

Rachel demonstrated a very real artistic talent which she incorporated into everything she made.

While she had no formal experience in furniture design, she showed how functional furniture design can be made special with that added WOW factor.

Intricate

Her mirror of a naked woman was an intricate work of art.

It was gilded onto the mirror using a combination of red, yellow and white gold.

Rachel Faulkner The Creative Woodsmith pyrography

She also used her figurative skill to tell the story of a day in the life of a dog…on an entrance bench.

The dog, Skipper, a golden retriever (pictured above), just happens to be hers, and three different parts of Skipper’s day were painted and pyrographed onto the bench’s three visible sides.

The bench itself was made from sycamore and elm, with two drawers and two cabinets.

The latter also had leather interior pouches for anything from papers or magazines…to dog treats.

Rachel Faulkner carving hands

The carefully drawn images were taken from photographs of Skipper waking up, having a swim in a Northumbrian river, and then having a well-earned sleep.

The images were built up using stained wood filler as a base.  Then they were painted with water colours and etched using a pyrography pen.

She also carved a pair of intertwined hands into lime for another mirror – a piece of course work that all our students have to make.

Her final piece was a drinks cabinet inspired by a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Rachel Faulkner Chippendalee school

“The Kissing Cabinet” was inspired by a line that Romeo speaks to Juliet.

“Let lips do what hands do.”

The Kissing Cabinet was made from sycamore with cherry and sycamore veneers, brass and copper inlays, and sat on brass hairpin legs.

Its playfulness was its two outer sliding doors that were shaped into androgynous heads.

Talking point

Open the doors, and the heads move innocently apart.

But close the cabinet’s doors and the heads kiss one another.

It’s a fun but functional piece of furniture, and a beautifully-made talking point.

That originality is important, because buyers of fine furniture are always looking for originality.

Her new company is called The Creative Woodsmith, and you can see her website here.