Steve Tripp’s journey to the Chippendale school and our professional course took four years to plan.

Steve, a former IT consultant from Minnesota, finally made the move, with his wife also enrolling at a university in Edinburgh.

While he was busy learning his new woodworking trade, she completed a Masters in Arts, Culture and Festival Management.

Both Steve and his wife have long had an interest in traditional crafts and ways of working.  Those include everything from weaving to ceramics, and from woodworking to lace making.

He’s particularly been influenced by the Lost Trades Fair in Australia.  This is all about promoting traditional crafts made by people not machines.

It’s also a movement that has ideals of sustainability and educational outreach and, in different guises, is gaining traction worldwide.

Steve’s stand-out piece was a beautiful mirror with an enigmatic message.

Chaucer

The mirror, in white Oak, had the words, “The lyf so short” across its top.

Below, it had “The craft so long to lerne.”

It’s a good quote because the artistry involved in woodworking is also a process of lifelong learning.

However, the quote is actually from the 14th century writer Geoffrey Chaucer.  It comes from his epic poem, The Parliament of Fowles.

The quote is about love and how learning how to love is a skill, or craft, in itself.

But the enigma of the quote goes further because the poem describes a flock of birds gathering in the early spring – on ‘seynt valentynes day.’  The birds are there to choose their mate for the year.

It’s believed that the poem later became the inspiration for St Valentine’s Day.

The words on Steve’s mirror were oil gilded in 24 carat gold.  The mirror itself was decorated with the iconic rose motifs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The result was a thought-provoking mirror, with a powerful punch of a message, and beautifully executed.