Meet the team

During your time here on one of our many fine woodworking courses, you’ll be learning key skills from our team of knowledgeable expert Rowden tutors, discovering everything from the key woodworking techniques, through to digital image making, web design and finances. If you have a question, our team of cabinetmakers at Rowden Atelier are here to help.

David Savage teaching woodworking school

David was an accomplished artist, furniture designer-maker, writer and inspiration to all who followed his work over the years, or had the opportunity to train under him and his staff at the Rowden Atelier. In his last years David had largely retired from his work at Rowden, and sadly passed away at the start of 2019, but it is his ideals, his lifetime link with the Arts and Crafts movement, which drive our ethics and frames how we treat one another and our work.

David moved from his Bideford workshop to the rural setting at Rowden in 1995, designing and making outstanding furniture whilst growing Rowden into the renowned school it is today; training and guiding students from all over the world.

A lifetime of experience in the bespoke luxury furniture business. His experience has been instilled with all the teachers at Rowden. Daren Milman has worked with David for over fifteen years. Ed Wild, Jon Greenwood, Matthew Lacey and Jonathan Walter all trained directly with David Savage. All can offer, from different viewpoints, priceless advice on the practicalities of running a successful bespoke furniture maker business.

Rowden Woodworking Course: experts with over 100 years of collective experience in furniture making.

Daren Milman: Head Tutor, Master Craftsman

Daren Milman - Rowden woodworking tutor

This is Head Tutor, Master Craftsman Daren Milman – Daren runs the workshops and has overseen the tuition at Rowden for over fifteen years. With a four-year apprenticeship as a cabinet maker he has near thirty years experience. Challenging and encouraging in equal measure, Daren helps our students to embed deeply, the vast volume of knowledge communicated through training at Rowden. We know him as one of the best makers and one of the best teachers there is. “Daren is amazing, he is one of those quiet, calm people that never gets flustered and always seems to have an answer to your problem”.

The Senior Cabinet Maker here at Rowden, he is not only responsible for the technical tuition at the bench, but also the professional standards throughout our courses.

Darens attention and focus inspire most who come through Rowden where he leads our tuition team in pushing all of our students to be the best makers they can be.

Ed Wild: tells you like it is.

Ed Wild - senior tutor at Rowden

This is Ed Wild – a National Award winning furniture designer maker. Winner of the 2014 Wesley-Barrell Craft Awards for Furniture with his Hall Table. If you thought Daren was tough then don’t ask Ed what he thinks of your work and expect too many unearned compliments. A very patient, but incredibly demanding teacher who gets great results.

Ed trained here at Rowden and carries with him all the ideals that we Rowden tutors stand for. We are delighted that he can come here and help another generation of makers learn how to make, design and how to refine their efforts in both areas.

As well as tuition at the bench, Ed teaches artistic drawing classes and guides students in the processes necessary for accomplished design. In our experience drawing can mean the difference between being a run of the mill or great maker. Being able to draw is an essential part of what we do and it is an integral part of your woodworking course. You DO NOT have to be Da Vinci, but you have to be able to move an idea from your head out into the world. Ed is great at giving you the right techniques and advice to get you there, your drawing skills will improve very quickly if you follow his guidance. That in turn will inform and enable your visual language and therefore, your design skills will improve enormously.

Jon Greenwood: can we do this one more time please?

Jon and Kathy working at the bench

Another maker trained the Rowden way. Jon went on to work in a world renowned commercial workshop before returning to work with students here in their first six months. We all look out for the quality of work, but Jon is essentially “The Guardian” of the technical quality of handwork at Rowden.

That quality is instilled by Jon in the early weeks and months, through patient application of hand skills. This underpins the precision work created in our workshops and carries forwards into machining and the more technical aspects of the course later on.

Jon is a great member of this quality team, a perfect foil to Ed Wild’s tough demands. Jon is kind, patient and supportive, whilst being demanding at the same time. An exceptional maker himself Jon’s guidance will get you to that tight joint and polished surface.

Matthew Lacey: the eye for detail

Matt Lacey - Commercial Head at Rowden

Matthew leads our operations, strategic development and overall delivery at Rowden. Infrastructure, logistics and the practicalities of the work we do at Rowden all fall under his remit. He is also resident photographer for all of our student and bespoke work.

As is vital to us at Rowden, Matthew is another of the alumni and he continues to exemplify the attitude and mindset we look for. If you want to understand the incredible level of cabinetmaking that Rowden will push you to, or have questions about the ‘why’ in this type of work – speak with Matthew.

Jonathan Walter: accountant turned furniture maker

Jonathan Walter - Business tutor at Rowden

Jonathan will be working in small groups or one to one seeking to help you make “the next step”. Do you want to work in a top workshop, go for bench rental, or set up a small workshop?

As a former student and now successful businessman, Jonathan knows what it takes to turn Rowden tutelage into a career in the industry. In a past life, he was an accountant at a prominent American firm, now he leads Bark Furniture – a Cornwall based furniture business selling worldwide.

Jonathan will be especially encouraging to students developing their own products and suggesting a route to market that will serve them after the course is completed. He usually comes in once a week on a Wednesday to have one to one and tutorials. Use his time carefully.

Administrator – Rachel Hudson

Rachel admin staff photo

Rachel is a crucial cog in the smooth running of Rowden and a useful contact for all current and potential students. If you need help finding accommodation nearby or want to rearrange a course, contact Rachel, who is in the office three days a week, via the contact form.

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