A Makers Journal No 3

Moving house

Somebody once told me that moving house is part of the most stressful times of ones life. I’ve not been moving house, but I have been moving the studio. And right now it just feels like everything is shifting around me. The walls, the floors, all my pieces of paper, chisels, notebooks, drawings, diary dates with friends… everything is going in a maelstrom of disorganisation. The only thing I can rely upon is this keyboard in front of me where I’m typing out this blog. So that is why I guess it’s stressful. You don’t know where anything is. All those little things you’ve put down around you to do or sort or organise are now totally in a different place… and you don’t know where that is!

For years I have been working on my bench and in my office; alternating between those places – switching from the desk and a laptop to my bench and a drawing board. I’ve been in a position to work in a noisy and dusty environment and been able to concentrate very largely by being a miserable old sod.

I have a large orange pair of ear protectors, when I put them on people leave me alone. It’s either that or they get their head bitten off! So, sitting down and doing a drawing or focusing on a design problem has been something I did in the workshop almost routinely. I didn’t have any choice. That was the only space I had. My studio was a bit like Paddington railway station. It is a corridor. Students pass through it almost on a minute by minute basis. I have a large notice that says “Please shut that door!” which they by and large ignore. The wind and dust from their studio blows into my studio. Hey! I’m sounding like a grumpy old man. But not anymore! Now I’ve moved myself onto the edge of our site here and I’m occupying a modern, clean, bright room that I will use as a studio.

Being placed on the edge of the site is another part of my grand plan. At 65, I’m seeking to ease myself out of the centre of this workshop and put myself on the edge. In doing it so, I’ll create a space for Ed or Daren or somebody else to take over the roles that I have been occupying. I don’t plan on retiring. My role model is my former father-in-law. A very successful family solicitor for all his life who kept on working till the age of 93. 4 days a week from ten till three he’d go into the office and take on the most demanding of conveyancing problems. People would ask to see “the elderly gentleman”. I guess i can do that. I think he can sit on the edge of the site here waving my stick at the seagulls and shouting at the students. I can become mature and very disreputable! With a bit of luck.


David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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