Si Smith came to see me about a course about five years ago. He was a young man working for a picture framing company but unhappy with what he was doing. He wanted more training, had had a go at local colleges and decided that what they had to offer was not what he wanted. What he wanted was to become a really good maker. He had done City and Guilds and made a couple of pieces of furniture pretty badly [ Iam sure he wont mind me saying this now, tho then it might have hurt ]
Soo.. I had the feeling that this guy might make a good maker, he couldnt really afford my full Designer Maker Course, but he was never going to do that, although he had great ideas he knew he could only afford to do the year then get a job real fast.
Which is what he did. Si did our “Makers course” which is very similar to the Designer Maker Course except it is different in the second six months. On the designer maker course you are building your portfolio and testing your designs, on the makers course which is less expensive you are making for me, usually on simpler clients pieces, or gallery pieces. The aim is “good but slow”
Si Smith turned out to be one of those really good students, the kind that only ask really difficult questions, ones that you have to go away and think about before coming back with an answer. Also he was and is a grafter, that is he worked, hard. When the lorry arrives with three tons of timber Si was there to help unload, Si was “one of the soldiers” which is what you want in a small workshop someone who will muck in and get the job done.
Si stayed with me after his year and made me a lovely set of chairs and assisted Daren with “The Linenfold Sideboard” a Guildmark awarded piece. Then he went to work with Waywood. I knew he would get on there. This is a small workshop that has quietly been making some of the best furniture being made today. Waywood don’t have one designer so anyone on staff can submit a design to a clients brief. I know that Si had done several designs but had never got the go ahead until now. It was lovely to see this exhibited recently and lovely to see a young man become one of the best makers around. Si Smith I am very proud to have played a small part in that.