Design is a thing you can’t rush…

Design is a thing you can’t rush…

Designing a piece of furniture is quite simply not something you can do well with an aggressive deadline. Designing a bad piece of furniture from scratch in an hour is a piece of cake but, trust me, no-one will buy it!

To be honest, a day isn’t enough, a week isn’t enough, a month… maybe…

Truly great furniture design often comes from the hand of someone who has been thinking about a piece for ages, obsessing about materials, proportions, details… oh the details…

Get Sketching!

Someone much wiser than myself once told me that I should always keep a sketch book with me as you never know when inspiration will strike. Here at Rowen, art is a fundamental part of the syllabus, and many students will spend more time in one year drawing and sketching than they have in the previous ten or twenty. And, like so much in life, the more you practice the better you get. If you can get into the habit of sketching every day then the leap to creating a formal design is not such a big one. This is especially true if what you sketch includes (but is not limited to) things that provide inspiration for a project.

More often than not, a truly speculative piece – one with no client interference – is the culmination of months if not years of being attentive to the world around you. Of being disciplined enough to record what you see with a sketch book. And remember, nobody ever need see what’s inside your sketch book so you don’t have to worry about how good an artist you are!

It is trickier when a client approaches you with a commission and you have a shorter time frame to present a design. But, if you have been sketching and observing, then it is like training regularly before a marathon… You are prepared and that leap to a great design is a much smaller one than if you hadn’t put the effort in beforehand.

Until next time,



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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