Goals, dreams and ambitions

Making a Change

It is very easy, when you’re in the thick of working through a tough project, to forget what lead you to being there in the first place. Over the years we’ve met a number of designers and makers, and designer-makers who have allowed their businesses to dictate their destiny, quite often in the pursuit of money. Now, I am all for money, nothing wrong with that. It comes in  very handy for buying stuff and for paying bills. And for some money is at the core of their goals, dreams and ambitions, at which point they should probably stop reading this blog. Off you go and congratulations!


For the rest of us, and by that I mean the vast majority of us, the primary motivations for becoming a designer-maker have little or nothing to do with cold hard cash. To date, we have yet to meet an aspiring student who has said the reason they are coming to Rowden is to become fabulously rich. Here are just a few of the primary motivations we hear about:

  1. I have enjoyed working with wood in the past and want to learn how to do it properly
  2. I have enjoyed working with wood in the past and would like to do it professionally
  3. I find wood soulful and calming, unlike any other material
  4. I want to explore their creative skills
  5. I want to move away from a corporate, hierarchical environment and work for myself
  6. I want to challenge different parts of my brain
  7. I want to make
  8. Something about Zen

These initial motivations are often quite immediate, a current desire to change or do something now. What is interesting is that as a student works their way through the course these primary motivation rarely change. On the contrary, they are more often strengthened and reinforced through the process of learning. And this is brilliant. It is exactly what you would hope from learning about something you love. 

As these motivations coalesce, so their duration into the future gets pushed out. It is no longer just ‘I want to make nice furniture now’. It’s ‘I want to make sure that the business model I create allows me to make nice furniture for the next 10 or 20 years’. Motivations become the goals, dreams and ambitions. 

Avoid all the distractions, crises and side swipes that life puts in the way, and they’ll all be sure to survive!

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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