Inspiration: A Makers Year 50

At Rowden we are both a workshop and a school. This combination is important in a ‘making’ situation – if we were just a school, we would have a challenge providing the inspiration necessary to teach students how to get that last extra bit of ‘quality’ out of the work they produce.

This is the bit of quality that comes hard – it’s the bit that damn near kills you. It needs all your determination, all your resolve and every last bit of personality you possess. But when you do it, just once, it comes easier. Twice and its more doable – it still tears your innards out, but it’s doable.


And ‘doing’ is what gives us purpose. I once asked this of a famous furniture maker, Tom Hucker: “Tom, that bit of quality, that bit that you and I know is there, and is so difficult but so necessary to attain – why do you bother doing it, when nobody seems to give a damn?” His answer was stunningly simple: “If I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t know who I was.”

So it is important to us makers, this ‘quality’ stuff. There is a saying in our workshop, which is a little uncomfortable, and I must apologise for the sexual and sexist nature of the language, but have struggled to find an alternative… “There comes a time when you must lay your testicles on the anvil of quality.” Oooh, I don’t like the sound of that.

Tomorrow I will show an example of this, this important inspiration, how it came into the workshop, what’s so special, and how we used it.



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