Why Rowden?

One question we get asked a lot here is ‘Why Rowden?’

Why did we choose to set up a school in the heart of the Devon countryside, essentially, in the middle of nowhere?

Of course there is the obvious reason – the peace and quiet. The tranquility that Rowden offers it’s students allows them the much needed mental space required to focus on the job at hand. For many, coming here is a complete change of lifestyle and/or career and, as such, coming to a place void of distractions is integral to their success.

This is an extension of the ideas of two of the most influential figures of the Arts & Crafts movement – theorist and critic, John Ruskin, and the designer, writer and activist, William Morris. Morris’ own practice of burying himself in the English landscape was vital to his work. He did his ‘thinking’ in the countryside, and that is evident in the elements of nature you see in his work.

In addition, both of these men talked greatly about the fact that you cannot split the doing from the thinking. Yet our culture has split them. It has separated the thinkers from the doers. The thinkers have become the better paid, white collar workers, whilst the doers – that hugely skilled group of people without whose talent we simply could not survive – are not recognised in the same way, or paid nearly as well.

Not here. At Rowden, how we treat makers is a Big Deal. We salute them and we celebrate them. The union of artist and craftsperson lies at the very heart of what we teach. The respect we have for Daren, Ed, Jon and Duncan – the skills they have are second to none. Skills like these do not come easy. They are not just learned, they are mastered – and here is where they are also passed on. We are very proud of that.

The raw intelligence and skill required to take a piece from an initial design idea to a finished piece requires considerable brain power. And that requires calm, tranquil surroundings. That is why Rowden.

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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Rowdenatelier.com is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.