‘In the Making’, Rycotewood’s graduate show held earlier this month at the Furniture Makers’ Hall in London, proved to be a worthy showcase of work by students from the country’s sole remaining craft-focused undergraduate furniture course.

Left: Simon Pengelly opens the event. Right: work by Freya Whamond.
Left: Simon Pengelly at the lectern, with work by Sam Bolt in the background.  Right: work by Freya Whamond.

With an approach rooted in making, twelve graduating students from the BA (Hons) Furniture Design and Make programme exhibited a range of work displaying experimentation and creativity though a variety of materials and processes. The resulting furniture demonstrated exceptional craftsmanship; the result of their investment in practice over the past three years.

Work by Luke Morgan.
Work by Luke Morgan.

The work on display communicated each graduate’s design process and response to two separate briefs. ‘A Boardroom for Two’ was a live brief set by Hands of Wycombe (supported by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers); responses ranged from uncomfortably tall meeting tables and a sculpted oak bench for two to a herd of rocking stools. The outcomes from the personal project brief highlighted a diverse range of inspirations and approaches to design and craft. Graduates investigated underutilised coppice wood, a collaborative design process and imperfection in craftsmanship, and asked the question “what is luxury?”

Work by Oscar Winter
Work by Oscar Winter

The evening event opened with Tony Smart, Senior Warden of the Furniture Makers, welcoming visitors to the hall and wishing graduates successful careers in the industry and pledging the support of the livery company. Rycotewood alumnus and renowned furniture designer Simon Pengelly followed with a passionate speech highlighting the key contributions the college makes to both the education of furniture students and industry as a whole.

Work by Jan Waterston
Work by Jan Waterston

The event was supported by close friends of the programme including Axminster Tools & Machinery, Y. Goldberg and Mundy Veneer who all generously provided sponsorship. Staff and graduates would also like to recognise the significant and ongoing support from the whole team at Hands of Wycombe.

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