Two talented furniture designers from the Capital recently had their inspirational creations exhibited at the Scottish Parliament.
They are graduates of Chippendale International School of Furniture in East Lothian to exhibit and their work was chosen by Professor Chris Breward, principal of the Edinburgh Collage of Art, from more than 100 pieces of furniture.
The internationally-renowned furniture school each year takes a small number of students from around the world – including the United States, Germany, South Korea and India – on a one-year professional design and making course.
Paddy O’Neill, from Edinburgh, exhibited his Sun Salutation Chest, a beautifully-crafted piece made from sycamore and rosewood veneer with clear acrylic rods supporting the chest.
Paddy is setting up The Natural Edge company, his own woodworking business in Edinburgh to specialise in furniture design, making, and kitchens.
Paddy, who used to work offshore on oil rigs in the UK, Norway and the US, enrolled at the Chippendale school after deciding on a change of career, and received partial funding for his woodworking course from the government’s transitional training fund for oil and gas workers.
The symbols on the top of his box are a stylised version of the Sun Salutation sequence, the eight yoga poses that traditionally are practised each morning – and the rosewood veneered figures supporting it are arranged in another yoga pose, the warrior pose.
He said: “I practise yoga – but the main inspiration was my girlfriend, Jade, a yoga instructor, and the fact we are expecting a baby in September.”
The second graduate was Helen Guy who has now used her skills to set up Sherrardswood Bespoke Furniture in the Capital which offers a complete design, build and restoration service.
Helen is a well-travelled woman whose career in IT and banking took her around the world. Travelling with her family she lived in Australia, Singapore and the US before settling in Edinburgh. One of the course pieces that she designed is her Magical Memory Chest, a beautiful and unusual piece of furniture. The chest is veneered with walnut and the legs made from a walnut tree taken from her sister’s Suffolk garden. It is lined with lustrous copper leaf so that when opened, it conjures up an explosion of light.
“It was designed to be a place to store memories; a place for old photographs or school reports; a slightly magical piece of furniture to celebrate family life and the passing of years,” said Helen.