As the furnishing industry’s charity, The Furniture Makers’ Company has a clear mission to provide leadership to the industry and a framework of support with which to inspire excellence, support those in need and educate for the future.
This week, the Company hosted the annual Young Furniture Makers exhibition, sponsored by corporate member, Axminster Tools & Machinery. There were exhibits from students at all levels, from FDA to BA to MA, and from the numerous colleges and universities the Company supports, including Birmingham City University, Bucks New University, Burnley College, De Montfort University, Edward Barnsley Workshop, Leeds College of Art and Design, London Met, Plymouth University, Rycotewood and Warwickshire College.
Also on show was work from the winner of the Proskills/MakeIT competition for schools, as well as projects by secondary schoolchildren as part of our Design Book Scheme, sponsored this year by Corporate Members BrightHouse and B&Q.
Awards were made for numerous industry partnerships, where companies such as Burbidge, Ercol, Hands, Gordon Russell, Crofts & Assinder, Willis & Gambier and KI Europe worked with university students on specific projects.
Joseph Kennedy, who has just completed his MA Design, Maker and Materials at Plymouth University, won an all expenses paid trip to the Blum factory in Austria for having the best exhibit of the show – the Stem Table.
Alex Stewart was made Young Furniture Maker of the Year for his contribution to the development of the group and the growth of its membership throughout the year.
The excitement and buzz surrounding the event tells a compelling story of a thriving industry that wants to actively engage with young talent, helping to build a robust workforce for the future.
Master Paul von der Heyde says: “One of our key objectives is to nurture young talented people through our Young Furniture Makers group, providing them with useful, relevant support and encouragement so that they remain within the industry, and become the leaders of tomorrow.
“It’s heartening to see so many talented individuals presenting their work with such enthusiasm and commitment. It is our unique network of members and supporting companies that enables us to provide these invaluable opportunities.”
Alan Styles, sales director of Axminster, says: “We have strong links with education and student development. We are proud to support the Young Furniture Makers and the furnishing industry to ensure there is continuity of these skills, which are the lifeblood and future of furniture design and manufacture in the UK.”