A Canadian student has won a prestigious award from the Chippendale International School of Furniture, one of the leading schools of furniture design and restoration in the world.

Gary Staple, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, won Student of the Year for his portfolio of work, which included a stunning tea cabinet with intricate inlays, and which will go on display in Canada over the summer.

The awards ceremony was presided over by the International arts impresario Professor Richard Demarco, who said that the Chippendale School was an “inspirational place and a teaching resource of international importance.”

The long-established school, which is close to Edinburgh, Scotland takes students of all ages from around the world.  This year’s intake included students from Europe, the USA as well as Canada.

Gary, who trained as a carpenter and who now also runs his own Halifax business,Gary Staple Fine Woodworking, said that “the Chippendale course has been hugely useful and taught me a great deal, as well as giving me a European perspective on furniture design.”

His winning tea cabinet is made from a variety of woods including ebony and walnut and is veneered in olive ash and rosewood. 

Design Student of the Year was Ali Wilson from the west of Scotland with her intricately-constructed drinks cabinet in the shape of a large fish, which is to be shown at a number of venues during the rest of the year.

Particularly commended was Shane Elliot, who lives in Spain, for his 1920s-inspired “prohibition table” which at the touch of a button allows you to hide bottles of alcohol in a hidden compartment.

The prohibition table will be exhibited in London over the summer, with Shane taking commissions for other “furniture in motion” pieces.

Anselm Fraser, the school’s principal, said that “our students, many of whom have never worked with wood before, leave the school with skills they can use for the rest of their lives.”

There are still places remaining for this year’s 30-week intensive course which begins in October, with graduating students able to take incubation space at the school to establish new businesses.

 

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