The Creative Hub

The creative hub is where our students learn all the fundamental skills to support thir furniture making.  While we recognise that for a lot of our students the making element of our courses is principally why they are here, we also encourage the development of complementary skills, such as; design, drawing, Auto-CAD and photography. 

As we offer our students a completely bespoke course, many of the skills taught in the creative hub are optional, and we can tailor them to meet their specific requirements.  


After students have completed the initial three set projects, we encourage them to make furniture to their own designs.  The set projects are used to ensure that all essential hand, tool and machining skills are covered before venturing onto more complex designs. 

Jane, the principal tutor not only gives theory lessons on the key design principals such as aesthetics, proportions and ergonomics, but she is also on hand to help students develop their own designs.

The end goal is to give the students the ability to design their own furniture that is structural sound, functional and aesthetically pleasing, while developing their own ‘design identity’. 


Theory tutorials

Theory tutorials and lectures cover a broad spectrum of topics from timber technology to history of furniture.  Jane runs these short lectures in pairs or small groups, so the topics can be referenced to the students’ specific needs.  A full list of the topics covered can be found under the ‘course content’ section of the website.

These theory sessions give the students a good grounding, and give them a better understanding of all the important issues concerned with furniture, many of which are transferred directly back into the workshop.


All design work undertaken by Williams and Cleal starts with pencil sketching. Students are therefore encouraged to keep sketch books. We feel this is one of the best ways to help students develop their creative side, and explore new avenues of design.   

We realise that drawing isn’t everyone’s strong point so as well as Jane, practising artist Caron Colwell is on hand to give you support and practical guidance to help in this area.  Drawing sessions will not only cover how to draw, but will also encourage students to explore and develop their own unique design style.   Improve their ability to 'see', critique their own work, and share their ideas with others.  It will also give them the ability to produce presentation drawings for both themselves and potential clients.



Students frequently ask us ‘Is it best to design with pencil and sketch book or CAD?’ we promote the use of both. It is so important in this day in age to use the appropriate medium and to have a varied range of skills at their disposal.

We teach our students how to use a range of computer packages to draw up their designs, with the primary programs being Auto-CAD and Google sketch up.

Computer Aided Design has many advantages over the traditional drawing board.  On a simple level, it enables them to document, amend and print out their designs far easier than by hand.  It also allows our students to explore the potential of CNC machining or laser cutting veneers.

During a fairly intensive program of lessons our students gain a vital insight into the uses of the CAD software, building a good understanding of the programs.  This hopefully leaves them in a position to comfortably produce their own working drawings for future projects.  Any required Auto-CAD support is also available during entire length of their course.



We encourage students to learn to photograph their own finished pieces of furniture, not only does this act as a good record for their portfolio, but the photos can also be used for promotional literature for magazines or websites.   

Jane is on hand to give advice on different camera settings and the correct lighting to use to get the desired effect.  In the past, we have also had a professional photographer to come in and give advice on achieving the best results. 

Apart from the obvious cost savings, learning to photograph their own work also gives the students the ability to portray their work in the way they intended. 


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