History / Heritage

Since our inception, we have carried a philosophy; to respect the craft in fine furniture design and making and to push our students to do the best work they can, regardless of their experience or background.

THE JOURNEY TO ROWDEN

After attending the Ruskin Art school in Oxford and training with the great maker Alan Peters, David Savage founded his original workshop in 1984 in Bideford, North Devon. He established his name as a designer and started to explore the unique forms that became his trademark.

In 1995 David moved to Rowden Farm to found Rowden Workshops. This new start was in part to further promote the values and quality of craftsmanship associated with the Arts & Crafts movement. At Rowden, David earned two Bespoke Guild Marks and began to teach a handful of students, his approach to fine furniture.

Early Rowden Atelier external image
Writing bureau with sunburst veneered inset panel and piston fit drawers, made by a student at Rowden Atelier

Now, as Rowden Atelier, we enable student to create outstanding work and pursue their own vision as craftspeople. We have trained beginners with no experience and seasoned makers with a decade or more as professional furniture makers. Coming to Rowden is about upping your game, regardless of where you are starting.

Values and Intentions

We train you to be an exceptional woodworker, designing and making exceptional furniture. For many, there is a transformative capacity to a course at Rowden. For most there is a deep fulfilment found when working at the bench.

Rowden student marking up tail vice for Rowden workbench
an orthographic drawing exercise in the technical drawing syllabus at Rowden Atelier
Rowden student fitting a hinge to the Rowden Cabinet project

Our course takes students beyond designing and making beautiful furniture. We provide an education in artistic drawing, technical drawing, design, business and computer-aided design – all the composite parts of being a rounded cabinetmaker in the 21st century. We know this has to work in the real world, not just the bubble of a learning workshop.

A sideboard table in walnut with laminated underframe, made at Rowden Atelier on a woodworking course

We maintain our commitment to the values associated with the Arts & Crafts movement and help our students to express their capacity as designer/makers. We do this by teaching a finely honed curriculum that has brought students here from all over the world. Our courses provide a platform for students to go from novice woodworker to craftspeople, able to conceive and create furniture made to the highest possible standard.

We offer classes suited to the aspiring hobbyist, through to those looking to build a career as a woodworker.