History / Heritage – Rowden Atelier

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.


Early Rowden Atelier external image

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.

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

Now, as Rowden Atelier, we enable students 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

Rowden student marking up tail vice for Rowden workbench


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.

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

Highest possible standards

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 courses suited to the aspiring hobbyist, through to those looking to build a career as a woodworker.
Visit our woodworking courses pages to start your furniture making journey today