It is unbelievable to think that I haven’t sat down to interview Miss Daisy Brunsdon until now, but here’s how it went. So, I sat down on our mid-century modern ‘cough IKEA cough’ sofa at the house we share in Marston, Oxford, and opened the discussion of how she came to be studying at Rycotewood.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was completely lost. I looked up what evening classes were happening in Oxford, and woodworking was the only one that had spaces still available, and was starting at the right time. So, I guess it was completely by chance!”
On reflection, Daisy supposes that it’s not so random to think where she has ended up, having always had an interest in creative subjects, and being brought up in a crafty household. Taking the evening class over two terms, she was soon offered the opportunity to use an available bench in the further education workshop at the city college, during two days of the week. Here, she learnt about the foundation degree and BA honours in furniture designing and making.
After accepting her offer, she was also given the opportunity of a week’s work experience in the Oxford University restoration workshop, where they fixed and replaced all the furniture for the university. Not knowing what to expect, she was pleasantly surprised to find that the staff set aside time during her week with them to show her how to use all the machines in their mill. As well as setting her her very first making project: a freestanding, dressing table mirror, giving her as much control over the design as she wanted. The workforce was all male, and as the staff pointed out to Daisy, she was the first female to work as part of their team. The placement was a positive experience, and when the week came to an end, the manager offered to help her with any issues she might have once she started her course; the use of their machines and the like.
Having now been at Rycotewood for a term and a half, Daisy says, “the course is beyond what I expected, despite being very excited to begin with. There’s definitely more of a focus on the artistic and creative side of furniture, than I thought, but I like that. And the diversity of people on the course is also surprising, but probably the best aspect of it all”.
Choosing to not give anything away, as it is still early days, Daisy is remaining open-minded as to where the course might lead her. However, prior to the course, she was described as being destined to become a designer, but in actual fact has found she has taken to making very much. She admits that now it would be hard to consider a career that didn’t involve some form of making.
Our conversation was coming to a close, and I put forward the question of ‘do you feel you have to be a certain type of girl, in order to be successful on these courses?’
“No”, she instantly replied, “…but you do have to get on well with boys”. We both laughed. It is interesting to note, that in the workshop, it is almost expected that the girls should or will become friends, however because they are all so different and there are so few, it doesn’t really work like that. Her advice to other girls, who have an interest in creative subjects and making things, is to try going to an evening course. It worked for her, and could work for them. It doesn’t harm to learn a new skill!