At this year’s New Designers I was captured by the impressive display from London’s Building Crafts College. One of this year’s graduates, Carolin Reichert, explained her final piece to me. Her Capture Cabinet not only functions as a drinks cabinet, but also as a camera. Alongside her piece, she displayed examples of what her unique creation is capable of producing, a series of photographs; using the traditional method from pinhole cameras. Following the cabinet’s popularity at New Designers, Carolin and her work were invited to exhibit at this year’s Young Furniture Maker’s Exhibition, where I was able to have a catch up with her.
Where does your love for furniture come from?
I have been interested in furniture and interior design for a long time. Living in the Netherlands for 15 years was a very inspiring place to learn more about it. Out of necessity and due to a limited budget during my BA studies, I learned to be quite creative with my living space and always enjoyed designing and making something for an existing space or for friends.
Why do you think you pursued photography prior to a pathway in design and making, how have you found the transition?
Taking up a career in furniture making and designing has been the third path for me in choosing my professional path. Studying Graphic Design and doing a BA in Fine Arts/Photography before, was a great way of allowing myself to think outside self-applied
structures and set of rules in terms of concepts, choice of material and techniques. It was very freeing and confronting at the same time. In the end Photography, as passionate as I am about it, turned out to not be the right medium to express my ideas. It took me many years to realise the making process is what I am most passionate about even looking back to very early education. Deciding to change and retrain in my mid thirties felt like a big commitment and challenge for logistic and financial reasons, but otherwise it felt very natural.
How did you find out about your course at the BCC? Did you have any apprehensions about entering into furniture education? What were your experiences whilst studying?
I found out about the course at the Building Crafts College through word of mouth and was introduced by a friend of a friend of mine. It was great to hear her point of view and experience. Growing up in a traditional middle class family with very traditional gender roles and therefore the feedback from my family when I announced my choice of new career path wasn’t surprising. It was certainly on my mind that I was entering a field that won’t be waiting for me as a woman to join. Having said that since starting the course I have been very fortunate to meet many inspiring female makers, open minded male peers and had amazing female teachers at the BCC. Having those female role models during my training has been very encouraging and inspiring and certainly gave the confidence boost I needed.
Have you had any set backs during your pursuit into furniture design and making, how have you overcome them?
Not so far, fingers crossed.
What would your main piece of advice be for others pursuing a future in furniture and craft? Try to get as much practical on site experience in different workshops during your training as possible to prepare yourself and make your transition easier.
What work have you found since graduating from the BCC?
Since my graduation I have been working for a female furniture designer and maker in South London in a shared workshop set up with other makers. Studio LW does a range of projects, smaller bespoke projects, residential and commercial fit outs and artist projects. The studio also runs furniture making courses, which gives me the opportunity to teach smaller groups which I have been enjoying.
How did you course prepare you for working in a practicing workshop?
On a skill level, the course at the BCC gave me the right set of skills to be able to work independently and gave me technical knowledge and skills to work efficiently and a safe manner. Furthermore I been grateful for the introduction to the passionate and lovely community of makers and designers that is inspiring and supportive to my own practice.
Find out more about Carolin and her work at: https://the-dots.com/users/carolin-reichert-205419.
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