Following last week’s post, which featured an article with inspiring furniture maker and woodwork teacher, Helen Welch, I felt it would be interesting to catch up with one of her past students, and see just how much of a butterfly effect she created.
Diggory Rush is a recent graduate from London Metropolitan University, where he studied for a BA Honours in Furniture Design and Make. I first met Diggory on the 2017 LINLEY Summer School, which we had both been successful in applying for. Not only a talented and proactive maker, Diggory has often used his talent to help others. Something he is continuing to do now, as he works part time as a DT technician in a secondary school. In his spare time he continues to work on his own projects and commissions.
How did you hear about Helen and her Furniture School?
“I became disheartened with the luthiery industry. Customers didn’t appreciate or value the time, effort and craftsmanship involved with creating musical instruments. I was researching other creative and inspiring woodworking jobs, when I came across her Furniture School.”
What was it about Helen that inspired you?
“Helen’s methodology of working really inspired me. She created such a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere; I really felt free to develop and focus on the finer points of furniture making, design and craft.”
What did you make during your time at the School?
“I made a drinks cabinet out of solid Ash. It had mitered dovetails and through dovetails. I still use it to this day!”
What was the most important thing you learnt during your time with Helen?
“My time with Helen gave me the confidence to apply to the London School of Furniture (now the CASS) where I obtained a first class Honours degree. Her passion and exceptional level of craftsmanship re-invigorated my love for design and making.”
At the end of our interview, Diggory added that there were three other people on his degree course that had also joined because of Helen Welch. At the time, she was a part time lecturer at the CASS, and it certainly seems as though she made a huge positive impact on her students!
As it happens, Helen was in fact the second woman to encourage Diggory to pursue furniture as a career option. Janine Haywood, his secondary school DT teacher, had a lasting impression on him too, as she helped him make a guitar for his GCSE Resistant Materials project. Diggory says that the brown paper plans for the project, which they drew together, are now displayed on her living room wall.