Furniture Inspirations

"Having had the privilege of instructing senior students in a secondary school and their community appreciating the value of traditional solid furniture, I have seen innumerable designs yet we continue to come up with new ideas each year. Some concepts are way too advanced for the skills of the particular students but it always astonishes me the way they rise to the occasion when given suitable encouragement and assistance. Through these experiences I have grown as a designer and have learnt there is no limit to furniture design.

It is not uncommon to direct students back to antique books where most of their ideas originate, although they won't admit to the connection. Almost all functional furniture has its roots in English and American history. Books like 'Millers - antiques' an annual collection of antique sales in England, are a wealth of inspiration.

Subtle influences from varying periods of history are embodied in our minds and surface when we make design choices. My role as a tutor/ mentor and designer is to channel these thoughts into what should be a pleasing design and successful outcome."

2010 Kawerau Wood Festival entry
Ash & Walnut - Rhys Gillingham

"My special buzz comes from seeing a student or trainee succeed both personally and especially on the national stage. The Kawerau Wood Skills Festival is a renown showcase of the very best furniture design by private individuals in New Zealand. It sets the standard for excellence and when one of my trainees excel at this event the resultant publicity and personal esteem won by that student is awesome."