Vanessa Johnston from Seattle is our first 2018 graduate to join the Fine Furniture Guild.

Vanessa also won the honour of being awarded the Chippendale Society Award, given this year to mark the 300th birthday of the great cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale.

Vanessa was awarded the prize by Dr Adam Bowett, chairman of the Chippendale Society, for the quality of her craftsmanship and design and the coherence of her wych elm and olive ash furniture collection which includes a table, bedside tables, chair, and an intricate clock.

Before coming to the Chippendale school, Vanessa was a marketing director and graphic designer, and did have some woodworking skills having previously lived on a houseboat which she renovated herself, building cabinets, and even adding a 2nd storey to her boat.

The Chippendale Society’s principal aims are to advance public education, promote the appreciation and study of the work of Thomas Chippendale, and to preserve and maintain examples of his work for the benefit of posterity.

Dr Bowett is an independent furniture historian who works as a consultant on historic English furniture with public institutions, including the National Trust, English Heritage and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and with private clients in both Britain and North America.

Vanessa plans to stay on in Scotland, setting up her own company, Vanessa Johnston Woodworking, from new business incubation space at the school.

To contact Vanessa: or +44 (0) 7484 752107