About John Makepeace
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"My objective is to achieve freer, lighter, stronger and more sculptural forms better suited to their function.
My furniture is a fusion of drawing and fine craftsmanship with digital technologies. Together, they create a host of new possibilities which have proved especially relevant in designing chairs."
I trained first with Keith Cooper, Lytchett Matravers, Dorset from 1957-9 then took a distance learning course to qualify as a teacher of craft, design and technology, spending two years teaching in Birmingham from 1957 to 1961.
I now design and make furniture to commission for international clients from my home, Farrs, a Grade 2* historic house in Beaminster. I collaborate with Clive Baines (Craftsman), Ben Harvey (Design Engineer), Moray McPhail and Lee del Rosso (Castings) and Kathy Thornton ( PA. ). We use a variety of woods including mulberry, yew and holly, 5000 year old bog oak and oak planted in 1740 at Longleat, harvested in 1980. Nature is a constant catalyst. It generates beautiful functional forms with extraordinary structural efficiency whilst consistently responding to the environment. It always reminds me that there must be more eloquent concepts for furniture.
My objective is to achieve freer, lighter, stronger and more sculptural forms better suited to their function. Recent commissions have ranged from a boardroom for a client in Malibu, a dining room for some Chinese clients in Hong Kong, a Chair for the Master of the Carpenters Company, a Mace for the Arts University Bournemouth and Graduation Chairs for Plymouth University.
My furniture is a fusion of drawing and fine craftsmanship with digital technologies. Together, they create a host of new possibilities which have proved especially relevant in designing chairs.
Teaching has been an integral part of my career particularly whilst directing Parnham College (1977- 2001) for aspiring furniture makers. Craft and design skills are not sufficient alone.
The self-employed also need to plan and run a business. The alumni have demonstrated the benefits of this innovation. The research, and development of the campus at Hooke Park have demonstrated how the best properties of thinnings offer new markets for forest produce. Now used by architectural students, they are a powerful teaching aid.
I was awarded the O.B.E. for services to Furniture Design in1988, the American Furniture Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, the Furniture Makers Company Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and was winner of the Prince Philip Designer Award in 2016.