Historically speaking, woodworking has been a male-dominated industry. Nonetheless, The Chippendale School of Furniture has long sought to address this gender imbalance by encouraging women into the world of woodworking.
The results of these efforts are visible in the school’s record numbers of female applicants to the Professional Course and highly accomplished women graduates.
This International Women’s Day, we wanted to shine the light on one of our graduates, Constance Graesslin de Mare, who is now a successful furniture maker after attending our Professional Course in 2020.
Creativity in woodworking
Constance decided to apply to the Chippendale International School of Furniture after graduating from the Sorbonne Pantheon in Paris with a degree in Art History.
Drawn to wood for its versatility, Constance saw she could use her theoretical knowledge of art to inspire and inform her creative expression. The Professional Course at the Chippendale School stood out as the obvious choice to begin a career in woodworking: “Chippendale was very focused on making, which was perfect for me”.
Constance approves of the school’s efforts to increase gender diversity. She believes that working with a diverse group“is a much more rewarding way to learn”, crediting her enjoyment of the course to the variety of students she trained with.
Keen to break the stereotype in woodworking, Constance claims “The more women are seen doing this kind of work, the easier it is for others to feel like they can do anything they want.”
“I think more needs to be done to encourage anybody who does not feel confident in following the path they are interested in. And that can of course include women in woodwork. As for how I think the focus needs to be shifted - it shouldn't be about your gender, but simply what sparks your interest. Then it does not matter who you are, you can embrace the craft and take part in it.”
A Success Story
Constance clearly embraces the craft. The owner of Constance Furniture, her designs are striking. “I feel like they are quite simple, but always with a technical twist that is less obvious and only visible to the trained eye.”
When asked what the future holds, she replies “I'm at the very beginning of my career, and still evolving! The only thing I could hope for my business is to be able to keep building my designs and conveying my vision of furniture and craftsmanship.”
We can’t wait to see what’s next!
If Constance’s story has inspired you to start a career in woodworking, take a look at our Professional Course here.