Bella is a fiction and non-fiction writer. Her journalism has appeared in a variety of major publications, including the Guardian and the Observer. Her first book, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, was The Lighthouse Stevensons (1999), an account of the construction of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson. It was also named one of List Magazine‘s ‘100 Best Scottish Books of All Time’. She is the author of three more books, the most recent of which is The Bicycle Book, shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2010.
Felix graduated from Newcastle University in 2012 with a BA in History. In January 2012 he founded a not-for-profit ethical food shop run from Newcastle University where he still works on a voluntary basis. Felix also volunteers at Felin Uchaf, a sustainable building educational centre in Wales where he has worked on constructing a new timber framed visitor centre, made and fitted window sills and learned lime plastering and thatching techniques. Felix worked as a painter and decorator in the Newcastle area and is now starting a career in woodworking.
Mayyanna, from London, heard about the 12 week course from friend Toby Phillips who completed the Woodworking Skills course in May 2014. She has a degree in illustration and animation and has a particular interest in design, different colour palettes and cultural differences in design. She loves to travel and before joining the course travelled around South America. Since graduating Mayyanna has returned to London where she is working with various set designers on commercial and editorial projects.
Steve has had a varied career starting as a builder then moving on to different roles as a civil servant, healthcare professional and teacher. He moved to Dorset in 2012 and joined the Academy after deciding he’d like a creative job working with wood. Steve enjoys property development and has over 30 years experience of turning houses into homes. He is passionate about art and is a keen photographer
Sunny took a sabbatical from his career as an Aeronautical Engineer to complete the 12 week course as part of the plan for his and his family’s future. They are emigrating to Sweden in 2015 when Sunny completes his 16 year commission with the Royal Navy. Before then Sunny will expand his skill set further with a Cob building and round timber frame and straw bale building courses. On moving to Sweden Sunny will build the family home and make the fittings and furniture. Sunny will then work as a carpenter.
After a 27 year career in sales, Tim relocated from Buckinghamshire to West Dorset and decided it was time to do something new. He joined the 12 week course to learn woodworking skills and open his own workshop from which he could make and sell furniture under the name “Made from Trees”. Tim speaks five different languages, enjoys horticulture, railway modelling and marquetry. He added beautiful marquetry detail to his level 3 cabinet assessment piece and first commission after graduating the course was a free-standing shoe and coat rack. His beautiful marquetry boxes are sold by shops and Tim will make bespoke pieces to order.
Tim grew up in Bridport, a Dorset market town ten miles from Lyme Regis and the Academy. He has a BTEC National diploma in Art and Design and for the past four years has worked in catering, most recently as an Assistant Manager at a restaurant in Cornwall. Wanting a change of career Tim is retraining to work as a carpenter/joiner.