Carving a Career in Craft Skills
Ellie Fuller is a student at Moulton College where she studies furniture-making. She is currently undertaking an apprenticeship with John Lucas Ltd. Her very first job was repairing the severely decayed pew platforms at St Peter’s, Offord d’Arcy. Here, she tells us more about the work and herself.
I became interested in woodwork from the age of 7, when my grandfather started to teach me how to engrave and carve wood. I soon became fully immersed in this hobby and decided to study Product Design at GCSE and A-Level. I found myself devouring each topic and knew I had found something I wanted to continue as a career.
St Peter’s, Offord D’Arcy was my very first job with John Lucas - and a challenging one at that! The majority of the floorboards needed replacing as they had rotted away beneath the pews. Alongside this woodworm had set in to many of the pews, meaning we had to kill the woodworm and then replace the decayed pews and floorboards. A dusty and time-consuming job.
In addition to this, the floor joists had also suffered badly. Because of this, I learnt how to construct the base structure on to which the new floorboards were laid.
I am very lucky to be learning from such talented people as Mark Proud at John Lucas. The work I am presented with is more on an industrial level of making instead of bespoke furniture, which is what my course focused on. At Lucas’s, I am gaining experience in a wide range of methods and techniques for attacking a drawing or problem. All this will be beneficial in helping me to understand my course better.
Currently Mark and I are in the process of creating two cabinets for St Mary and All Saints’, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire. We are creating a kitchen unit on one side of the church and a flower-arranging unit on the other. They are coming along quite well. They are made out of solid oak, which means they look beautiful, but they are so heavy I struggle to lift them!
I really enjoy the work I do with John Lucas; it is varied and constantly presents new challenges. I hope to continue working at Lucas’s until my degree in furniture-making at Moulton College is complete. After that, I will compile my portfolio and apply for Roycote Furniture school. In the meantime, I am happy content with what I am learning and my slow exposure into the vast world of cabinet making.
Ellie and Mark’s incredible craftsmanship has enabled the full use of St Peter’s again – much to the delight of the Friends group. From craft fairs to Spanish Blues concerts, the Friends of St Peter’s have an rich and varied calendar of events planned for the summer. Do check out the What’s On pages to find out more.