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Gareth Neal is a furniture designer and maker who rose to prominence for his traditional furniture with contemporary exteriors.

He discusses his career and reflects on the furniture making industry. He also has commercial buyers outside of the crafts world, including the retail industry. Although he supplements his craft with teaching at the University of Brighton, making furniture is his primary career. I did woodwork, a little bit of Amateur cabinet fine furniture maker work and art. I wasn't very academic, so it was a natural progression for me to take Photography, Design and Technology, and Art at A level.

Amateur cabinet fine furniture maker, I decided you can be an amateur photographer, but not an amateur woodworker. Mine was not so good on business skills or design. But I came out with really good woodwork skills. However, people doing these sorts of Amateur cabinet fine furniture maker can be dependent on doing a Masters to get specialised, whereas my undergraduate degree was specialist in principle.

UK — which put me on a New Deal scheme. It was helpful to a certain extent. They often undervalue their work, which makes it harder for those of us who live by our craft. We need to work with galleries, not cut them out. Look at objects. Go to exhibitions. Be business minded, but do it because you love it. I get stable income from teaching. In my experience, selling through galleries provides an erratic and irrational income.

This can sustain the more creative stuff. When the creative stuff sells, that's great too, but this tends to be less reliable. For years I was struggling, popping my head out of a vast sea of debt for what felt like very brief breaths.

It's not a doom situation. There is no point in me competing with cheap furniture produced in South America, so I target clients that buy into sustainability. All rights reserved. Back to the top Contact us. Creative Choices Careers Advice Industry insights.

Have another income source "Creating a career is very hard. Be business minded "I've learned the lessons the hard way. Are you a furniture designer? What would your advice be? Also of interest A career in woodwork. Making rocking horses. Making shoes and clogs. Stay updated Sign up for our weekly careers newsletter.


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