In 1996, a group of people fed up with the lack of opportunity for local craftsmen and women to make a living for themselves locally, and the fact that 80-90% of the felled hardwood grown in Scotland is exported out of the country for processing, set up the Woodschool. At that time products made with local hardwood were unavailable in the Borders and there was a desperate need to help provide new designers and furniture makers with workshop facilities, collective marketing and administration backup.
Woodschool provides product innovation, process innovation and style in a whole range of goods like flooring, worktops, home, office and restaurant fittings. Their approach focuses on the desire to reverse the erosion of a wood culture using local resources and the existing stocks of Scottish hardwood. This means putting sustainable development into practice from woodland to workshop, appropriate to the people and raw materials of the area.
Woodschool rents out collective workshop space for a low monthly rental with access to all machinery, discounted timber supply, marketing and promotional support, exhibition and trade fair attendance, computer facilities and design studio. Extras include - photography, accountancy, small-business skills, press coverage and 'Getting to know your Public'. Members also get a space in Buy Design, the new gallery situated in Harestanes Visitor Centre near Jedburgh and access to galleries in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle.
The philosophy of Woodschool is reinforced through their association with the Borders Forest Trust, an environmental charity established in 1996 to develop and manage ambitious habitat restoration and community woodland projects and to reverse the decline of woodlands and wild places.
The Borders Forest Trust co-ordinates a range of projects to bring environmental, social and economic benefits to the Scottish Borders, developed under two broad umbrella themes: Living with Trees, which primarily benefits the environment and communities and Working with Trees, which primarily benefit the economy.
Demonstrations and talks
Part of the outreach work of Woodschool includes increasing the awareness of native woodland restoration, greenwood demonstration, waste management. From woodturning to charcoal making, basket making to shepherd's sticks. Group visits, tours or talks can be arranged.
The buyDesign Collection has gained a Europe-wide reputation for combining traditional craftsmanship and quality of the past with a modern style and comfort of the present. All the furniture is made from Scottish hardwood from sustainable sources. buyDesign is the main outlet for the three furniture ranges at Woodschool (Tweed, Teviot and Reiver) which have received wide acclaim. There is a range of all the native hardwood species, upholstery fabrics and other finishing details to choose from. All profits from buyDesign go back into supporting the Woodschool and Border Forest Trust's aims.
For further information, contact:
Tel: +44 (0) 1835 830740
Harestanes Visitor Centre
Tel: 01835 830718
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