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John Makepeace

Biographies
John Makepeace

*  1939 Solihull

The British furniture designer and college founder John Makepeace is the leading exponent of the British Craft Revival. He completed a cabinet-maker's apprenticeship in Keith Cooper's workshop in 1957. John Makepeace would later open a workshop of his own at Farnsborough Barn in Dorset. John Makepeace's exclusive designs for chairs in precious hardwoods are notable for the consummate craftsmanship with which they are designed and made. The John Makepeace "Knot Chair" is made of elm and oak bleached almost white; his "Millenium Chair" is made of holly, which is so hard and white that it looks like ivory. The John Makepeace "Trine" chair is made of layered and cut yew and oak, which results in a startlingly beautiful veining - in this respect rather reminiscent of Tapio Wirkkala's leaf-shaped molded chairs. The John Makepeace "Ebony Gothic" chair unabashedly quotes from Neo-Gothic and Jugendstil/Art nouveau, on which John Makepeace draws for his designs. John Makepeace has also exerted an enormous influence as a teacher. In 1972 John Makepeace went to the US, where he wanted to found a crafts school in New York with the furniture designer Wendell Castle but the plans did not come to fruition. On his return to Britain, John Makepeace acquired Parnham House in Dorset, where he founded the Parnham College of Furniture-Making. Craftsmen were expected to hone all the skills called for in handling wood there. In 1987 John Makepeace founded Hooke Park College, with teaching buildings designed by the architect Frei Otto and the ABK design practice.