27 May 2024, 14:37
By Furniture News Feb 19, 2024

TV presenter joins Dorset furnituremaking course

Escape to the Country presenter Jules Hudson has taken a three-month sabbatical and enrolled on a furnituremaking course in Dorset.

Jules, 54, is studying at the Boat Building Academy and Furniture Making School (BBA) in Lyme Regis, after "falling in love" with the place during an episode of the property show.

He says: “After filming at the academy in 2012 it stuck in my mind, and I always wanted to return. But when you have a family and are working, life just moves on, and you go with it.

“Late last year, I realised I was quite burnt out and needed a creative and emotional reset. My wife said: 'Why don’t you take some time out and go to the Boat Building Academy?'

“I thought about it, and it dawned on me - what am I waiting for? So, I investigated the courses here at the BBA, saw the 12-week furniture making course and took the jump and enrolled.

“Making has always been something I have always been able to lose myself in and it has been a hugely rewarding experience to immerse myself in learning and working with wood with world-class experts.

“I’m staying with a lovely family from Lyme during the course and as well as learning amazing new skills alongside my fellow students, I’ve found the BBA to be just so welcoming and inspiring.”

During the course, Jules will tackle hand and power tool and machine use, and several practical making projects. Among many other topics, he will learn about steam-bending, technical drawing, finishing and design, with theory covering everything from timber types and technology to 3D-construction methods and fixings. The final piece of furniture will be made to his own design, and he will receive a level 3 qualification.

He says: “I am quite handy in terms of renovating and building, but even so, this is different level stuff! It’s sheer precision and artistry, and I am absolutely loving it. Of course, I miss my family and my wife is at home juggling everything. But it was a family discussion, and we are investing in our future. We are a family of makers!

“Lyme Regis is a simply stunning place, and the academy is full of people from all walks of life learning to create such wonderful furniture and boats from wood. Our tutor Poppy Booth is also phenomenally skilled, and we are all in complete awe of her.

“I’ve started using the hashtag #makingmakesmehappy and I’m loving hearing other people’s stories of how creating is improving their lives. You simply can’t put a price on the satisfaction you feel when you are creating something.

“The only thing that could improve the course for me would be having nine days in the week instead of seven! It’s certainly demanding, but in the best way possible - and I can’t wait to see what I can create by the end of it.”

Will Reed, director of the BBA, adds: “Jules is an absolute pleasure to have around – so friendly and enthusiastic. Like many people who come to the BBA he is experiencing the hugely therapeutic benefits of working and creating with wood. He is also pushing himself through an intensive learning curve.

“I’m sure that by the time he leaves us he will have made some great friends and developed some new, lifelong skills.”

Pictured: Jules with tutor Poppy

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