Artichoke hosts inaugural New Designers and Makers Conference

Alice Blogg, Director of Arttus Interiors, speaking at Artichoke’s recent New Designers and Makers Conference

Artichoke, makers of fine handmade kitchens and joinery-led interiors, held their first New Designers and Makers Conference last month.

The free conference, held in Cheddar, Somerset, where Artichoke is located, aimed to offer guidance to student designers and young start-up companies in the business aspects of running a furniture and cabinetmaking venture.

Supporting & guiding the next generation
The conference is part of Artichoke’s mission to support and guide the next generation of furniture makers and architectural joinery experts. It joins other educational-led initiatives, including Artichoke’s School of Furniture, which offers free evening classes to local school children. The full-day conference was attended by some 65 students and start-up furniture makers, all of whom enjoyed a busy program of insightful talks by leading experts, including Artichoke cabinetmakers.

Keynote & guest speakers
The conference’s keynote speaker, Dr Inge Hill, a senior lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University, focused on the challenges and opportunities that are likely to be encountered by designers and start-up companies. Areas covered included business models and grants, investment, strategic positioning, and value creation.


Paul von der Heyde – Artichoke’s Chairman

Other guest speakers included Alice Blogg, designer-maker of Alice Blogg and creative director of Arttus Interiors; Charles Byron, owner and founder of Byron & Gomez; David Dewing, past master of The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, and chairman of the South West Region.

Staff members from Artichoke also spoke at the conference, sharing their in-depth industry knowledge and wealth of expertise. Bruce Hodgson, Artichoke’s Founder, and Sophie Trafford, the company’s Finance Director, sat on a panel with a lively audience discussion covering the importance of charging adequately for design and furniture making.

The discussion was chaired by Paul von der Heyde, Artichoke’s Chairman and past Master of the Furniture Makers’ Company, past Chairman of the British Furniture Confederation, and Chairman of Axminster Tools, who also provided the welcome introduction.

An annual event
Andrew Petherick, Artichoke’s Business Development Director, commented: “We were delighted with how the day went. All students and start-up makers who attended were very engaging and it was certainly a friendly atmosphere.

When the company was launched some 30 years ago, Artichoke was fortunate to have received invaluable advice from a prominent business leader. This advice helped put us on a sound financial footing, and we’re delighted to be able to offer the same support to the next generation.”

Attendees received complementary products courtesy of Axminster Tools and Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine. Owing to the conference’s success, the company plan to run the event on an annual basis. For further information on Artichoke, visit

9 Cheddar Business Park
Wedmore Road, Cheddar
Somerset, BS27 3EB
01934 745 270