Gareth Edwards – Winner of the 2014 Principal’s Enterprise Award.
Gareth Edwards graduated at Leeds Arts University in 2014 with a degree in Furniture. Born in Darwin Australia, and then brought up in Yorkshire, Gareth was passionate about drawing painting and sculpting. After Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Gareth attended Leeds University of Building for three years, during which time he spent two years studying Carpentry and Joinery and one year as an apprentice cabinetmaker.
As a furniture designer and maker, Gareth combines beauty with practical functionality. He considers an item of furniture to be as much as work of art as it is an item of furniture, hoping that the people who view or use the furniture he creates enjoy it as much as he enjoyed the process of creating it. He intends “to make furniture for those who have an appreciation for hand-crafted, bespoke pieces, and who share my vision of furniture being an object of beauty as much as it is an item of function”.
In his final year at Leeds Arts University, Gareth attended workshops designed to help him start his own enterprise and enhance his career opportunities. In hindsight Gareth reported back “The Myers-Briggs Personality session wasfascinating. It helped me to understand myself and other people better and the filmed mock interview session was really good, especially watching it played back”.
In August 2014 Gareth attended an intense week of enterprise skills at Leeds Arts University for those students wishing to start a business. On the final afternoon, the students pitched their business ideas to the Senior Management Team in a competition to win the Principal’s Enterprise Award worth £500 of mentoring and support. Gareth won the award for his presentation about the business he has started up with fellow alumnus Jake Coleman, making fine furniture, using sustainable sources of wood. Gareth and Jake are now working in their own wood workshop in Leeds, supported by mentors offering legal, marketing, commercial and financial advice.
Gareth found the University career advice “well worth having… you learn a lot about yourself. You feel more confident about the next step. It reassured me a lot that this (graduating) isn’t the end, it’s just the next step”.