Thomas Sands
Wood Work
funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation
Summer | 2014

After graduating from the Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Product Design, he trained as a Cabinet Maker under the stewardship of Master Cabinet Maker Wynn Bishop at Rupert McBain Furniture in County Durham.

Working predominantly with hand tools, Thomas made pieces to the highest standards for the most discerning clients. This classic training set him up well for a lifetime of working with timber. “Wynn is pretty much the most talented guy I know, I was very fortunate to find him.” A chance meeting in 2009 with leading British luthier and QEST scholar Jim Fleeting sparked an interest in the magic of acoustic guitars. A keen player himself, Thomas decided he wanted to take the plunge and combine his love of the guitar with his love for his craft. After traveling to Oakland, California in April 2014 to undergo an extensive two week interview process, Thomas was accepted as apprentice to world renowned luthier, Ervin Somogyi. This 2-year apprenticeship is unpaid, and the master only offers one each year, providing Thomas an extraordinary opportunity to learn one-to-one, six days a week. The advantage of training under the 'father of the modern guitar' extends beyond skill and knowledge as it will also present a network of business opportunities going forward.

QEST will enable Thomas to become Mr. Somogyi's first British apprentice. Thomas has a simple philosophy; to strive to make things as exciting as they can be and to be the only person doing it that way. “I sometimes feel there is a lack of wonder in the world today; one can ‘know’ pretty much everything at the click of a mouse. I’m interested in restoring wonder. I want people to look at my work and think - how on earth does that work? How does that hold itself together?” His training will also involve a significant lifestyle change. “I couldn’t be more excited about spending two years in the San Francisco Bay Area; one of the most progressive and forward-thinking places in the world. The sense of innovation and entrepreneurism is everywhere, and that’s bound to influence my work and fuel my ideas. I can’t wait to get started building my future career”.


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