PROCESS – Design Drawings from the Rijksmuseum

Learning to draw: the training of furniture makers

3 November 2022

In order to join a guild, a craftsman needed to submit a masterpiece. That was a specially made specimen of his skill, detailed in advance, that was judged to ascertain his qualifications. In nearly every German town, an aspiring cabinetmaker needed to make a drawing of the masterpiece he intended to submit, prior to being allowed to start work on it. This implies that must have been taught to draw. In this section of the exhibition, drawings by cabinetmakers, nearly all of German origin, demonstrate how they acquitted themselves of this part of their training. In other countries, and where other types of art were concerned, rules could vary, but the training of highly qualified craftsmen will almost invariably have included drawings lessons.

Left to right: Joseph Nussbaumer, designs for a work table and a writing table, 1816. Unknown, an iron lock, c. 1740-1760. Joseph Nussbaumer, design for a secretaire, 1816.

Drawing as a language
Mastering drawing is still an important skill for designers. A quick sketch or detailed digital drawings. Everyone has their own expertise and preference. For Paulien Berendsen of Studio Parade, drawing is something natural, something she has always done. It therefore plays an important role in her design process, which she tells you more about in the video below.