Designer chairs fund fantastic furniture scholarships

19th August 2022

Four furniture students from Fife College have been given a boost after receiving special scholarships funded by the sale of designer chairs.

John Hancock, Claire Forsyth, Justyna Stanka, all from Dunfermline, and Anna Matthew, from Hillend, have been awarded a Renton Scholarship.

Awarded through Adam Smith Scholarships, which is part of Fife College, the Renton Scholarship was set up in memory of Stuart and Ethnie Renton (from Edinburgh and Rannoch) who loved modernist furniture design, especially mid-century pieces and Scandinavian craft.

The family generously offered some of the proceeds from the sale of the chairs and other furniture to Fife College to give students a helping hand with their studies.

Stuart Renton was an architect and took pride in his beautiful Fritz Hansen, Arne Jacobsen, and Eames designer chairs, as well as a selection of Italian and Danish interior products and work by contemporary Scottish artists and craftspeople.

Open to students on the NC Furniture, HNC Furniture and HND Furniture courses, part of the scholarship application was to produce a 1:5 scale model of a classic chair design.

This year’s recipients each received a £400 award, to be used for resources or materials to help them take that next step to further study or employment.

Carol Renton, Stuart and Ethnie’s daughter, visited the College to meet the award winners and present them with certificates.

HND Furniture student, John Hancock, said:

"I was overjoyed to hear that I'd won! It's a huge compliment to hear Carol Renton liked my work! The money will help take so much pressure off and help me with my future endeavours in my new career path.

“Also, a big thank you to Carol for giving the students at Fife College this fantastic opportunity, we all appreciate her consideration and generosity!"

Anna Matthew, also on the HND Furniture course, said:

“I was quite surprised to find out that I was one of four scholarship winners, this was the confidence boost I needed. After reading Carol's comments on my design, I feel reminded that I do have the ability to create an exciting design."

Carol Renton said:

“Congratulations to this year’s winners – their chair designs were fantastic, and they all thoroughly deserve their scholarship awards.

“My parents would have been thrilled to know that their beloved chairs were supporting the next generation of furniture designers to achieve their career goals.”

Lyn Gold, Scholarship and Alumni Engagement Lead at Fife College, said:

“We are very grateful to Carol and the Renton family for offering these awards which we know will have an immediate impact on students' academic lives and their plans.

“John, Justyna, Anna and Claire are extremely hard-working, talented students who are all worthy winners of this year’s awards – we wish them well in their studies and careers.”

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