Nancy Hiller

How would you define yourself?

Furniture maker and writer

Nancy Hiller

Please describe yourself and your areas of interest.

I trained as a furniture maker through the City & Guilds of London system, earning a certificate in 1980, and have spent most of my career as a designer-maker of custom furniture and cabinetry for businesses in England and the United States. At 30 I returned to university, graduating with a master’s in religious studies, specializing in ethics. Although I continued to work as a cabinetmaker after graduating (and opened my business, NR Hiller Design, in 1995), I began writing essays and had several published, all on topics related to Ruskin’s values. Before long I was asked by one publisher, then others, to write books. My most recent is English Arts & Crafts Furniture (2018). I contribute articles to Fine Woodworking and other magazines, in addition to writing a monthly post for Fine Woodworking’s professionals’ blog. As a custom maker, I work in many styles, but my specialty is English Arts and Crafts furniture. I am especially fond of work by Voysey and Gimson; I’ve also championed Harris Lebus as a manufacturer that brought work of beauty and utility (if not literal handcraft) to the homes of those of relatively modest means

Why did you become a Companion of the Guild?

Having been introduced to Ruskin at university through Unto This Last and Other Writings, I found Clive Wilmer's introduction to the volume dazzling in its provision of historical context and insight into Ruskin's personality, character, and works. For many years I wished I could meet Clive. This spring it happened. He encouraged me to apply for Guild companionship, and I did, because allying myself with a group of people who share Ruskin’s understanding of what constitutes meaningful work, fair exchange, genuine investment, and so much else is crucial to my sanity at this time.

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