The Team

Alison Winfield-Chislett: Chief Muckety Muck & Tutor

Founder of The Goodlife Centre, Alison Winfield-ChislettAlison Winfield-Chislett has a number of eclectic skills covering a wide spectrum of materials and processes.

She spent her childhood renovating her dolls house and playing with Plasticene. She went on to study 3D design in Wood, Metal,Plastics and Ceramics for her B.A. and Ceramics and Glass at the R.C.A. while running her own prop making company for the fast paced world of special effects for TV and films.

In 1986 Alison moved to New York and worked as a staff designer for Tiffany and Co. While in the USA, she taught carpentry classes to women.

After returning to London, U.K., Alison became Senior Designer for Asprey during it’s relaunch and later worked to develop her own products for the gift market. She has worked as consultant designer to several independent museums and as Art Director/Costume Designer for a full length film shot in the monsoon in India.

In 2009, Alison started to teach Basic DIY skills, renting community halls to teach a successful ‘Tools for the terrified’ one-day workshop. In 2011, she co-authored ‘The Girl’s guide to DIY’, published in 6 languages by New Holland Press.

The Goodlife Centre has been styled and equipped to be the workshop of Alison’s dreams.

Besides creating beautiful objects at the centre, designing and leading workshops, Alison is the author of ‘The Natural History of Umbracula‘ – a quirky take on discarded umbrellas. She collects ephemera and vitally trivial knowledge about many things. Her patent anniversary blog can be found at Patent Du Jour. There is no rational explanation for her creation of The Good Lice Centre.

Click here to read about the daily developments at The Goodlife Centre. She is also currently chronicling the life of the nation’s first media handyman, WP Matthew.

Ben Rawlinson.  Resident furniture maker and Tutor.

Ben is a bespoke furniture maker and teacher. He has a relaxed and playful way of guiding the absolute beginner as they begin their journey into making as well as  teaching advanced  techniques in box building, dovetails and veneering.Ben helped pioneer our bespoke woodwork classes for local primary schools

He trained in 3D Design and has over decade of teaching experience, so we are delighted that his workshop is within the Goodlife Centre and he spends his days teaching full time learners on a year long journey to become a furniture maker.

Ben Rawlinson Bespoke Furniture was established in 2010.

Ruth Thomson. Tutor – furniture making

Ruth Thomson is an experienced carpenter and enthusiastic teacher. She has headed carpentry departments teaching NVQ levels 1 and 2. Ruth enjoys teaching our introduction to furniture making as well as bespoke classes for children.She headed the build for our new workshop and wrote an impressive and accurate shopping list for 2 kilometres of wall studding and a ton of plasterboard.

When not teaching, Ruth explores the countryside on her motorbike and plays guitar and piano. Not at the same time.

Andy Nicholl. Tutor – Basic woodwork

Andy Nicholl is a master of many skills. He has to be- he has run his own handyman service in South London for many years, as well as making bespoke furniture for private clients.

When he is not helping people fix things in their homes and volunteering to help local communities, Andy finds time to make furniture using traditional hand tools and methods.

Steve English. Tutor – Furniture restoration

Steve has been a professional restorer and french polisher for over 30 years. He has a friendly teaching style that is enriched by educational anecdotes about his fascinating experiences working for Harrods Furniture Depository restoring fine antiques.

Jan Dodd. Tutor – Soft furnishings

Jan taught  upholstery at Southwark college  and different centres for more than 10 years. She is passionate about her subject and enjoys passing on her knowledge and enthusiasm to her students through her teaching. Jan ran her own soft furnishings business for many years.

She holds a City & Guilds qualification in upholstery & also has a teaching qualification.She has also become an intrepid world traveller. Grab her classes while you can and enjoy her traveller’s tales as you sew.

Louise Richardson. Tutor – upholstery

Lou is a fully qualified city and guild upholsterer with over 8 years of experience working in the industry here in Britain and Australia. She is an experienced craftswoman with a wide range of skills from traditional to modern techniques. Lou is taking a break from teaching here to concentrate on her new baby.

Rachael South. Tutor – upholstery, hand caning

Rachael’s father was an upholsterer so she grew up watching how furniture was transformed from sad to stunning under his trained hands. Later, Rachael formed her own career as a designer and maker for a large trimmings company before returning to the family trade.

Rachael is a highly experienced upholsterer  and renowned hand caner who runs her own successful business. Her workshops are relaxed and confidence-building. We manage to persuade her to share her skills as often as we can.

Sally Mollett. Tutor – upholstery

Sally Mollett is passionate about upholstery. After a career in accounting she retrained and now  runs her own business  ‘The London Upholstery House’ in Streatham, South London, taking on  modern and traditional projects from Mid Century G-Plan dining chairs to original Regency Sofas, and everything else in between.

While studying Upholstery at the London Metropolitan University she was awarded prizes for her work 2 years in a row. Sally says ‘if I can do it – you can too.

 Polly Waite. Tutor – Upholstery, soft furnishings.

Polly is a professional  upholsterer who has completed many bespoke commissions including a converted double decker bus. When not teaching with us she practices yoga and walking her dogs.

Ian McQueen. Tutor – traditional & pleated lampshades.

Ian is a City and Guilds trained craftsman who has taught for many years. He makes beautiful traditionally built fine lampshades for interior designers and high end shops. Some are sophisticated some are dramatic statements bejewelled with vintage adornments. All are hand stitched with precision so that they retain their shape and structure to give years of pleasure. Ian gained the record for the furthest learners will travel to our  workshops when two eager makers  travelled from South Carolina to pick up some skills.

Stephen Scott. Tutor – woodcarving

Stephen was born and brought up in Barbados where he became an award-winning sculptor in mahogany. He trained at Camberwell College of Arts and studied historic woodcarving at the City & Guilds of London Art School.

Jon Hall. Tutor – woodcarving

Jon  is a City and Guild trained  wood carver. He works as a  professional high end maker, restorer and gilder and  shares his expertise in a patient and playful manner. Jon may share access to his humourous and original Youtube channel.

Anna Crutchley. Tutor – passementerie; linen tassels, upholstery trims

Anna Crutchley trained in woven textiles and is a designer-maker of bespoke furnishing trimmings.

She creates these for  restoration pieces, interior decorators  upholsterers, heritage organisations and private clients. She is teacher with 30 years experience and her inspirational books on passementerie have become key texts.

Mary McGeown: Tutor – rag rugs, quilting

Mary comes from a family of makers, and grew up watching her mother tailor, sew, silversmith and more. She is passionate about creativity and learning, and attracted to crafts that offer simple techniques that allow an individual’s creativity to flow.

Mary loves rug making because of its traditional simplicity and honesty, and the range of materials, colours, designs, textures and shapes it allows. It’s all about making unique, beautiful, feel good pieces…

Moira Tighe. Tutor –  DIY Drills, DIY tiling, Preparation and Paint, DIY Electrics, Furniture paint techniques

Moira has built her own house and is an enthusiastic DIYer and an experienced teacher of both children and adults. 

Besides having a great grasp on DIY, she has worked as freelance prop maker- creating puppets and carnival structures. Her love of materials and specialised techniques are shared in our workshops with patience, humour and know how.

Ollie Lister. Tutor – DIY basic drills

Ollie spends his days creating roof top growing spaces to bring people lush fresh veg. His all round practical knowledge makes him a confidence building tutor in all those frustrating DIY niggles you hate calling someone in to do.

Dave Sylvester. Tutor – DIY basic plumbing

We called in a professional plumber, as you do. When many said it couldn’t be done, Dave took on the unique and unorthodox plumbing we found in the centre after squatters had created five years of  unusual ‘solutions’.He offered to teach here and brings amazing energy, openness and straightforward knowledge to enlighten homeowners in the highways and byways…and blockages..of their water systems.

Ana Woods. Office Whizz, Shed Mistress and Workshop assistant

From un sticking glue pots to uploading web pages, Ana helps to make the The Goodlife Centre work. She combines her many talents with running a happy family and still has time to craft with knitting and stitching.

Michelle Purse. Website & marketing

While everyone else is sharpening tools and fine tuning the practical workshops, Michelle is in the virtual trenches making sure the website she built is up to date, reminders, thanks yous and press releases she has written go out on time and that the all important back-end (ooh-er mrs!) of the business is organised so that the workshops aren’t burdened with paperwork and paper trails.

As well as spending as many days as possible on the ski slopes, she runs her own business and you can find more about her here: