One year ago I was making plans to spend July in the UK in order to learn the highly regarded craft of Traditional Upholstery. Leading up to my adventure, I started a little Facebook page called Upholstery Club. Slowly, but steadily, Upholstery Club has gathered ‘likers’ from all over the globe. Many are making their living, or at least supplementing their income by turning worn out wannabes into smashingly stunning show stoppers. Others are dabbling as hobbyists, and hope to someday leave their corporate job for the satisfying, yet physically demanding work of furniture transformation. And some of the people who’ve so proudly sent me their photos are just giving upholstery a try to see how they like it. I’ve gotten to know some of these people, I’ve even met some of them. My plan is to meet more, maybe travel the world to meet and interview these creative artisans in their own studios. This is my holiday gift to you. Please enjoy meeting my upholstery friends.
THE SETTEE ABOVE IS FROM MAIIKE, OF NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA
“Here’s a little number I put back together between projects – over the course of 3 years! The red spindles are from another unsalvagable chair-filled and painted cherry gloss, and there’s aluminum tube and rulers in there to replace missing spindles.”
COLLEEN FORD WHITE
Next up is our GIRL from Brooklyn, New York. Even though I’ve not met Colleen in person, I feel like we’re definitely friends. Colleen has taught upholstery and is now building her own robust upholstery business. Colleen is a master of diamond tufting and has been doing interesting pieces with African mudcloth.
And here’s the AFTER!!!! Get a load of those legs, would ya?! Well done Colleen!
Upholstery Club readers went crazy when Laetitia Lusson, upholstress from Anger, France, began submitting images of her traditional French upholstery techniques. I had to translate my questions for her, but the furniture spoke for itself. It didn’t take long before Laetita made LOTS of upholstery friends after her exquisite work was seen. Here are a few of her Before and Afters.
And here’s the AFTER!!! HULLLO!!
Haven’t we all seen this old fabric? Yukky BEFORE:
Bright and colorful AFTER
English trained, German hobby upholsterer Irmgard Stroedel took this old iron back chair and restored it to it’s deep tufted beauty.
‘INGA’ got clever with this basic round back chair and gave it a knock out coastal theme, shells and all.
AFTER: In it’s natural setting at the Cornish Coast
Here’s a textile delight from one of my real life pals Chrisie Cordrey, from Hudson, New York. Chrisie and I met at my studio when she was taking her son on college visits in the midwest. We couldn’t stop talking. I visited her in California before her big move to New York. She’s got a barn and she upholsters–sounds like a retreat workshop to me! Chrisie’s background in apparel has merged with her new love for upholstery and enabled her to create one of a kind textile rich upholstery fabrics. Chrisie took part in the Country Living Fair last summer.
ELOISE STANTON (ELLY)
Here’s my workbench neighbor from The Traditional Upholstery Workshop in Wales; delightful, funny and talented, Elly Stanton. Elly is learning traditional upholstery one or two weeks at a time while she continues working full time at her job in Wales. Honestly, there is nothing this girl can’t do! And the thing is, she does it really well! (I’m a little bit jealous of her natural talent for traditional upholstery). A few days before I left Wales, Elly brought in this old wooden chair to be transformed. After I was back in the US, she posted the photo.
Karen proudly sent me these photos of her very first upholstery project. Karen took her first upholstery class in September. She’s from Belfast, Ireland!! I hope she continues in her upholstery education. She’s got real potential!
I received photos of three projects from Helen, and this one made my head spin. How many times have you found these old chairs? WOW!! Helen explains how she came upon this chair.
“…a 1950’s cocktail chair, found in a junk shop in Edinburgh. Sprung unit retained and a mixture of traditional and modern techniques used, covered with Designers Guild velvet floral fabric.”
My facebook page is Helen Fox Upholstery.
I love this fabric!!
Ditsykins is a small business in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. She’s described herself as a “Designer, Maker, Fabric Hallucinator Designing and making items for children’s interiors. Reupholstery with modern twists”
Being a former children’s furniture designer myself, I kind of long for that completely creative work. This chair has the traditional English look that new moms adore.
Meet Mercedes Murat, art upholsterer extraordinaire! She’s taken upholstery to a whole new level. Here’s what she wrote:
“Hi my name is Mercedes Murat, Gilder and Upholsterer from Sweden. I follow your page on Fb and thought I send you one of my makeovers. The chair was dirty and uncomfortable. I gave it a new stuffing, gilded the frame, upholstered it with faux skin and than had an airbrush painting decorate it. This chair got so much attention in swedish magazines and where in 5 exhibitions in Sweden and traveled all the way to Milan, Italy where it where to be seen in the Milan design week.”
Hold on to your seat when you check out more of her work. She’s something else!!!
Check out more of everybody’s work here:
Maaike: FurnitureResurrection on Facebook
Collen Ford White: Timberandcloth.com
Laetitia Lusson: Laetitia Lusson on Facebook
Chrisie Cordrey: Corduroy Shop on Facebook
Eloise Stanton:Upholstery & Artworks by Eloise on Facebook
Helen Fox: Helen Fox Upholstery on Facebook
Mercedes Murat: mercedesmurat.com
This only Part 1. I’ve got much much more to share.
If you’ve got a hankerin’ to start learning the right way to upholster, be sure to check out my online course, Upholstery Knockouts. Early Bird registration ends tomorrow night (11/27/13). Don’t miss out on the savings.