For many years I worked in the theatre as a set and costume designer where often a piece of furniture was hastily re-covered for the stage. It was as a reaction to this impermanence that I decided to learn how to upholster professionally and so took the City and Guilds course in Upholstery at the London Metropolitan University, formally the London School of Furniture. I did the course part-time over four years up to Level 3. I now have eight years experience to add the excellent tuition I received at college.

 

After the ephemeral nature of theatre, it is wonderful to get hold of a tired and broken chair and give it another life as a stylish and beautiful piece of furniture. I have also become fascinated by the history of the pieces I work on; the things that slip down the cracks (I have a great collection of old coins, pens etc) and the strange things other upholsterers have put into the stuffing. As you take them apart you find scraps of the previous top covers and the tack holes that give you clues as to how the chair looked in the past.

 

My seat caning skills were self-taught long ago with occasional phone calls to a colleague who has specialised in restoring chairs for historic houses and other clients for many years. I now teach others this satisfying skill.

 

I offer a personalised service. I'm happy to visit you at home, measure up the piece of furniture, help with the selection of a top cover fabric and braids and give you an inclusive quotation for the work.

© 2014 Sue Mayes.