The first day

So I’m here, we flew down to Truro on Friday night and had a weekend exploring the area before I started my course this morning.

With a little bit of that ‘first day of school’ trepidation, I arrived at Tresithick at 9am with my sandwiches and a massive plank of wood. Richard, Sonja and Nadine very quickly settled me in (it was great to see them again) and I was introduced to the other students here this week. Most students this week are ahead of me in terms of their learning, and 5 out of the 7 people are completing the AMUSF qualification. This of course is great for me because it means I get to see a real variety of projects and listen in on the help and advice given at a more advanced level as the week progresses.

Attention then turned to my project, which ultimately will be the top of a huge coffee table style, deep buttoned footstool. In planning for this week it was important that I had a project that would keep me occupied for 5 days and my discussions with Sonja prior to arriving seemed to suggest that a small deep buttoning project might not fill the week. So I decided to up the scale a little, well, a lot. There were a few raised eyebrows as I started to discuss my plans for a footstool measuring almost 1m square, especially from those who have completed similar exercises in the past – but hey, I wanted to get my money’s worth this week and Richard seems full of confidence that I can do it and that’s good enough for me! At this stage, as I have no idea what processes lie ahead I feel pretty confident too (famous last words?)

As with my previous posts and for those that are interested in the detail, here’s what I’ve done today….

Deep buttoning is really quite mathematical, if you don’t set your button positions accurately at every stage, you’ll end up with a piece that looks uneven and messy, so accuracy is the key. We started by marking the position of the buttons on my ply board and drilling holes so that the various layers and ultimately the buttons can be pulled through and secured. I’m looking at 28 buttons in this footstool (I’m told I’ll be sick of buttons by the time I’m done!!)


With that done we started to build up the pad and the first layer is rubberised hair. I’ve not worked with this before, it’s hair coated in a rubberised solution and set as a pad. It gives an even shape and consistency, can be cut with scissors and is great as a first stuffing for my footstool. This is attached to the edge of the board with staples to give a rounded profile and with the hole positions marked out, I cut crosses in the pad so that the buttons can be seated later on.


Then it was on to more padding, this time 2 layers of cotton felt, each one having the hole positions cleared as it was added. This was pretty time consuming, but you can already see the shape starting to form.



Finally for today, a layer of polyester padding that will prevent the cotton breaking up when the first layer of material is added tomorrow.


I really don’t know where the time goes when I’m here, days absolutely fly past. Tomorrow the pad will really start to take on that deep buttoned look as I add a calico cover (already marked with mathematical accuracy!) but this is also where the work starts to become more detailed in ensuring the width and depth of each pleat is just-so.

I’m having a brilliant time as I knew I would and I can’t wait to show you tomorrow’s progress!


3 thoughts on “The first day

  1. Fantastically exciting Mr S. You have inspired me to want to go away to learn something! cant wait to see the result!

  2. Not quite a yatch but on a grand scale for a footstool! looks amazing and I can see you are having the time of your life so enjoy it all and I am looking forward to seeing the finished product

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