It always surprises me that I feel a bit nervous on days like this. Despite the fact that I have had the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences at Tresithick over the last couple of years, I seem to get that first day of school feeling creeping back in! Of course there was no need to worry, as ever Richard, Sonja, Nadine and Bella the dog were all pleased to see me and keen to start talking about my chosen project for this week, the ’10 please Fred’ chair as I’ve fondly come to know it.
As Richard and I start to talk through the plans, I get a good sense of what I’m going to learn this week – using foams rather than loose stuffings, working with staples rather than tacks and it would seem that I’ll be spending a fair amount of time at the sewing machine too.
My chair is confirmed to be sturdy enough to start work straight away (no frame repairs needed), in fact, Richard seemed confident that with so much chipboard my chair might easily withstand a nuclear explosion.
So today has been all about the chair back and getting to grips with that lovely curve. Now, while the curve is aesthetically beautiful, it does throw you a few problems when it comes to upholstery. Normally, when you attach fabric to a flat chair back, you’ll gradually pull it taught and tack it in place in the centre of each side and work out toward the corners all the way around – thing with this curve is that if you pull the fabric horizontally across the curve, you’ll pull it flat and the curve will vanish. So, webbing goes vertically only (so that horizontal webbing doesn’t ruin the curve) and all fabrics after that are secured top and bottom first to create the tension against the curve, then secured horizontally to smooth out any creases. Still with me? These photos show what I’ve achieved today….
Tomorrow I’ll be adding the final fabric to what I’ve achieved today and then moving on to the seat. Working with foam has been interesting, and as ever Richard has given me plenty to think about when it comes to achieving a professional finish, including some timely advice on cutting around the frame after my calico trimming skills went a little awry!
So what of my fellow colleagues this week? Well, of the 7 students 5 are working toward qualifications – and 2 of us are doing our own thing. Olivia working beside me had a bit of a disaster today when the leg snapped off her (almost completed) antique chair! Richard to the rescue and it was back on in no time! Rob is working on a piece for assessment and has the most wonderful fabric with a hunt scene, I’ll make sure I get some photos. A real treat today was seeing Dawn, one of the students from my very first week in 2011 and hearing about all the things she’s been working on – including the Parker Knoll armchair she has with her that’s giving me a great reference point for my own wing-back at home.
Anyway, that’s my little diary entry for today – Darren’s been hiking along the coast and is now making pasties for our dinner. When in Cornwall ………