Growth Spurt

Back in January I received a delivery of materials in preparation for the striped velvet project that was due for completion in March. Nothing unusual about that, in fact it was all very straight forward, but it did highlight something that I’ve been increasingly aware of – a distinct lack of space.

This particular delivery included 3 rolls of foam, and these are no small rolls. Each one when standing measures just over 6 feet and they’re pretty wide and heavy too. There was no room for them in the workshop (not if I wanted to be in there too) and the garage was already packed to the gunnels…. so that left the spare bedroom. It was like having 3 large house guests. I then needed to measure and cut my fabric. 11m of velvet can be pretty unwieldy in a tight space and trying to manoeuvre it in my little workshop was out of the question. That left the living room floor or the dining room table. I plumped for the latter. Velvet when cut tends to shed little bits of the cut pile; these stick to everything – clothes, carpets, cats…… and will merrily travel around the house. Needless to say, my presence as an upholsterer was being felt.

You may notice that the backdrop of my progress shots is increasingly messy!
You may notice that the backdrop of my progress shots is increasingly messy!

I really love my little workshop, but the time had come to think big. As luck would have it, an opportunity to share a large studio with a couple of my friends came about at roughly the same time. Dean, a painter and Nikki who has her own Fair Trade toy business, were looking for a studio buddy or two to occupy the space with them. This Friday I’ll be packing up my shed and moving to Titan Studios, a large Victorian industrial building on the edge of the canal in Stourbridge. I won’t be the only newbie either as Liz, a jewellery designer, will be joining us too.

It’s safe to say I’ll miss the ability to work at home, but this will be replaced with an environment that’s creative and stimulating – the opportunity to be with other creative people is really exciting and I also think there’s something in ‘going to work’ that can add a bit of focus. I’m really looking forward to having a little elbow room and keeping our home tidy too – I just hope that my hammering doesn’t drive my studio buddies mad!

This weekend, hot on the heels of his presence at ART 14 in London and The Affordable Art Fair in New York, Dean is holding an open studio weekend. I’ll be looking productive in the corner in the hope that a few of these art lovers might also need a bit of upholstery!

Why not come along?
Why not come along?

Of course, studio space is one thing, but how do you move all of your stuff from one place to another? When the velvet striped job was completed, it was a little like the Krypton Factor trying to squeeze all of the components into my car without damage. At the moment the size of project I can tackle is limited by the size of project I can fit in my small hatchback, either that or I have to pay for vehicle hire. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a retro-car nut, so contemplating the sale of my current pride and joy is tough (I balance it out with the excitement of choosing something new!) but it was time to upgrade to the upholstery-mobile.

The search was on! It had to be a car (not a van) as I need the versatility of 5 seats, and it had to be roomy enough for multiple chairs or even a small sofa, oh, and it had to be a bit of a classic (classic = old and cheap!!). So naturally the perfect choice was an old Volvo. Yes, I’m a Volvo owner. I’ve ordered a flat cap and a tartan rug.

I feel like an antique dealer in this
I feel like an antique dealer in this






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