It’s taken a couple of weeks, but I’ve finished my first two projects. I’ve really enjoyed this and I’ve learned so much, it doesn’t stop me from feeling frustrated about the imperfections, but I do also need to remember that at this stage I’m self taught! I’ve built up a whole host of questions for my tutor in August so he’d better be ready. By way of a quick update I’ve included some pictures of the completed chairs.
The first project was one of the simple drop-in-seat dining chairs I purchased from an Ebay auction, now with a webbed, horse hair stuffed pad, covered in ‘Kensal Rising’ from St Jude’s Fabrics……
The second project is the ‘pin stuffed pad’ carver, rescued from my parents’ loft – this has been the more challenging project. Now re-upholstered in ‘Bird Garden’ from St Jude’s Fabrics……
It’s almost February and I still have the same enthusiasm (if not more) for learning my new skill as I did when I started this blog. That’s got to be a good sign? I’ve been taking a number of steps in the last weeks:
I was advised to start working on a simple ‘drop in seat’ chair to get to grips with the basic skills, and I’ve bough 4 from Ebay this week for £30. However, I’ve been itching to start a project so the ‘pin stuffed pad’ carver (check me out knowing all the right terms) has been stripped stage by stage and photographed as I went along. At this point in time I’m feeling full of confidence and want to tackle this one first – I suppose there’s not much that I can do that can’t be rectified if it turns out my skills aren’t up to it yet?
Stripping the chair left me with a bit of a dilemma. I don’t know a huge amount about the chair, it was given to me by my parents from their loft where it has sat for 20+ years complete with sagging seat, broken webbing and permanent marker artistry courtesy of a 3 year old me. It was given to my parents by my late Grandfather who had acquired it from his place of work and then stained, varnished and re-upholstered it himself. He was an incredibly skilled man who would turn his hand to anything, and I must admit I felt a huge sense of pride in rejuvenating this piece as he did in the 50’s or 60’s. With the coverings removed I set about sanding the varnish and stain with a view to painting the chair black. I imagined this would highlight the silhouette of the chair and set off a contemporary covering, but I soon started to feel really guilty as i looked at the quality and pattern of the wood, feareing that a coat of paint would do it a great disservice. I have to admit that I was also a bit scared that it could be valuable and I was about to drench it in Dulux! So, I’ve decided to leave it as is, sanded, worn and honest.
Great Fabric Supplier
I was getting worried. I’ve been struggling to find a fabric supplier or brand that inspires me and thought I may be destined to do my best with High Street contemporary, until I got a great lead – a new friend mentioned a company called St. Jude’s Fabrics who work with artists to produce really exciting fabric in upholstery grades. I’ve received some samples this week and I’ll be using Mark Herald’s ‘Bird Garden’ in charcoal for the carver.
A Moment of Distraction
I’ve been going to the local auction every week, but as yet haven’t found any project chairs. I did however make a successful bid on a huge pair of antique mounted antlers! I’ve no idea where they will go but knowing how on-trend antlers and taxidermy have been of late in interiors I couldn’t resist. I know I’m looking for upholstery to be a career move, but there’s a risk it could cost me more than I’ll ever make.