About Ray Clarke
There’s nothing like the feeling that you’ve brought something beautiful from the past back to life.
– Ray Clarke
Originally trained in menswear fashion and printed textile design, after graduation I started working within the fashion industry in retail however I struggled to get into a design-related position so leaving retail behind, I started my own clothing label based on leisure/Cyclewear. The result of which of which left me feeling seriously disillusioned with fashion as well as in serious debt.
From that low point, a friend I met through a period of cycle couriering, gave me the opportunity to restore a pair of office chairs for her home.
Relying on my previous experience and training in design, I took on recovering the chairs, realising I absolutely loved the ability to reimagine and recreate furniture, thus the idea of re-directing my skills and re-training in upholstery and soft furnishings was born.
I enrolled at London Metropolitan university and after 3 enjoyable years and graduation, I took work experience for a number of different established upholstery companies, I set up my first workshop from a tiny 1 bedroom flat; with just my industrial sewing machine, a few upholstery tools and a determined mind buzzing with possibilities!
For me, design, production, and creative flair are bound to a commitment to durability, quality and high standards of quality.
In 2009 I moved into my first dedicated workshop space, a subsidised shipping container studio offered to me through Bow Arts Trust.
The first few years were hard, exciting, frustrating, stressful, exhilarating and wonderful all the same time. A later move to a larger workspace in 2015 continues to help me accomplish some beautiful furniture pieces which further explore my art through this craft. My work has been featured on Television shows like BBC1’s “Money For Nothing” and Channel 4 shows “George Clarkes Old House New Home” and “Kevin McClouds Supersized Challenge”, as well as featured in National Newspapers and Magazines The Sunday Times Supplement and British Vogue respectively. I currently feature in Season 5 of “Salvagehunters: The Restorers” which airs on Quest TV/ Discovery+
It is my long-held wish and an honour to recently become a full member of the Association of Master Upholsterers & Soft Furnishers. (AMUSF)My next aim is to establish a small team to help me co-create more wonderful statement pieces, printed textiles and soft furnishings for your home or business ever.