Tag: Fabric

More Monkey Madness: Transforming a Wingback Chair

Before:

This wingback chair was originally donated to me by my good friend, super talented artist and fellow meditator Raksha Patel, which was found discarded on the site of Raksha’s old studio many years ago, at a time when she and a group of her fellow artist friends had to leave a block of studios they used in west London which were being converted into luxury apartments.

For a while there it took pride of place in my living room, giving me a place to sit after many long hours at the workbench. Although it arrived grubby and unloved, I knew If I held onto it long enough , eventually I would find the time to reupholster it.

Thanks to (repeated) episodes of Money for Nothing, a fan of the BBC show got in touch,  requesting a wingback chair to be recovered in my Monkey print, which they had seen on the show. I had other donor chairs but the shapes were not suitable so in the end I offered them the chair. Although I was alittle sad to see it go, I couldnt miss this perfect opportunity to transform the piece and, in my own fabric design.

The ” Rip down” process revealed a really shoddy build quality and a shocking use of really low grade upholstery materials, ripping out cardboard and plastic webbing , which I had ripped out and replaced with Strong elastic webbing , 120z hessian and rubberised hair behind, and to bolster the existing foams used to create the arm shapes. I went on to protect the existing foams in the back and seat suspensions, though the additional use of 12oz Hessian and Polyester Skin wadding, which was completely missing in the original chairs manufacture.

 

 

After:

Refurbished and transformed, the old chair did take a little longer to complete than I had originally hoped. However it was finally looking resplendant in my own signature Monkey print on moleskin Velvet, trimmed with Zoffany Velvet and complimented with Sanderson Brianza . With the new Beech wood Queen anne legs , customised in my own spirit-based grey woodstain.

 

My Many thanks go out to Stacey Lewis, a fellow upholsterer, who came in to assist me in getting this ready, as well as helping me work through many projects in my workshop (reducing my backlog). I also want to say a special thank you to Anna Frisch for her assistance , Heritage Upholstery Supplies for helping me source the new legs. I also wish to thank Anyvan.com for the swift, safe and affordable courier delivery up to Dunstable. My Customer had originally commisioned the piece for her sister, who  upon seeing it, said

“It was better than she thought,  loves the fabric used and was over the moon!”

 

 

Money for Nothing Project 3 “Galactic Octopus”© 2016 Dining room chairs

Ladies & Gentleman, may I introduce my second fabric design: “Galactic Octopus”©2016 .(No filter needed!)

This design is hopefully featuring in a new series of @monfornothing with the irrepressible @sarahmoorestuff , soon to appear on BBC TV (I’ll let you folks know in good time)

Many thanks to @rowenamurphyupholstery@digetex and @sparrow_tweets@minx_creative and my dear @jinksy70their amazing input and support.


Stay tuned folks as I’ll update this blog as I know more about the programme release dates ..  #moneyfornothing#Galacticoctopusfabric

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A Fully Restored & Rocking Parker Knoll…

Before:

There was a time earlier this year when I found myself feeling blocked and overwhelmed  with the amount of projects I had taken on and I needed some help and business advice on how to manage the multiple projects I had taken on .
I sought help and advice through The AMUSF (Association of Master Upholsterers & Soft Furnishers) and I also looked at the Opportunity website, which linked me up to a Business counsellor, Dr Wayne Wright. and I took on a few assistants who helped me get my workload down to more manageable levels while at the same time helping me to increase my productivity.

Wayne entered my studio and immediately went to work setting me up with project management systems and helped me streamline my production of estimates and invoices.  As cashflow was really tight in return for his counselling and advice I offered to restore a chair for him in return for his help.

After:

It took little while as I had to get through a number of outstanding projects since the move to a new studio space, and it took a while to confirm a suitable fabric with my client, However with the fantastic help of Rowena Murphy, a recent graduate from Shoreditch Design Rooms and Anna F, we managed to get through a number of upholstery projects as well as turn out this fully restored piece just in time for Xmas eve, now recovered in  a smart woven wool from Eleanor Pritchard Studio (many thanks for taking my late order with a lightening quick turnaround!)

My thanks and congratulations for superb attention to detail (particularly the wood finishing) by Rowena.

I think my client was happy as he gave me a lovely bottle of Prosecco which , at the end of a particularly busy month (and a phenomenal year) ,which was enjoyed in timely fashion!

BBC1 Money for Nothing Project 1: My monkey madness transformed this mid-century modern armchair

Hopefully if you’ve been practising upholstery and soft furnishings and successfully completing lots of good work for a fair amount of time eventually you will come across a project which not only lights your fire but opens up all kinds of possibilities that you previously either hadn’t considered or hadn’t had the chance to do.

In January this year , I was given just that sort of opportunity; to not only provide upholstery, but given (almost) free reign to explore (and hopefully exceed) any limits of my creative expression.

Enter Friel-Kean Films, producers of the BBC TV SHOW “Money For Nothing” , ever growing its audience base, it is becoming one of the most popular shows on the BBC.

For those who have not seen it click on the link Here :

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The premise of the show is simple:

Presenter, upcycler, entrepreneur and furniture and antiques enthusiast Sarah Moore goes up and down this green and pleasant land saving industrial and household waste thrown away at refuse and recycling centres by the general public, who don’t see the potential and value in the things that they throw away, like some sort of frenzied furniture Womble” (older readers may get the reference).

Then in each episode Sarah gives items she’s found to featured artisans and craftspeople, paying them to transform the items into hopefully beautiful, desirable, functional, saleable finished pieces.

Sarah then takes the items and resells them , hopefully at a profit, with which she then visits the previous owners of theitems, handing them cash to surprised and sometimes bemused faces, at the end of each successful project, hopefully demonstrating that in the right hands, It is quite possible to turn trash into cash.

I was recommended to the producers of the show by Amy Cawson of ” Florrie & Bill” fame , and by the irrepressible Jay Blades, of Jay & Co

(Thanks for that you lovely people!)

 Sarah arrived at my studio with 3 different projects. one of which I had to turn away due to the timescales involved. The first project I was itching to have a crack at was this Mid-20th century modern armchair I surmised from the materials used and its construction. Despite no clear manufacturers stamp I felt it had a lot of character.

Antique winged armchair MFN BBCTV

AfterThe Monkey ChairThroughout the 10 years+ I have practised upholstery and soft furnishings, I always harboured the ambition to design and produce my own furnishing fabrics.
This particular project gave me the impetus to finally bring (and update) my previous experiences in printed textile design back into my current creative expression through upholstery and soft furnishings.

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It was a magical day when I finally received my first digitally printed roll of fabric. I have been very fortunate to have been able to get access to and usefurnishing fabrics from some of the greatest companies in Europe and from around the world.

Nothing beats being able to produce your own designs, and then getting the ability to apply your fabric or design to a piece or pieces of furniture,

which, although the chair didn’t sell in time for the 1st airing of that episode, literally sold the very next day after it aired, to a lovely family who saw the show and my work, not only buying the chair but also a set of bespoke scatter cushions to compliment.

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This experience continues to inspire me to not only come up with more designs but educates me in the process of marketing and selling the fabric,which for me is a continuous learning process.

Monkey Chair by Ray Clarke for BBC Money for Nothing

 

 

Back of Monkey chair

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Like all shows, there have been some critics. Feedback I’ve read on social media about some of the items made on and for the show have focussed on the prices mentioned as not being a true reflection of the type of work involved, or comments on the look and quality of finish of some items. To those critics I say, it’s a TV show which in my experience has been mostly, and I hope continues to be, extremely positive.

Just doing this type of work gets great exposure. Plus the number and types of enquiries it generates, even though at times it may feel overwhelming (you have to fit it into what you’ve got currently on and around the workbench), well, that’s priceless.

If you are an upholsterer or designer-maker who loves what they do, when an opportunity like this comes to you, well, you’ve got to go for it!!

My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone I roped into helping me complete this particular project: Anna Frisch, Joanna Maeva,  all the production team at Friel Kean Films, The Cloth Shop, my upholstery warehousemen/suppliers, Wendy Shorter, Louise at Shoreditch Design Rooms, my dearest Louise Jinks, Nina, Jan Etoile and all my dear friends who consoled, counselled and fed me tea, biscuits, words of encouragement and support along the way.

Atelier Ray Clarke Ltd T/A Ray Clarke Upholstery & Design Company registration number :12018355