This completely bespoke made-from-scratch ottoman stool went out to an etsy enthusiast covered in a selection of african wax block patchwork scraps donated with many thanks from YouMeWe blended with a selection of luxurious european furnishing fabrics , which has now found a home in Ipswich. If you’d like to own any of these pieces to brighten up your home or workspace, check out my etsy page ( https://www.etsy.com/shop/RayClarkeUpholstery) or send me an email with your preferences
Since producing the first of these a few years ago these custom African Waxblock technicolour patchwork Ottoman stools are becoming steadily very popular. I produced the latest one of these in July this year for a fan who saw my work on Facebook. Paying in instalments, I got little nervous and concerned when I couldn’t contact her as she had simply “Vanished” off the internet and hadn’t responded to my phone/text messages or emails!..I was delighted and surprised when one fine day in August my customer just randomly wandered into my workshop with her final deposit, explaining that she had become a victim of online fraud and hacking and had to wipe all presence of herself off the net! At that point I had almost finished the stool , needing a base cloth and custom feet attached (hence the lack thereof in the photo below)Upon finishing I delivered the stool to her parents’ address ,who were surprised and delighted that such a colourful piece had come to stay.
This Mid-20th century modern piece was given to me back in 2010 by super talented artist, print & textiles designer and all round lovely lady Hannah Edy.
Although it was very much the worse for wear I faithfully kept it in storage thinking “That’ll be a great chair again someday..”
The opportunity to transform this piece came just after Xmas 2014, when a lovely couple contacted me from Mill Hill, NW7 and then made a few journeys’ down to my studio to chat with me about a piece they had previously seen online of my first attempt, a tub chair, at an waxblock patchwork print from a collaboration with Chantal Koning YouMeWe .
The process of transforming and updating this piece was a totally different challenge from my first version.
..A chair can take 8 hours or, in this case 40+ . It depends on your customers budget & ultimately how much love and care you wish to put into its re-upholstery.
This chair alone involves 74 carefully selected , cut, made compliant and stitched panels.
With new fillings of new rubberised hair and foams replaced the hopelessly deteriorated & crumbly foams. A brand new serpentine spring suspension system, all lashed together(so the springs move in unison)upgraded and replaced the broken dried out Pirelli webbing which was originally stapled to the frame . The buttons are Nobilis Velvet, along with the fabrics, were chosen specifically and carefully between myself and the customer with all fabrics made compliant to the Health,Safety & Fire Regs (1988) through the use of a flame retardant barriercloth.
The Ottoman stools were built from scratch, along with a pair of duck,n,down feather-filled Scatter cushions
My deep thanks go out to Anna who assisted in the rip-down and was a great help for me to bounce off fabric selection ideas, Chantal Koning of YouMeWe for fabric inspiration and sourcing
and to Rick Holland & Katie Pomklova for their patience and input while I put together this work for them.
I was asked by my customer to take this B&B Italia Italia “Charles” Bench , reduce it’s height by 1″and then deep-button (or “tuft” if you are reading this in the US) in a Sanderson Taormina velvet replacing the tired,
cat scratched and shrunk-in the-wash look of its original cover.
“Looks simple enough a task to me” you might say, until you realise upon removing the cover what is going on underneath; that the whole frame is made from
steel tubing and the high density foam sits directly on a bed of super strength jumbo elastic 3″ webbing.
Of the various ways that could secure the buttoning (sorry, saying “tufting” just doesn’t work for me!), I wanted to use a system that I felt would have the most inflexibility, by which I mean that over time, the pleats wouldn’t be tempted to move around over the foam and elasticated base, while still retaining the look and finish that would still respect the overall original design for Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia by Antonio Citterio
Processes I employed involved getting the whole foam cut down on a giant foam cutting bandsaw, removing the foam entirely from the frame, applying 120z hessian to the base of the foams, removing rubber strips from the tubular steel frame and introducing cut hardwood patterns to provide a tackable surface to secure the buttoning cord and cutting, and fitting extra wood strips as well as applying 1″ extra foam and sundries around the base of the bench which helped to “fill” the gap left between the legs and the base of the bench left from fitting the new cover.
As well as successfully “Van-Dyking” the Velvet as the overall bench width was wider then then width of the roll when taking into consideration the direction of the pile
This is my younger brother Rodney Clarke.
Like me and our father before us, He’s not afraid of a bit of hard graft and he’s also pretty handy (check out the Pioneer Skatepark he and his mates have built and rebuilt over the years)
Over Xmas and new year he, like me, worked his nuts off, as he was commissioned to design and build 6 cabinets (like the one he’s posing with below)with drawers, along with a load of other display stands, using reclaimed wood, for the “Ottoman Hands” Jewellery exhibition which took place from the 10th -12th January .
The cabinets were designed by Rod to be completely modular, breaking down into transportable flat packs to be reassembled at the exhibition.
It was my pleasure and honour working with my brother and being involved the construction of each drawer base.
75 in all had a padded bases, covered in calico for The Ottoman Hands jewellery stand at Earls Court.
Well done bruv! Great working with you. I look forward to our next collaboration!
Atelier Ray Clarke Ltd T/A Ray Clarke Upholstery & Design Company registration number :12018355
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