I always wanted to do something creative with my hands, so when I wanted to change my career I looked at many crafts.
To cut a long story short, after trying a part time course, I knew I wanted to learn more as I enjoyed every step of the process of upholstery.
In the beginning I didn’t have an end goal, I just wanted to learn more about upholstery, gain skills and see where that led me.
I chose Oxford School of Upholstery because I wanted to learn full time, Monday to Friday, non-stop. I liked the immersive approach but also I liked that I could enrol anytime of the year and the flexibility. However, most of all, I had a very good feeling about them from Rachel’s reply to my enquiry which I had sent from Japan.
I came a long way from Japan and although I’d had good communication with Rachel I didn’t really know what to expect but everyone was really friendly, very helpful and there was always a good spirit in the workshop. I loved being there and I was absolutely hooked by upholstery, the atmosphere of the school, the people I came across. That’s why I kept coming back to learn!
I found it very unique, creative and international environment.
Not to mention there were people from all over the UK, there were also students from Africa, from France, Thailand and I was the student from the furthest but soon there was someone from Canada, America and Australia as well!!
The quality of the teaching was very good, I learned so much. Especially I learned from skilled, experienced upholsterers. Each of them had their different skills & techniques which I could obtain.
I learnt traditional/modern, English/French upholstery techniques, as well as a life time experience but I didn’t stop with upholstery I also learned how to make hand sewn and drum lampshades soft furnishings and curtaining there.
As I learned more about upholstery I gained confidence and my ambitions grew. All chairs and sofas are different. There’s always something new to learn. I just wanted to learn more and more and I really wished I could work for the company.
My dream came true! I joined the workshop as a team member in 2012 and worked with them for about 4 years gaining experience.
Now I run my own upholstery/soft furnishing business in Cumbria. I couldn’t have imagined how my life would be changed by upholstery…
For me, one of the little delights in traditional upholstery is the knowledge you are using hand tools which have remained almost unchanged over the centuries. Fashioned in another era, I like their bygone charm. Of course, they’re unchanged because they do the job perfectly.
There is an essential list of tools that allow the upholsterer to practise their trade and they all fit into a small tool bag. With this bag in hand it’s possible to undertake the vast majority of upholstery jobs, from a minor repair to the full scale restoration of a large Victorian sofa.
There can be few other trades that allow so much to be done with so few tools. Less than a couple of hundred pounds will set you on a creative journey of discovery, occasional frustration but always a satisfying sense of achievement as well as pride when all your friends and family admire your work.
Over the next few weeks we’ll post a series of brief videos and descriptions of each of the tools and their uses.
Always buy the best tools you can afford, they are an investment, but they will pay you back many times over. With good care most will last you a lifetime.
Get yourself a decent tool bag and start collecting!