Our passion is creative upholstery

 

Bristol Upholstery Collective is a Design & Upholstery Studio welcoming all to share in our collective passion for creative upholstery.

 

We believe in enjoying quality hand made processes and educating the value of sustainable Herritage Craft Skills.

 We are traditional upholsterers, approved by the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers highly qualified and experienced, We all love the opportunities our upholstery practice brings and sharing our skills, introducing a new approach to the world of creative upholstery.

 

We utilise our expert skills, industry knowledge and contemporary design to produce high end quality upholstery and training opportunities.

Our upholstery services include Artist Collaborations, designing and creating product ranges for Surface Pattern Designers, Embroidery Artists, Textile Designers, Painters, Interior Designers and commercial furniture designers.

We feel consumers need meaningful relationships with their possessions and so support the concept of 'New Materialism', promoting investment into products that are high quality, hand made locally, encouraging community resilience and making items that can be restored and maintained to last a life time.

We enjoy our creative, supportive and efficient work space and school within a network of others who truly appreciate and love the upholstery practice, creating unique, environmentally friendly, statement products and interiors.

 

Meet the Team...

What’s your role in Bristol Upholstery Collective?

As Founder & Creative Director of Bristol Upholstery Collective, my role is to keep the company vision in sight, developing a successful team, initiating new and exciting ideas, networking accordingly, designing, collaborations, doing all of the ‘invisible stuff’ behind the scenes that a company requires, and of course, I teach the odd Upholstery Master Class. I’m a bit like the stuffing that you are unaware of whilst sitting comfortably - working hard, holding the weight, and bouncing around where I need to.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about creative enterprise, with a keen focus on Heritage                      Craft and Well-Being. As a fellow of The School For Social Entrepreneurs, I                          have created Bristol Upholstery Collective as a Limited Company with key social            values at its' core. I love Bristols' creative energy and like to support the Arts in                        all its' wonderful forms. Ours specifically being chairs. 

How did you get into upholstery?

After graduating with a Fine Art degree from Bristol UWE, I worked as a Community Artist and helped run The Old Duke Jazz Pub on Kings St. My wellbeing required a new skill to be introduced to my world and originally wanted to study Millinery. Having ripped off the seating fabric in the pub and ‘having a go’, I realised that there were tricks to upholstery and so I signed up to an upholstery course and the rest is history!

 

What's your favourite upholstery technique/process?

I especially enjoy a creative upholstery challenge these days and so my favourite projects to work on are those for BBC One Show ‘Money For Nothing’. We’ve been filming with them for 3 years and it never gets boring. The process challenges me to be inventive, brave, intuitive, unique and a little bit wild.

 

When not in the workshop where are you?

When I’m not working I tend to be sat on my swing overlooking the duck pond, day dreaming of our next upholstery adventures.

Leigh-Anne
Ali

What’s your role in Bristol Upholstery Collective?

My role as Business Manager is very much about supporting Leigh-Anne and the team. I cover everything from developing our vision and values to making sure we are legal and equitable. Put simply, if Leigh-Anne is bouncing up and down on the stuffing, I need to             make sure the framework is strong enough to stop her falling through. Having escaped            the hectic world of Corporate Business, it is refreshing to be around this wonderful                         creative environment.

What is it about upholstery that you are most passionate about?

   Being a passionate green woodworker I love the surprise every time I pick         up my axe and split a log in half. The grain pattern, the colours and the                feel of the bark are truly magical and it’s different every time.

         It is similar with fabrics; I love to stretch a piece of natural material like                felt or wool over a piece of furniture I’ve made, maybe with a pop of                   colour.  The effect is not only extremely tactile but the vision is nature in             harmony.

          How did you get into upholstery?

         A few years ago I signed up to one of Leigh-Anne’s courses at                           Dartington. I loved her attitude and motivation around the creative                    process, not just the actual upholstery itself but the whole journey. I have        to admit I was surprised at what I achieved over one weekend, you should      try it!

                       What’s your favourite upholstery technique/process?       

                I love nailing in tacks of all different shapes, sizes and colours. Lining them up                    neatly before reaching for the hammer gives me a real buzz. I think it must be the geeky woodworker in me. The rest of the team find it amusing that I try to avoid sewing at any cost.

When not in the workshop what are you doing?

Swimming in the sea with my flatcoat retriever, foraging for homeless pieces of wood that need rescuing, getting lost in my vegetable garden and pleading with my chickens to lay just one more egg so that I can make an omelet for breakfast. 

What is it about upholstery that you are most passionate about?

In this trade we have a chance to fight back against the throwaway culture that we find ourselves in. It gives me joy to restore a piece of furniture that may have otherwise ended up in landfill.  I love the history behind the chairs that we upholster and how we can keep these stories going. I really love utilising natural materials and producing something that you know will last for decades.

How did you get into upholstery?

It all started when I attended an evening class run by Leigh Anne.

My first project was a rocking chair with a drop in seat and back that I had

grown up with as a child. I almost instantly fell in love with the processes; from

the woodwork through to choosing a beautiful fabric. I kept booking on to the classes.

I then made the decision to have a career change from teaching and studied for my professional qualification the AMUSF diploma. It turned out to be a great decision as I now get to teach and upholster.

 

Whats your favourite upholstery technique/process?

I'd say that I do love stitching an edge roll. Seeing and feeling the shape emerge. Upholstery is both tactile and visual and that is really satisfying.

 

When not in the workshop where are you?

Hopefully swimming in a lake or hanging out with my boys. Most likely cheering them on playing football or rugby!

Harriet

What’s your role in Bristol Upholstery Collective?

I co-ordinate, plan the scheme of work and teach the AMSUF courses. Sharing

my knowledge and helping people develop their own skills through my

teaching.

What is it about upholstery that you are most passionate about?

I remember the first chair I stripped down and the buzz I got from unlocking it’s past. You never know what you’re going to get. Whether its a lustrous brocatelle or a 60s nylon               floral pattern. Each layer helps to build a narrative, which allows you to connect to the               people, place, fashion and culture.

Tom

How did you get into upholstery?

In my previous life, as a northerner, I was an artist and art lecturer.  When I moved to Bristol I enrolled in a 6wk upholstery course, at Bristol upholstery Collective hoping to learn a new skill and make some friends.  After the first session I was hooked, spending all my spare time tearing old chairs apart and trying my best to put them back together again. After a year or so I took the plunge, handed in my notice and became a full-time upholsterer.

I have learnt so much from deconstruction chairs and seeing how upholsterers of       the past have applied their expertise. I am passionate about the legacy of the              upholsterer and understand the craft.

                                   What’s your favourite upholstery technique/process?

                              Definitely not removing staples! It has to be stitching the first stuffing.  Its                                    that point when the chair starts to take its form. Its such a physical process, but                         has to be delivered with milometer precision. I tend to obsess about this part.

 

              When not in the workshop what are you doing?

   Exploring the South west and all its fabulous charity shops! Probably working on my own upholstery project, I told you, I’m hooked!

What’s your role in Bristol Upholstery Collective?

I am a Creative Upholster and tutor. Both roles go hand in hand, feeding into one another, inspiring both collaboration and learning.

Bethie

What’s your role in Bristol Upholstery Collective?

As a creative company, it is always important to have someone overseeing the day to

day running of the business and to greet people as they walk through the door. I

wear many hats - customer service, back of house organisation and making sure

everyone has what they need for classes, projects and keeping on top of

communication.

What is it about upholstery that you are most passionate about?

New Life. Seeing new life given to a piece of furniture that needed some love

and attention or being given a new identity by being transformed into                              something other than its original used.

How did you get into upholstery?

I was introduced into the upholstery world when I met Leigh-Anne through 

sharing a studio with her, I would hang around the classroom watching,                          learning and joining when time allowed. As a fabric designer I have a fascination                      for most crafts and absorb knowledge wherever possible.

What's your favourite upholstery technique/process?

I go through phases but making buttons is very addictive! Also sewing edges with a curved needle is extremely therapeutic.

When not in the workshop where are you?

Designing fabric patterns in my studio, renovating my house with my husband, enjoying food and meeting new people. Food and creative networking are two of my biggest passions. Oh and laughing!

© 2019  Bristol Upholstery Collective

Ltd Co. No. 11051361