Upholstery with Garry is so much more that the term ‘upholstery’ might immediately suggest. This is as much as course on furniture restoration as it is on upholstery. Garry is an exacting taskmaster - but in the easy going workshop filled
with an eclectic mix of people, this is in no way onerous.
I started with a ‘four day course’ which was an excellent way to begin - as it allowed me to really get started on ‘my’ chair. However, forget any
ideas of ‘upholstery’ for the first few sessions, it is all about ‘down-holstery’. The chair must be stripped back to bare wood, ready for the process of re-creation. This involves first removing the base webbing and springs, then the
existing fabric - including the tacks and/or staples originally fixing the fabric. How long that takes depends upon how difficult this is - I spent 26 hours in the workshop ‘down-holstering’ before reconstruction could begin, and 12 hours later
I am still repairing the frame. However, as wood work is something I have never done (Garry even had to show me how to use a saw properly) I felt I was learning new skills practically every hour.
As a rookie, it was great
to see how other projects were going - and to see them progress too. There is a chair somewhere in the workshop at pretty much every stage of the process. Sessions can be booked as you go along, giving great flexibility for those with busy lives. Students
come from all over the country, and from all walks of life, making for interesting chat in the workshop - although the sound of hammering and the concentration required for quite a lot of what you do, tends to limit constant chatter. Garry moves around the
workshop checking on how you are doing, offering a word of advice or a demonstration of a practical skill. It is very laid back, but the finished products are of very high quality, as a result of Garry’s experience and insistence on ‘perfect’.
Most students are doing projects for themselves, but such is the standard of work produced, others plan to sell their finished pieces.
I would highly recommend this Upholstery experience to anyone that is interested in really
getting to grips with the whole process of traditional furniture making. You need to be in for the long game, but can be reassured that the process will be much enjoyed, together with offering the opportunity to learn new skills at every turn.