A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a workshop held by the much liked and respected Out of the Dark, a charitable social enterprise that recycles, revamps and restores salvaged furniture as a means to employ, educate and train young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A small group of us, made up of bloggers and designers, gathered at Pitfield London ready to be taught how to reupholster a chair that will be auctioned at The May Design Series and hopefully raise lots of money. The highest bid for each chair will then be doubled, thanks to the generosity of The May Design Series, and all proceeds will go to Out of the Dark and further contribute to the great work they do with young people. Simple so far…
Meet Jay, below left, teacher extraordinaire and part of the founder duo of Out of the Dark. Below right we have Yasir, his right hand man and charming assistant for the evening.
We were each given a chair and send on our way! No, not really. The fun was just beginning. Jay explained the art of upholstery and our task was to each upholster a seat.
All materials were kindly donated and I found this part, the choosing of my fabric, by far the hardest. My chair was painted in light grey with black accents so it wasn’t easy to find a good match with the fabrics we had on offer. More on this later.
Who knew one could learn the art of basic upholstery in just a few short hours. Everyone worked hard and I noticed how eager we all were to do a good job. After all, our chairs were going up for auction and that was foremost on everyone’s mind. I was impressed with the speed and tenacity of all of my fellow workshop attendees.
We measured foam, learned how to use electric foam cutters, mastered some spraying glue and the art of stapling. Oh, those horrid corners, they did give one or two people a bit of a headache.
Of course, none of this could have happened without the expertise, admirable patience and great help from Jay and Yasir who had to put up with our constant requests for advice, materials and a much needed helping hand.
So, back to my dilemma of choosing the fabric for my seat. You see, as a designer, I cannot simply choose something that just doesn’t feel right! Eureka, I had found the solution. The scarf I was wearing that evening would go perfectly with my chair and so I thought: ‘why not donate it to this great cause?’ Bingo! Problem solved!
Yasir, here below, professionally modelling my scarf. To the right, see the top of my chair!
It was fun, hard work but totally satisfying. Most of us ran out of time so the good people at Out of the Dark put the finishing touches to our chairs. And here’s the final piece, all ready and waiting for its new owner….
OK, here’s how you can get involved! If you’re going to the show in May at Excel you can bid for the chairs there in the silent auction. If not, you’ll be able to bid online during the event. The link will go live during the show, so make a note of the dates.
There will be 8 chairs to choose from and they are all unique and made with great care and love! Happy bidding!
Meet my fellow workshop attendees:
Arianna Trapani, co-Editor of Heart Home and blogger at Arianna’s Daily
Carole King, co-Editor of Heart Home and blogger at Dear Designer’s
Yasmin Chopin, interior designer and blogger at YasminChopin.com
Kate Watson-Smyth, freelance interiors writer and blogger at Mad About the House
Laura Almond, Web Editor at Achica Living
Kate Burnett, Editor at The Schemer
Denise Mahmud of Trendease