Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Meet the Maker: Heather Jones of The Unique Seat Company

A while ago, I picked up some literature at Chatsworth House about a lady who does traditional upholstery. When I started Meet the Maker, I knew that I wanted to involve all sorts of crafters and so I couldn't wait to feature Heather. I'm so glad she was willing to take part!
Firstly, two very important questions.

Tea or coffee?
An expensive filter coffee in the morning, followed by a much cheaper instant coffee for the rest of the day and tea if I am thirsty.

Biscuit or cake? 
Definitely cake. I found a recipe for Raspberry Torte on the Waitrose website a few years ago and it has become a bit of an obsession with everyone. You must try it out!!

So, tell us a bit about yourself. 
Well, I was born, raised and decided to stay in Sheffield. It is an amazing city. I love lazing in the sun, walking (as long as I have a dog to take with me), art (check out www.huntpaintings.com), craft fairs, interiors, Laurence Llewelyn Bowen (I feel I should apologise for some reason) and the occasional, adrenaline pumping, heart racing, type of activity that drives the cobwebs away. I dislike being cold, bad food, badly upholstered furniture and people who constantly moan about their situation and then do nothing about it.

 ...and what about the item that you are sharing with us?
This Edwardian wingback armchair has taken me an incredible amount of time to complete. I bought it from an antiques shop in Wales when I was on holiday and then had to pay a courier to bring it back to Sheffield as it wouldn't fit in the car. Oh joy! I stripped the chair right back to the frame, re-sprung the base and traditionally upholstered it using horsehair. I wanted to produce something unusual and eye-catching and hopefully, I have achieved that.

How long have you been doing traditional upholstery and how did you learn? 
I have doing traditional upholstery for almost 7 years now. The Unique Seat Company was set up in 2008 but I trained a year prior to that, not far from my Dad's home town in Wales. I did a one week course initially, just for fun, and then the crafting bug hit me and I returned soon afterwards for another 6 weeks to complete my Diploma course.

When did you start The Unique Seat Company and why?
The idea for The Unique Seat Company was conceived back in 2004 when I was a frustrated and very bored IT professional. I wanted to be able to have something tangible at the end of the working day. Unfortunately IT did not provide that. I had also purchased a small Victorian cottage - I wanted to furnish it with antique furniture but was unable to find anything, well upholstered, in a remotely acceptable fabric so, I decided to learn a new craft and do it myself.

What inspires and motivates you?
Listening to and being around successful, positive people. I try to stay away from anyone who says that “it”, whatever that may be, can't be done.

Any crafting heroes? 
Crafting requires a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears so, I have huge admiration for anyone capable of creating something beautiful with their own hands, especially those who are doing it for a living.

Do you have a crafting space?
Yes - I finally moved into my workshop last year after previously working from home. To be able to walk away from work and close the door is very important to me. It is situated near to Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield and the whole area has a really good vibe about it.]

Any big plans for 2013? 
Yes. I try to have big plans for every year. This year those plans are; make the website fully e-commerce, set up intermediate level upholstery classes, diversify with painted, antique furniture and organise a craft fair in Sheffield - please get in touch if you are interested in taking part.

So can we join you in your virtual world? 
Absolutely! Website: www.theuniqueseatcompany.co.uk Twitter: @Owner TheUSC Email: enquiries@theuniqueseatcompany.co.uk Telephone: 0800 1216210 In Person: Come and visit me in person at the workshop or at any one of the craft shows I attend up and down the country throughout the year.

Finally, some quick fire questions that we are dying to know the answers to.

Favourite colour? 
Purple - because it was Donny Osmond's favourite colour (alledgedly), because I love the film Purple Rain and because it is such a sumptuous, feel-good colour. I think I have given my age away now! 

The best season? 
Summer - I love the sun and the heat. The hotter the better.

Your favourite food? 
Porridge - It makes me feel less miserable when the weather is cold.

The best day of the week? 
Monday - but only since I started working for myself.

What is the best word? 
Smorgasbord - I first heard this word in Canada when I was about 11 and even though I didn't know what it meant back then I loved it anyway.

Favourite place? 
My garden, in the summer, without doubt.

Your biggest achievement? 
Hopefully that hasn't happened yet - can you ask me in another 20 years?

I shall pop a reminder on my emails to get in touch in 2033 Heather. I'm sure everyone agrees that it was lovely to meet you! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us into your world.

Mrs Crafty B

N.B. Heather is offering you lovely readers 10% discount on upholstery courses booked before the end of June 2013 (attended before end of December 2013). Don't miss out! Get in touch with Heather on the details she provided in the interview mentioning Crafting a Daydream at mrscraftyb.co.uk

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