Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sneak Peak

Last weeks new (old) chair is almost finished, it just needs a few final touches to make it perfect. So for now, here are a few close ups of the beautiful Harris tweed and some of the detailing, including some of the first piping I have attempted!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

My new (old) chair

Last week I went mad and bought two chairs that need completely reupholstered! And the first one looks like this

It is pretty smelly and has a big rip down one side but still seems quite comfy. Hopefully with a bit of love and attention I can bring this chair back to life. 
It is always interesting stripping old chairs and discovering how they were put together. The first job was taking the dust cloth off. This is the piece of material that is found on the underneath of the chair and it's purpose is to hide all the inner upholstery and collect any dust that falls from the stuffing. Usually this is just plain black cloth or plain hessian. As it is not really seen it doesn't have to be anything fancy, but I was pleasantly surprised when I stripped this chairs dust cloth off, and turned it over to find this...

 I can't find much out about John Brown&Son's Superior Scotch Oatmeal, but it is nice to know that this chair was originally upholstered in Scotland.

This chair has lots of stitching which is not something I am very familiar with, but after many hours, some splinters, and a bruised thumb, the chair is stripped and ready for me to recover it.

And finally, check out the random curiosities I found tucked into the folds of upholstery. A pin, a painted screw, two buttons and a madonna...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Harris Tweed Heaven

Material is just as, if not MORE, important than the furniture I choose to recover. So when Mr Briggs and I chose to honeymoon on the Isle of Harris I knew it was going to be expensive. First off we stopped at the Harris Tweed shop next to the ferry port at Tarbert. As well as a very friendly, well stocked shop full of bags, jackets, scarfs, lavender filled scotty dogs, and even shoes, there was an utterly amazing warehouse full to the brim of real Harris tweed.
And in the most amazing colours.
I literally spent hours looking, touching, smelling and loving this tweed while Mr Briggs sat in his new car.

So after buying everything we could fit in the car we went for a drive and stumbled across the Isle of Harris Knitwear Company. I love the fact that this grand sounding company is a woman who has turned her garage into a shop. I bought a cosy jumper that she had knitted (think BBC4's The Killing) to keep the island winds at bay, and she told me that she bought her tweed from Donald John Mackay - who happened to love visitors!

So next stop was Donald John's portacabin to see how this beautiful material is made.
His loom was brought over to the island brand new in 1970, and he knows exactly how to keep it ticking, and repair it if necessary. Donald John learnt how to make tweed from his father and has earned a living this way all of his life. The skill is dying out due to so many young people leaving Harris and finding their fortunes in more modern ways, but Donald John is part of a new initiative teaching young people how to make tweed. When we met him, Donald John was busy packing to fly down to Somerset to meet Clarks Shoes, proving that not only is he a savvy business man, but tweed really can be used for everything and anything.
The day we visited Donald John we got absolutely drenched in pouring rain and gale force winds, but check out how beautiful his views over Luskentyre beach are! You can definitely see how the amazing colours inspire the tweed, like this blue one I bought...