New Furniture Makers 2016



Susan Salkeld drew many admiring comments when she exhibited her 1960s G Plan 6250 chair at this year's New Furniture Makers Exhibition at the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers' Hall on Tuesday 11th October.


Wendy Shorter Interiors Wendy Shorter Interiors Class of 2016

This year's class did fantastically well with 95% credits and distinctions for their work.

Prizes were also awarded by Kobe Fabrics, Bute Fabrics and our Stage 3 Upholstery students received £150 each from the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers.


Wendy Shorter Interiors Wendy Shorter receiving her Master Upholder Certificate

In February 2016 Wendy was honoured and delighted to receive her Master Upholder Certificate, seen here being presented by the Lord Mayor of London at Fishmongers Hall.  Upholder is the archaic word for upholsterer.  The citation reads:

"Wendy Shorter has been awarded the status of Master Upholder, having been assessed at the highest level in the art, craft and practice of the Upholder by the Worshipful Company of Upholders, recognised as a leading teacher and mentor for those pursuing a career in their craft, her dedication to the development and implementatin of the diploma courses in upholstery and soft furnishings, were taken into account as evidence required for the Master Certificate."


Wendy Shorter Interiors Jade & Harriet received their certificates at the Birmingham Furniture Show


Congratulations to Harrier Page who one this year's Heico Design Competition with her "Like Moths to a Light" miniature chair.  Jade Peel was runner-up with her "School Book" chair.

They were presented with their certificates and prizes at the Birmingham Furniture Show at the NEC in January 2016, where their work was displayed and received many admiring comments.


Congratulations to all our students for producing some fabulous work again this year.  This year's prize winners were:

Kobe Fabrics Traditional Upholstery Competition:

Stage 3 - Regis Cheval

Stage 2 - Harriet Page & Daryl Perry

Kobe Soft Furnishings Competition:

Frances Mitchell

Bute Fabrics Modern Upholstery Competition:

Jo Coleman, Carol Arnell & Tricia Reed


Part of what makes our courses so good and relevant to anyone wanting to learn the craft of upholstery or soft furnishings are the industry visits that we make each year.  Our students have the opportunity of attending these visits, in order to assist them in their understanding of the industry in general, but they also help with their research projects that are part of their courses.

Although we were closed for three weeks over the Easter period, our students have been busy on these visits:


Just before Easter two of our ladies attended a four day furniture industry tour to Manchester.  Together with students from other colleges and universities they visited wholesalers, retailers, bespoke bed manufacturers and foam converters.  You can read more about their visit here:


We also visited the Warner Textiles Archive in Braintree.  The archive was saved for the nation in 2004 and now has several thousand pieces that are displayed within the museum or that are shown to interested parties in their “behind the scene” tours of the archive materials.  This is the perfect opportunity for students to get to see and understand the history and characteristics of some of the amazing fabrics that have been woven in this country over hundreds of years.


Waddesdon Manor was built in the 1870s for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to house his collection of 18th century furnishings and treasures.  As well as a tour of the house and a superb lunch we also visit the conservation department to take a closer look at the restoration work that goes into maintaining the furniture and textiles in the collection.


Together with members of the Association of Master Upholsterers & Soft Furnishers we had a very inspiring and informative visit to Gainsborough Silks in Sudbury, Suffolk.  Gainsborough Silk Weaving was established in 1903 by Reginald Warner who created an extraordinary archive of inspiration fabrics.  Their archive now consists of over 5000 textiles from the 16th to the 21st Century providing a rare opportunity to restore interiors or provide original fabrics for any project, both historic and contemporary.  The Gainsborough Design Department supports the designing and making of fabrics, whether restoring historic walling or furniture fabrics, re-colouring existing weaves or evolving new ideas into fabulous bespoke commissions.  Awarded the Royal Warrant in 1980, the company has produced fabrics for numerous Royal palaces and state buildings, and today continues the tradition of creating fabrics of enduring quality with a minimum order of only 15 metres.

We have had a fabulous time on these visits and I would like to thank everyone involved in hosting these tours and look forward to our next visit.

Heico Competition 2015

In January 2015 Jo Coleman won the Heico Design Competition with her World War I inspired miniature chair.  Jo received a Bambi silent compressor and staple gun as a prize and was presented with her certificate at the January Furniture Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Jo's design was originally inspired by a set of medals that was developed onto this miniature chair with a back as a brick wall with a bullet hole through it.  This then morphs into a machine embroidered poppy on the back.  Jo also used metal around the base of the seat representing tanks and she even made her own barbed wire, that you can sit on!  The Trench Orders booklet was also reproduced in fabric from an original.

Class of 2014

Class of 2014 Class of 2014


Our students received their qualification certificates from President of the AMUSF, Ron Mercure, at their Show and Presentation Day on Saturday 19th July.  Congratulations everyone for a fantasic achievement and for producing some really beautiful work.


Students at Wendy Shorter Interiors have the opportunity of competing in three different competitions, allowing their creativity to come through in design work as well as excellence in their traditional and modern upholstery skills.

This year, in addition to their upholstery sponsorship, Kobe UK also sponsored a prize for the Soft Furnishings.

We would like to thank all our sponsors for their support and encouragement.

Heico Fasteners Competition

Winners: Electra, Fee & Francine Heico Competition 2014


In January 2014 Electra, Fee and Francine swept the board taking all of this year's prizes in the Heico design competition.  Their work was exhibited at Interiors UK at the NEC in Birmingham, the May Design Series at Excel and FIRA's Showrooms.  Electra's miniature chair was inspired by a piece of rock crystal; Fee's from a beehive and Francine's from dolly mixtures and liquorish allsorts sweets.

Kobe Fabrics Traditional Upholstery Competition

Kobe Fabrics Competition Winner Kobe Competition Winners

This year Kobe Fabrics sponsored four prizes for the Traditional Upholstery and one for the Soft Furnishings. The winner of the Soft Furnishings was Petra Landeweerd-Schreuder.  The winners of the Stage 3 competition: Carol Arnell and Jo Coleman.  The Stage 2 competition winners were Regis Cheval and Susan Salkeld.  Highly Commended also went to Georgie Elliott, Lena Lindqvist and Electra Read-Dagg.  The students were presented with their prizes by the Senior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Upholders, Mrs. Wynne Gilham.  All the students were praized for the quality of their work.  David Harris, MD of Kobe UK said "Kobe is proud to sponsor the Traditional Upholstery and Soft Furnishing Competitions, which is an opportunity for Kobe to show its support for the upholsterers and soft furnishers of the future."

Bute Fabrics Modern Upholstery Competition

Bute Fabrics sponsored the Contemporary Modern Upholstery competition. This competition was judged by Euan Stewart from Bute Fabrics.  The winners were Fee Sutherland, Electra Read-Dagg and Sophie Burry.  The presentations were made by Mrs. Wynne Gilham, Senior Warden of the Worshipful Compnay of Upholders at this year's presentation day.

Ideal Home Show

A fabulous, but hard working six days demonstrating traditional upholstery techniques at the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court.  We were on the Prince's Craft Pavilion with other Friends of the Heritage Crafts Association trying to raise awareness and support for heritage crafts.  Crafts are a vibrant part of the economy, contributing £4.4 billion GVA to the UK economy each year, that's about the same as the petroleum industry.  The traditional crafts have almost 210,000 workers with a turnover of £18.8 billion - 78% of heritage craftspeople are self-employed and, therefore, support for and from the Heritage Crafts Association is so important.

Lord Mayor's Wool in the City Exhibition

Lord Mayor's "Wool in the City" Exhibition Ellie Hunt's Traditionally Upholstered Armchair


Ellie Hunt had the honour of exhibiting her winged armchair at the 2013 Lord Mayor's "Wool in the City" exhibition at the Mansion House in London, receiving many admiring glances and lovely comments.


Ellie's chair was upholstered in a wool baize which she had enhanced with a felting technique using merino wooltops.  This chair has birds on the front of the chair, with birds in flight around the outside wings and back of the chair.

Diamond Jubilee Luncheon - Tuesday 5th June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Luncheon - June 2012 Diamond Jubilee Luncheon - June 2012

Rachael Stevenson, one of my students, and I had the honour and privilege of joining The Master and other members of the Worshipful Company of Upholders in attending the Diamond Jubilee Luncheon given for The Queen by the Livery Companies of the City of London.


We arrived early at Westminster Hall to be entertained by the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain whilst we awaited the arrival of The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, direct from the Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving at St. Pauls. Rachael and I were delighted to be seated within six feet of the Duchess of Cambridge on the next table. If only we could have taken photos, it would have been great, but photography and sound recordings are strictly forbidden whilst in attendance of The Queen.


This was such a huge honour and a day that we will remember for the rest of our lives

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