9/10/2009

Handcrafted Chairs by Melanie Porter

Have you ever wanted to work directly with a high fashion designer to create your very own one of a kind piece of furniture?

After 10 years working as a knitwear designer for a number of international fashion brands, including Burberry and Pure Collection, Melanie Porter has turned her expertise to furniture, creating one-off contemporary designs from chairs sourced from auctions and markets across the UK. Melanie undertakes the entire process herself and everything, from the restoration and upholstering to the felted woollen panels and individual, crocheted buttons, is done by hand. The result of this incredibly labour-intensive process is a stunning and unique, but hard wearing, work of art, destined to be a future family heirloom.

“Although I loved my job in fashion, I really missed the hands-on creativity of actually making something,” explains Melanie. “I also wanted to learn upholstery – it’s something that has intrigued me since I was a child and would watch my grandfather repairing chairs. I am actually still using the tools that I inherited from him.”

Each project starts with the chair itself – anything from an antique Victorian nursing chair, to a 1970s Egg chair – which is painstakingly stripped back to the frame, before being restored and reupholstered using traditional techniques. This blank canvas is then covered with a series of hand-knitted, felted panels, especially created for each chair.

“To a certain extent, I let the chair lead the design and knit structure,” says Melanie. “I’ll sketch a rough idea but it’s quite an organic process and so I allow myself the freedom to change things as I go along.”Melanie also takes on bespoke commissions and, in this instance, the process is a bit different. “Sometimes a customer has a chair they want me to reupholster, sometimes they’ll ask me to source a frame. Then I’ll talk to them about what they’re looking for in terms of colours and designs, and show them sketches and swatches before I start work.”

For more information visit the website, or call +44 7770 941 305.

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