Hello, I’m Michelle.
In 2011 I was made redundant from a job I thought I’d loved for 25 years. I was devastated but also strangely excited. Could this be an opportunity to make some long overdue changes in my professional life and realise a longheld dream of being self employed?
Around this time a friend invited me to a fortune telling night. Now, I’m generally sceptical about these things, but as I was at a bit of a crossroads I thought I’d go along and see what the spirits had in store for me. The fortune teller told me she saw me surrounded by pin cushions, needles and chairs. Crikey!…am I going to be an upholstress?
Over the next few days the idea started to sink in….and feel right….really right. In fact, it felt amazing! I could get out of the rat race. I could be self employed. Could I be an upholsterer / upholstress / upholdstress??? (Still haven’t decided which I am yet!)
I researched courses and found one accredited by the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers run by J A Milton in Ellesmere in Shropshire, about an hour away. The AMUSF has recognised that there are not enough new upholsterers coming through the ranks with traditional skills. They have devised a set of qualifications designed to ensure the traditional methods are passed onto a new generation who can continue to rebuild and re-cover antique furniture to traditional standards. This appealed to my love of history so I took the plunge and started two weeks later. The first time I picked up a tack hammer I knew…this is the job for me!
Courses completed, I launched North Wales Upholstery. Very quickly after I started teaching and North Wales Upholstery School was born. The school has grown from strength to strength and now offers various courses at our premises on Denbigh Industrial Estate.
In the meantime I have developed a line of sheepskin covered furniture and home accessories call Baa Stool which operates from the same premises and keeps me very busy. I no longer teach in the school but work with Master Upholsterer Philip Blackburn who has over 35 years experience in the industry and helps our students complete their projects to the highest quality.