Gives new life to pre-loved furniture
My Granny (1911-2008, pictured above) was a wonderfully talented lady. After attending Art School in London she worked in a variety of creative occupations including silversmithing (she made the art deco spoons pictured), cake decorating at Fortnum and Mason’s, and being a draughtsman during World War II. In addition, she was a talented flower arranger and won various national prizes, including Gold at the Chelsea Royal Flower Show. She also did pottery and watercolour painting in her spare time. Her creative talents never seemed to run dry, and in her seventies she took up woodcarving!
Not only was her house full of beautiful things she had designed and made, but she used her home to teach dressmaking and flower arranging classes well into her eighties. She was always wonderfully elegant – usually in an outfit she had made herself like the one in the photo– and had an eye for style and colour.
As a child I loved spending time with Granny and at one point she did try to teach me some of her dressmaking skills. When I was 15 she took me to John Lewis and we chose a dress pattern, some fabric and she helped me to cut out, pin, tack and sew the garment. As a teenager I’m ashamed to say I found the whole process extremely laborious and she ended up making most of the dress for me! Whilst I used to love woodwork and metalwork at school, it’s only in the past 10 years that I have again turned my hand to more creative things. I started off making curtains (using Granny’s old Readers’s Digest Sewing Manual) and quickly moved onto dressmaking, encouraged by the Great British Sewing Bee. I now appreciate the importance of all the steps she took the time to teach me, which seemed so tedious as a child. In the past 2 years since my husband’s grandmother (Nannan) died, I have re-upholstered some of her old furniture. I absolutely love the process of taking something old and well-loved, and taking care to breathe new life into it. Heartwarmingly, one of Nannan’s old chairs is now my husband’s favourite seat in our lounge.
When a good friend passed on some of her Granny’s 80-year old dining chairs to me to re-seat, she loved the results and encouraged me to turn my hobby into a business. So I set up a workshop in our loft and Granny’s Attic Bespoke was born! The workshop contains some of my Granny’s vintage fabrics, buttons and sewing notions, as well as a watercolour painting, some pottery and a wood carving she made. All these things help me to channel the creativity Granny has passed down to me, and I like to think she would be proud of what I’m creating now, inspired by her.