Hi I am Lesley, based in Portsmouth, I am the founder and head upholsterer of Hilda’s Lounge – Design-led upholstery. Today, I have around 14 years in the trade. I have a degree in contemporary furniture design, training in both traditional and modern techniques and a background in manufacturing.
What do you love about the craft?
The magic of transformation, the history, the stitching and sculpting of soft materials into useful and beautiful things. The biggest gift upholstery has given me is resilience and patience.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
Problem solving. It can take many guises in my work. Whether it is helping to decipher what’s in someone’s head and then producing that vision or the puzzle of deconstructing complicated covers and fillings. Upholstery is a career of learning and its a magical feeling when I exceed my own expectations of what I can create with my own hands.
What is your creative process? And where do you find inspiration?
My thought process is always, why am I doing this? What is the legacy of what I am doing? Does it make sense? Is it necessary? And much of my work is a collaboration, usually with the other party coming with their own strong ideas. So then I have to think about what it means to them and how my expertise can help deliver something we are both excited about.
What plans do you have for Hilda's Lounge in the future?
I am keen to renovate furniture to sell but I have been biding my time working out exactly how to do it. I want to explore my own tastes – what furniture and fabrics am I drawn to away from the direct influence of customer commissions - how does that fit into Hilda’s growing persona? There are also some brilliant sustainability waves being made through the upholstery community and I am keen to keep up with that shift.
Thanks so much to Lesley for taking the time to answer our questions!