Vicky Grubb, upholsterer

 8 September 2016

Vicky's love of upholstery began with night classes at her local college. She now runs her own studio, teaching upholstery classes and taking commissions for work. Vicky outlines her career journey and how you can get into upholstery.

"I take classes in my studio, teaching people how to strip and rebuild small chairs."

Hometown?

I am from Bournemouth in Dorset.

What job do you do?

I’m an upholsterer and also an upholstery teacher.

How did you become an upholsterer?

It started with night classes at my local college. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to take a City and Guilds course in Upholstery at an adult education college on a Friday, as my boss allowed me to take Fridays as holiday.

There is no such thing as too much experience with upholstery

I then went on to complete a City and Guilds Diploma.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a City and Guilds Diploma in Upholstery.

What do you do for your job?

I take classes in my studio, teaching people how to strip and rebuild small chairs.  They are mostly dining chairs, footstools and wing chairs, such as a Parker Knoll.

I also take commissions on the days I don’t teach, upholstering them using the modern upholstery technique mostly.

What is the best thing about your job?

There’s so much I enjoy, where do I start?

  • It’s so creative: I get to use fabrics and look at patterns all day. 
  • I get to meet enthusiastic students
  • I am able to work from home (I have a studio in my garden)
  • I’m also able to work around my children.

And the worst thing?

It’s a bit dusty and can be quite physical. There's a lot of standing.

How do I get into upholstery?

I would start with a one-day course, such as my Saturday one day-upholstery workshop. This way you can use the tools and see if you like it. The first thing most people say to me, is that they are surprised how physical it is.

It’s so creative; I get to use fabrics and look at patterns all day

Then if you enjoy it, book onto something a bit longer, such as my 6-week course and tackle something like an armchair.

Thirdly, look up the UK wide accredited course offered by AMUSF and start along a path to becoming accredited. There is no such thing as too much experience with upholstery, so read up and join some forums on social media where many upholsterers post detailed shots of their everyday work.


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