Furniture upholstery mentorship

Deka Design has been happily involved in mentoring Bec Barnett in furniture upholstery. Over seven months Bec has undertaken one-on-one mentoring from Lasse and Helena, developing her proficiency in upholstery and learning new upholstery sewing skills and restoration.

Image: Chenoa Pettrup

Bec has had previous training upholstery training, however she needed to strengthen those skills and develop new ones in furniture repair and upholstery sewing. For her, this was also an opportunity to learn more about the business of furniture craft and about local material suppliers.

Image: Chenoa Pettrup

Bec is a designer, researcher and teacher, and part of Relative Creative, a consultancy offering cross-disciplinary design services based on redirecting design towards sustainable futures. She is utilising her knowledge of upholstery in her research in cultures of repair, and in her teaching in the design program at Griffith University Queensland College of Art. For her recent design studio course students were tasked with tackling the "wicked problem" of waste through a hands-on furniture restoration project. The great work of the students was exhibited at the Asia Pacific Design Library at State Library of Queensland as "Repair and repurpose: using waste as a standing reserve".

It's not just the rewards for the mentoree in mentoring that are significant, but also what it means to the mentor. Lasse and Helena have dedicated their lives to this craft profession, and are happy to share their expertise, and see the positive impacts as people learn new craft skills and knowledge. There is a lack of local opportunities to formally learn furniture craft skills, and we think this is a barrier for many who are interested in furniture making either as a profession or as a rewarding hobby. We provide courses and mentoring for all levels, from basic to advanced in furniture making, restoration and upholstery.

This mentorship was part of the Power Up Your Arts Mentorship Program, supported by Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund and Gold Coast City Council. We thank them and Bec for the opportunity to be involved in this project.

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