Friday, 19 April 2013

Rockn' Renoir

Having recently been inspired by images of fantastic tapestry upholstery (pics on right) by people such as Suzie Stanford (Melbourne) I decided this was something I definitely needed/wanted to try.

First step:  find a suitable chair.  This was easy because I'd recently acquired an old bentwood rocker as part of the purchase of 2 fantastic retro wingchairs (THAT's another story - stay posted!).
2nd step:  find suitable tapestry.  Here stepped in a new friend (a real-life one from Facebook no less) - Ingrid - who introduced me to the wonderful world of the local auction house.  
What a day we had! Among the booty was a stash of 5 old tapestries.  At first I had ethical considerations about was it OK to cut up someone's lovingly-made work... in the case of a few of these bought that day... they are suberbly made, stitched I think in silk (it's very fine work, would love someone in the know to tell me if I'm right,) and usually extremely well-framed.  I decided that if I didn't "re-purpose" them then it was more than likely that someone else would buy them simply for the frames, and the tapestry might be thrown out.  Ethical dilemma solved.
3rd step:  decide what to use. In this case it was an easy decision that made itself for me - this particular tapestry*, in its portrait orientation (most are landscape) yelled - "PICK ME!". It would be easy to fit the important part of the image onto the chair's oval-shaped inside back.
* this is a closeup from Renoir's famous painting "Luncheon of the Boating Party".

4th step (the tricky bit): work out how to do the actual upholstery part. Because I was replacing the rattan - which fitted in the usual way with a cane spline into a groove - there actually was nowhere to attach the upholstery.  With a bit of experimenting, I worked out how to use my router to completely reshape that edge of the inside back (having removed the rattan altogether) to create a rebate for fixing the upholstery to.
5th step:  keep the timber colour or paint it?  This caused me a lot of pondering, because painting was going to add a lot of time to the project. If I left it the way it was it would be "ok"... but unfortunately the timber was actually extremely weather-beaten (maybe left out on a verandah) and had been polyurethaned over. All the daggy bits of the timber finish were encased, visibly, for ever unless I covered them.  My paint colour was also an easy decision - this lovely electric blue full-gloss enamel - was already on my paint shelf, and matched (I thought) beautifully with the gal's dress.
6th step: choosing seat and outside back fabrics... again easy... this multi-coloured stripe (Warwick Fabric/Randall/Encore/Multi) is a favourite of mine and seemed to suit.
7th step:  Do it.
8th step: Stand back, admire, post on Facebook (since doing this yesterday the post has had over 800 hits from around the world... nearly my best ever).
9th and most important step:  Does it pass Miss Harriet Snupeson's exacting Quality Control? 
Yes!  Phew.

10th and final step: Off to the Old Bus Depot Market (for sale @ $485) this Sunday 21st April.  

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Rapt! is currently exhibiting a collection of framed fabrics (upholstered onto stretched canvas frames) in the Minnamurra Cafe in the beautiful seaside village of Minnamurra (at the mouth of the Minnamurra River, just north of Kiama).  Here are a few pics:

The exhibition is on for the whole of the month of April. The cafe is open 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. I heartily recommend the fare - a great selection of scrumptious morning and afternoon tea goodies; great coffee and tea; and delicious lunch dishes (including the best old-fashioned hamburgers I've ever had).


Burrawang Easter Market was a rip-roaring success.  Don't know how many people came, but many, many thousands. The only thing which wasn't fantastic was the little village almost didn't cope with the unexpectedly large crowd, but the organisers had done a wonderful effort in preparation, and also on the day.

From Rapt's point of view it was a great success too - we sold out of the Robertson Potato Sack collection and took orders for more - Amazing! They liked them!!