This week we speak to one of our current students Megan Statham about why she chose upholstery as a new career path.
When did you first start studying upholstery at SDR and on which course?
I had a piece of furniture left to me by my Grandad that I wanted to reupholster so, after researching course options and visiting on an open day, I decided to enrol in an evening beginner’s leisure course at SDR. It was perfect for me as you get to bring your own furniture and it was an easy journey for me, I could drive or just hop on the Northern Line to Old Street. At the end of 18 weeks I had a beautiful piece of furniture and was totally hooked on upholstery!
I worked in the travel industry before having my two children and it was no longer a suitable career, as travelling didn’t fit well with family life. With the support of my husband and SDR I decided it was time to re-train and having loved the leisure course so much, upholstery seemed like the perfect fit. I signed up for the AMUSF level one qualification, and I haven’t looked back.
I’ve always been a fairly creative person and enjoyed making things, I also love hunting in markets, junk shops and car boot sales for furniture for our home so the idea of giving new life to old furniture was perfect and also really appealed to my eco-friendly aspirations.
What course stage are you on at the moment and how are you finding it?
I’m almost at the end of Stage 3, which like all the courses at SDR is taught in small groups, which is perfect as it means lots of support and a fun and friendly atmosphere.
I have absolutely loved learning so many new skills over the past three years and found doing and making incredibly rewarding. There is a good mix of traditional and modern upholstery, which means it never gets boring and the organised talks and museum trips have been really stimulating. I have also made some amazing friends and I truly wish it wasn’t coming to an end.
My confidence has grown with each stage and with each new piece I’ve worked on, I am still learning all the time and have found the research projects invaluable for improving my knowledge and understanding.
Do you do any upholstery outside of the course?
I’ve been doing little bits for family and friends since I finished level 2 but have recently taken the plunge and become self employed. I now fit work in around school drop off and pick up whish is great and the teachers at SDR have been brilliant, giving lots of good advice and the practise means I am improving and learning all the time.
What advice would you give to new students – things to do alongside the course or ways to extend your learning?
Doing the 18 week leisure upholstery course was a brilliant introduction to upholstery as I’d never done anything like it before, the teachers and staff at SDR are really into fabric, trimmings and furniture but also up-cycling and sustainability too – its quite infectious, I loved it immediately and couldn’t wait to learn more!
If you were in any way tempted by upholstery, my advice would be just go for it! You wont regret it even if you don’t want to change your career, just do it for fun, its hugely rewarding. If you decide to train to become an upholsterer my advice would be practise, practise, practise and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, I’ve learnt the most from the things I’ve done wrong!
There are hundreds of upholstery fanatics on Instagram and I’ve found it a great way to see what kinds of things others are working on, and what I could hopefully be capable of in the future, pinterest is also good for getting ideas.
So, are you glad you made the move into the world of upholstery?
100%, I’ve not regretted it for a minute.