Kenny Macleod recently set up his own business Croft Upholstery. We have been working with him on a couple of upholstery projects since. Here he explains how he learned his craft – from wood and springs to cosy armchair.
Croft Upholstery is a new upholstery and wood restoration service for Skye and Inverness.
Since leaving School in 2001, I pursued a career in film and media, writing and consulting on scripts for films produced in Scotland and copywriting for STV Creative among others. Though it is a true passion of mine, I recognised that, from my experience, the media projects offered short term contracts and I really wanted to learn a skill I could practice to provide a dependable income.
Upholstery is something I have been interested in since a young age. When I was a child, my mother used to get things upholstered by Bert Smith, whose role as the island’s sole upholsterer has not been filled since his passing a number of years ago. So, in 2012, I decided to explore my interest in upholstery and learn the craft.
I trained with Fife’s Cornhill Courses from September 2012 until June 2014. Cornhill Courses is the only approved AMU training centre in Scotland. Completing level 2 and 3 certificates in traditional and modern upholstery techniques, I am now setting up as a self-employed upholsterer.
In my opinion, collaborating with like-minded businesses is a really important part of growing a service within the Highlands. Last May, I got in touch with Skye Weavers as the tweed they make has a quality that I thought would be a perfect suit for my graduation piece.
The chair in question was donated to my upholstery teacher. Not the most practical patio furniture, it had been sitting in a garden in Fife for a number of weeks before I begun working on it. Though damp, the wood was in great condition and it was ready to be traditionally upholstered from the frame up. Here are some pictures of just a few of the processes involved:
Checking and replacing spring units.
Blanket stitch applied to the length of the unit.
Sculpting the shape with scrim.
Stitching the seat edge.
Working on the arms.
I was delighted to collaborate with Skye Weavers at this stage in my career as an upholsterer. I enjoyed working with their tweed and look forward to future projects.
Going forward, I plan to continue to develop the business locally, building relationships and, over the years, adapting my skills to use in car and marine upholstery.
If you would like to discuss a project, please email a picture of the piece, together with a note of what you require.