At the end our last class (I’ll get to our new class in a later post!) we got a visit from Mike Mascelli. Who is this mystery man you may ask? Well.
He’s an upholsterer extraordinaire – among many things (a head honcho for Groop as well). He spent two days showing us the joys of upholstery; and “why you should never sub this stuff out ever!”. We started with a brief history of upholstery (the powerpoint started out with a man sitting on a rock saying, “This was the first chair”) and then jumped into presentations of step by step projects. Then we got to watch the master at work. And take lots of pictures…in hopes that one day we can be Master Upholsterers too.
Let the picture adventure begin!
Mike showed us books that he liked, tools of the trade, and his “traveling” toolbox. He has many tools – and since most of them resemble mid-evil torture devices, it’s just best not to travel with them.
We were shown examples of traditional as well as “hybrid” upholstery (ie. upholstery that has the feel of traditional pieces, but uses modern day materials instead). One such example is below – traditional horsehair vs. a modern horsehair mat.
In this picture we are being taught how to put in a drop seat.
Here Mike is showing us how to make a simple slip in seat – you know, the kind that get screwed onto dining room seats.
But how does it sit?
Mike stayed past the end of class for both days, so if you could stay behind you could learn more about the trade. Don’t worry about the people who couldn’t stay! We videotaped everything.
On the second day we were lucky enough to stumble upon a chair that was fortunately (or unfortunately for the chair) out on the floor. Of course we took this opportunity to
destroy learn from it!
Why stop there? We’re curious to see what’s INSIDE the piece, afterall. So we all get a turn taking some tacks out.
And here’s what we find!
Mike told us that when horsehair wasn’t available, upholsterers would use what was available and local to them.
After the chair demolition (and other things) we were all winding down. Mike was packing up and we were practicing our newly learned skills. Like trying to use a tack hammer as skillfully as Mike (he can pick one up with the magnetic end of his hammer and with one ‘whack’ put it in position).
Guess who else dropped by! Ben came by to watch Mike’s presentations and demoes. And also to show off (kidding!). Do you see that little block of wood he has? And those lines on it? See how precise he is with those tacks and how they all land on the cross section of the lines? Near perfect!
Compare that to my unhappy tacks. Luckily Ben left me the wood so I can practice more! Thanks for the great exercise, Ben!
It was indeed a great two days. We came away with a wealth of knowledge and many new things to practice. Thanks for taking your time to see us, Mike!