SUZIE - IN THE STUDIO
You may remember Suzie from an earlier post in July. We featured Suzie's home 'Flat Stanley', a beautiful little flat in Tulse Hill that she renovated and decorated with a creative mix of found, bought and made pieces. http://www.annaandtam.com/blog/2014/6/30/suzie-at-home. While photographing her flat we got talking about her job as an upholsterer and decoupage artist (the art of decorating a surface with illustrations cut from paper) and she invited us into her studio to see where the magic happens.
DESCRIBE YOUR STUDIO SPACE
I'm based at Whirled Arts Studio in South East London. It’s a great space flooded with natural daylight. I’m right in the arch window. It's an open floor with lots of other artists and creatives busy working for themselves. It makes for an inspiring environment to be in.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT MAKING YOUR WORK?
I love to lose myself in whatever I’m working on, whether thats upholstery or decoupage. There’s nothing better than suddenly realising that it's the end of the day and I’ve forgotten all about tea and missed lunch!
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m just adding the final layers of lacquer to a toy box (above left). It’s a bespoke commission piece.
YOUR PIECES ARE VERY INDIVIDUAL. HOW DO YOU VISUALISE WHAT THE FINISHED PIECE WILL BE WHEN YOU BUY THE ORIGINAL FURNITURE?
All the furniture that I buy is original vintage. I choose the design once I have the piece, not the other way round otherwise I would be forever looking in that 'needle in a haystack' sort of way.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR FURNITURE FROM?
The furniture comes from auctions and salvage shops. I’ve toyed with online auction sites but without seeing the piece before buying, I can't guarantee the quality.
HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE YOUR STYLE?
Individual, stylised, bespoke.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I like raw and natural which is why I love working with upholstery materials. Hessian, linen thread and I love the grain in old wood. I also love wild and garden flowers, anything pretty - flora and fauna. I’m always attracted to Victorian taxidermy but the reality is much less appealing. The South London Botanical Institute has many plates of wild flowers, taxidermy tiny birds in glass domes and rows of mahogany sample drawers with brass handles.
WHO IS YOUR DESIGN HERO?
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU
I get up and walk through the park to the studio, its about 30mins from my house. I like to have a plan for the day in my head before I get there. Sometimes I leave early to go to an auction.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
I have a habit of picking up metre lengths of fabric here and there. I have lots of dress and upholstery fabric. I make my own clothes when I have time and you never know when you might need to knock up a silk eye mask as a gift!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AT THE WEEKEND?
In the summer there are a number of furniture and collectors shows around London. There’s a great Mid Century one at Brockwell lido where the furniture is all set out like living rooms around the edge of the pool. Its surreal and Daliesque. There’s also one at Dulwich College which is also a great setting. I love a car boot sale too which I have to drag my boyfriend along to.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOP?
I love Alfies Antiques in Marylebone, which is more a collection of shops. It's brimming with treasures from the minuscule to the massive. It sells everything that once was or still is beautiful.