Forties fashion flair for fabulous furniture / 10th November 2016 Back


What would you do with Italian back-drop cloths which are printed with stylized painterly trees? The skill and experience of Katie Tyler, upholsterer, saw it as a perfect scene to make a dreamy bentwood armchair, coil sprung for comfort. Elegant and unique these hand-made these pieces make a statement. The vintage materials create a beautiful scene down the chair back and seat resulting in a very modern looking piece. Contemporary. Hand-crafted.

One of these chairs is on show at The Craft Gallery at the Old Mayor’s Parlour. Just sitting on it is different, with its inviting long coil sprung seat. It’s a comfortable place to relax into with a book or for lulling a grandchild to sleep.

It is joined by a pair of stylish long legged and proper 1940s upright tub chairs upholstered in Harris tweed. A closer look reveals touches of colour and different fabrics make up the piping. The tailored pocket  adds a surprise touch on the backs of the chairs, perhaps somewhere to store your book or that spare pair of reading glasses. Each chair is hand finished with a sense of fun. Team with Katie’s cushions of distinction with velvet backs and tweed fronts carefully piped around the edges in contrasting colourways.

Master of her craft, Katie Tyler has been revamping furniture either found or brought to her since 1994. Her style has developed into a clever blend of contemporary and vintage fabrics and finishes where part of the joy is the sourcing of the materials from far and wide. Hence the Italian stage production back-drop cloths. You’ll also find French Vintage Linen garments in Katie’s bag of tricks for turning chairs into bespoke beauties.

For a more personal touch, heirloom chairs, can be created from up-cycling furniture and materials already owned.  This could be out grown garments, Grandmothers embroidery, buttons from old school cardigans, old rugby shirts or golf trousers with the end result being something highly individual. There’s no factory process here. Each piece is conceived from the materials and becomes a truly original piece of functional contemporary art. 

So if you are stuck for ideas for gifts for Valentines or annirversaries whether your budget is for a cushion or a chair you can do something a bit different. You can get a truly unique gift for someone who will appreciate a quirky one-off which will be admired, used and enjoyed for years.


The Craft Gallery’s first showcase will have the latest work of eight artists. Pieces on show include blown glass, hand-made furnishings, ceramics, illustration, abstract paintings, and textiles. Gallery opening times are Tuesday to Saturday 09:30 – 17:00.


It is located on the first floor. The age of the building prevents the owners from creating a lift or other form of assisted access. Hugh and his team will be happy to assist in bringing down items to those who are unable to go up the stairs.

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