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We are very proud of the fact that Upholstery Education has a teaching team of experts that is second to none.
Armand Verdier is regarded within the industry as an 'Upholsterer par excellence'.
He started his training at the age of 15 in Normandy, France. This was followed by two years at the country's most renowned school for Fine Arts & Crafts and Applied Arts, The École Boulle in Paris. As part of his formal training, Armand went to England to gain work experience at Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe with David James. It was while Armand was there that he was introduced to Angela Burgin, who at that time was one of the UK's leading experts on traditional upholstery.
After returning to France to complete his diploma, Armand went back to live and work in the United Kingdom. He spent the next four years working for Angela Burgin Furnishing & Design Ltd, honing his skills and developing the techniques he had mastered whilst studying. It was during this time that Armand started working alongside high end British interior designers and on furniture from within stately homes, including Lydiard House.
In 2007 Armand returned to France, working for several reputable upholsterers and interior design firm Les Tenturies, where he perfected his fabric walling skills & upholstery techniques within the luxury hotel industry. Armand then spent a period in Myanmar (Burma) where he gained experience as a workshop manager.
Twenty five years on and Armand now has his own workshop Armand Verdier- Fine Upholstery in Cheddington, Buckinghamshire where his work is in high demand from antique dealers, interior designers, and private individuals who demand the very highest craftsmanship.
Armand's work is synonymous with crisp unfaltering execution and since 2013, alongside his work and commissions, this French Master upholsterer has been teaching, explaining, and demonstrating the techniques involved in his specialty - French Traditional Upholstery.
Apart from the occasional visit from his former École Boulle tutor, Armand is the only person in the United Kingdom teaching the art of French Upholstery.
Franco-American Bruno Paulin Lopez has been upholstering for over forty years.
After graduating in 1978, Bruno worked in different high end upholstery shops throughout Paris, in the first arrondissements providing furniture upholstery for the Bibliotheque Nationale, and in the 16th and 8th arrondissements curating private collections. He then secured a position at the Ritz Hotel, Place Vendome, fabricating, managing, and maintaining the different stylistic decors of the executive suites as well as the period rooms.
In the early 80s, Bruno moved to the United States to further his studies in other academic fields. He opened his studio in Massachusetts and quickly established himself as a traditional continental upholsterer.
Throughout his career, Bruno has provided his services to the most discriminating private clientele and award-winning architects and interior design firms in New York City. These include Thierry W Despont, Studio Sofield, Robert Couturier, William Georgis, Alexandra Champalimaud, and many others. His acumen for detail and perfection brought him important contemporary interior commissions such as the Sydney Kimmel beach house in West Palm Beach and the Bill Gates residence in Seattle amongst others.
His collaborations with the Cincinnati Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of the City of New York, the Neue Gallery, The Abraham Lincoln House, The Morris Jumel Mansion in New York City, and the Park Avenue Armory, to which he was presented with an interior restoration award for his work in the Veteran's room, sealed his name for historical interior restoration.
Bruno has recently re-created the 1810 interiors of the Morris Jumel Mansion, curating all window treatments and the Empire style furniture, as well as being the resident Upholsterer for the Park Avenue Armory curating various 19th Century upholstered pieces, notably a rare set of chairs designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Bruno has taught at the North Bennett Street School and the British School Of Upholstered Furniture. Bruno has lectured regularly about Traditional Upholstery at the General Society for Mechanics and Tradesman and the Parson School of Design.
Bruno is currently busy teaching and upholstering in his upstate NY studio.
Gareth has been working as an upholsterer for 27 years. He gained his training on the shop floor, working in various workshops in England and Wales, and is versed in many aspects of furniture making from cabinet work to mattress making. Early in his career, producing work for the National Trust and English Heritage properties.
Gareth started his own company in 2004 and in this time has taken commissions and private work for high end interior design companies, bespoke furniture makers, private collectors, antique dealers, embassies, and museums.
Gareth is now a Director and full time tutor at the British School of Upholstered Furniture in Oxfordshire, UK where he teaches the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) Diploma program. He is also the lead tutor for the Advancements in Traditional Upholstery Diploma, run in association with the Guild of Traditional Upholsterers (GTU). Gareth is also the course writer for Upholstery Education.
During the 2020/21 Covid-19 lockdowns, Gareth ran a series of successful lectures on furniture history to students across the UK and America. All were received with great appreciation.
In October 2020, Gareth stood down from his role as Chairman of the Guild of Traditional Upholsterers and now fulfills the role of Vice-Chairman.
In March 2023, Gareth was awarded the prestigious Master Upholders Certificate by the Worshipful Company of Upholders of the City of London, where a trade committee looked at his working career, practical work, references from clients, and his services to the trade.
Although a full time educator, Gareth still takes on commissions from select clients, predominantly focusing on the decorative arts from 1840-1950.
Gareth is a natural communicator, he can adapt his teaching methods to each individual student's requirements. He provides a relaxed, informal yet informative learning experience. He has a wealth of design and upholstery knowledge and his passion for sharing skills is infectious.
Greg is an international award winning Master Upholsterer with an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience.
After first training as a cabinet maker, Greg found that his talents were more suited to the art of upholstery.
So Greg went back to college and studied Furniture Design with upholstery as the main element. His tutor was luckily, none other than Master Upholsterer David James (author of "Upholstery A Complete Course", "Upholstery Techniques & Projects" and many more textbooks still used throughout the upholstery world today).
Greg has since gone on to be named the best upholsterer no less than three times, by winning the acclaimed International Award in Traditional Upholstery. In 2007 Greg was made a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Upholders and was given the freedom of the City of London. In 2019 Greg was also presented with the Master Upholder Award from the Master of the Worshipful Company of Upholders.
For the past 29 years, Greg has been running his own highly successful business, Cottage Upholstery from a converted barn in a small village in the leafy Oxfordshire countryside in England. He has also been passing his knowledge and talents on to new upholsterers.
Previous teaching positions include 11 years at Buckingham New University, with the Upholstery Conservation students. Teaching the AMUSF ( The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers) accredited diploma at Rycotewood Furniture Centre and more recently becoming one of the principal tutors at The British School Of Upholstered Furniture, which he co-owns with Gareth Rees.
Greg has worked for the Royal Collection, several historic palaces, The Wallace Collection, and many National Trust properties throughout the United Kingdom and is currently an upholsterer to the Palace of Westminster.
Iain Stephens has more than 29 years of experience, in fact, a lot more, as his upholstery journey started as a youngster working alongside his Great Uncle and both of his Grandfathers, undertaking furniture restoration and recovering basic chairs. Upholstery started as a way to supplement his income as a young undergraduate and then progressed into a passion that spans an enormous range of interests and experiences. Iain has lectured at the Universities in Taiwan and South Africa, and taught all levels of the AMUSF (Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers).
Iain started his formal upholstery training in the UK, drawn by the magic of springs and traditional stitching. He started training, following sequential AMUSF courses, whilst being apprenticed under two French Master Upholsterers over three years. Such were his skills that he began to tutor year 1 & 2 AMUSF students in both practical and theoretical aspects of upholstery, whilst only in his second apprenticeship year. Iain also offered in-house courses including domestic seating, lampshades, headboards, and ottoman boxes. He benefited from working in a commercial workshop that offered both modern and traditional techniques to meet the needs of seating and furnishings for restaurants, bars, and hotels as well as private clients.
After relocating to Oxford, Iain continued to teach the new revised AMUSF qualification levels 1-3 whilst undertaking extensive traditional upholstery work and training his apprentice.
Over the years Iain has gained enormous experience in many aspects of upholstery, not least of which is his extensive knowledge of working with and restoring leather. He has experience in hand coloring and hide finishing for both new and restoration work. He has restored luggage fitting out interiors, stud work and has experience with creating and restoring a range of equestrian tack. His skills include Riempie and cane work in conjunction with a passion for Cape Dutch furniture.
Before taking up his latest position as Senior Conservator and Restorer of Upholstery at the Royal Household, Iain worked within the Farley Conservation Workshops which are an integral part of the Farley group, which specializes in the hire of original antique pieces to both the film and television industries. Iain was responsible for all aspects of upholstery, both traditional and modern, from the frame up as well as the maintenance/restoration of all furniture acquisitions and furniture in the collection. He has experience in the conservation and restoration of weaving and embroidery, tapestries on both furniture and hangings, beadwork fur, and period clothing. Recently Iain has now been given the privilege to serve as an AMUSF verifier within the UK.
Rachael South is a third generation Master chair caner and seat weaver, she grew up in her Father's workshop, which was situated in the London Borough of Harrow, he was a chair caner and Upholsterer who had learned his skills from his Father. Rachael was taught caning as a Teenager and continued to hone her skills while studying for her Textile degree. After her degree Rachael went on to work in the Passementerie business before finally setting up her own business: Rachael South
Rachael has taught leisure upholstery and chair caning courses for many years, first at a local school and then at the London Metropolitan University where she currently teaches the AMUSF qualification (Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers) and is the Upholstery Course organizer, together with teaching longer Woven Chair Seating classes at the London Met and West Dean College.
In her studio in East London Rachael works on fine antiques, modern restoration, contemporary experimental seat weaving, and private commissions. She uses traditional materials for chair caning, hand twisted rush seating, seagrass, and Danish paper cord. She also makes woven seats on new and restored frames from non-traditional materials such as leather and wire.
Rachael often works on commissions and collaborations with designers and has had her work exhibited. Recently Rachael did some restoration work for the William Morris Gallery in London and two of her original pieces have now been acquired by the Museum Of London, to be part of their permanent collection.
You will also see Rachael on the extremely popular BBC TV/Netflix TV series " The Repair Shop" as the resident caning expert.