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Kelly Swallow – a wing and a chair

The classic wing back chair is all but forgotten in many homes up and down the land in favour of the ubiquitous “L-shaped sofa” of which I am personally not a fan. The wing back chair is a British icon and possibly all too often associated with an older and more traditional interior. Huge thanks then go to Kelly Swallow; with attention to detail, patchwork skill and upholstery oozing from her pores she breathes life into old pieces of furniture and yes you guessed it the wing back is a staple.

Utilising a multitude of vintage fabrics and old clothes, the rugby shirts are a triumph! Kelly works with her material, this is not make-do-and-mend this is make-it-special-until-the-end! The dyspraxic appearance of the more colourful pieces certainly belie their intricate and painstaking planning, patchwork is not easy! There is something of the modern Mrs Haversham and yet something of the toy shop, the look is contemporary yet the design and technique traditional. Kelly Swallow patchwork chairs are impressive and characterful and with one of these you can be sure to avoid your house looking like a photo-fit from the Next catalogue. Hooray for the unique!

I spoke with Kelly about her work:

1. What inspires you?I adore fabrics, the textures, colours, patterns, that is my complete passion, always has been! I’m inspired by lovely old things which have a story and a history, I’ve always been fascinated by where things have come from, what was their previous use. So, I like to use the fabrics to tell the chair’s story.2. Where do you produce your work? I’m very lucky to have a home studio and workshop so my work and family life overlap – hopefully in a good way!3. How is your work produced? ie the process, traditional or modern construction techinques?I have a huge collection of fabrics and am always sourcing beautiful new and vintage fabrics and lovely old chairs with character and style. Some are antique, some vintage. We reupholster each chair using the techniques which would have been used originally in that particular era – so put back as we find but with the addition of a stunning collection of fabrics.

4. What are you working on at the moment?Over the last month or two my work has ranged from a huge sofa for a stage set, to a chair for TV, to putting the finishing touches to a collection of chairs for a client which is part of a house redesign, while also preparing my next project with lots of lovely muted shades of green and blue.You can also follow Kelly on twitter @patchworkchairs