Mark Roper, In-House Upholsterer
We asked Mark to explain how he works from the designer’s brief to the completed article, about the process and how he got into it:
Q. When you get a brief from one of the designers, how do you start planning the design?
A. A lot of the time I will think about the design over a number of days, then I will come up with a few ways of doing the job and sometimes, when it’s a complicated or totally new design, I will try it on small scale to see if my method works.
Q. How are the headboards constructed?
A. Most of the headboards are made using MDF which has replaced solid timber as a low-cost alternative. It can be cut smoothly into any shape and new technology now allows for the recycling of the wood fibres and we get to keep more of our lovely trees! They are then covered with padding and the fabric the designer has specified. If the fabric is patterned, I have to work out the repeats so the pattern matches perfectly on the finished article. Lastly come the trims, for example studs or fringes.
Q. How long have you been doing this and what got you into it?
A. I started doing this in 1989 and it was a family member who suggested I give it a go, and I am glad I did because I now work with some great people.
Q. What is the most ambitious design you have tackled?
A. That is a hard question as I have done a fair few, but I would say the symmetrical ones can be tricky.
Q. Tell us what else you have going on in the workshop presently?
A. There is lots happening in my room at the moment, I have quite a few winged headboards to do in the coming weeks, which I enjoy as they look fantastic when done. Its also become very fashionable in the last couple of years to have massive, sometimes wall-sized headboards and I have made a number of those!