As I said yesterday I went to the Kravet showroom here in Atlanta to watch a chair being made not quite from scratch, but from a frame already constructed for the demonstration, and a salutary experience it was.
Given the role of upholstery in my life it's surprising to me I knew so little of how a chair, or sofa for that matter, is put together. Reading a company's catalogue with all its options takes a little time to understand but with the willing help of the showroom's staff you quickly learn: the frame options; the leg styles; walnut, cherry of espresso stain; skirt or no skirt; the fabric, etc - well, you get the point.
Today's demonstration was one the best I've seen - ever. The combination of the craftsman's explanations and skill, the VP of Sales for Furniture and Showrooms, Susan Lorenz's erudite exposition of Kravet's services to designers, together with questions from the audience was superb.
In my time, I've waited for celebrity designers to arrive an hour late, I've listened to presentations without a slide to illustrate even the time of day, international aristocrats peddling their latest books, and gobbledygook from so-called lifestyle gurus whose strictures when analyzed say nothing except about their capacity for self-publicity - but today's session, three hours (with lunch - including the best coleslaw I've ever had) and not a minute too long, was one of the best I've ever attended. In fact, for the first time ever the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes did not come to mind.
Every step in the making of this chair was accompanied by admonitions to come closer and watch what was happening. The audience of decorators and students were, as was I, charmed by the way this man worked and how he was able to answer any question from the audience. As you may gather I cannot speak too highly of this event.
Towards the end of the demonstration the completed chair was raffled and I'm a bit diffident about saying this, but I won it - the first time I've ever won anything in my life. In case you'd like to see which chair it is click here.
The master upholsterer, Steve Bolick. In tribute to him and all the unsung upholsterers in the factory, I want to say that previously I had a theoretical and superficial knowledge of upholstery but now I have real respect for the craftsmanship involved.
Below the label that sits on the deck of the chair. None of that "crafted with pride in ....." nonsense, just a statement of how it is - an American company supplying the design market with quality goods made in this country by people whose jobs have not been shipped offshore to save a buck or two.
Disclaimer: I don't work for Kravet in any capacity but some of my friends do.