Kirsty Hull - The Wirral's eco-friendly furniture creator

PUBLISHED: 18:09 05 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:06 20 February 2013

Kirsty Hull

Kirsty Hull

Furniture maker Kirsty Hull loves to breathe new life into treasured items as well as creating embroidered pieces to last a lifetime WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON

The print version of this article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Cheshire Life

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Kirsty Hull was always destined to be creative. When there are several generations of your family whove enjoyed success in artistic pursuits you wouldnt expect anything less.

This is certainly true for hand-embroidered furniture maker Kirsty. Her great-great-grandfather was the watercolour artist James Paterson, one of the reputed Glasgow Boys. This group, brought together by a shared passion for realism and naturalism, were known for adding to the wealth of impressionist and post-impressionist painting.

Kirsty, who lives in Burton, Wirral, followed the same path as James Paterson at first and studied fine art at Glasgow School of Art. After graduation she worked in sales to earn some money. But a little over 18 months ago, fatigued with long hours and little job satisfaction, she returned to her craft.

She said: There have been artists in my family for generations and it has always been a big part of my life. But I needed to earn money so I had to leave it behind for a while. Id always done some upholstery for myself and I was self-taught. I got fed up working in sales so my boyfriend, John, told me to go for it and I launched Kirsty Hull Furniture.

I really enjoy the hand embroidery of all my pieces. It has a link to the fine art I studied at university and I feel like Im doing what I was meant to.

The 29-year-olds masterpieces may not be created with oils and paintbrushes but her furniture is a work of art. She restores old frames from chairs and chaise longues as well as day beds. She scours antiques dealers, charity and junk shops and then hand embroiders the materials she sources from around the country. She is inspired by several artists including Antoni Tapies, a Catalan painter. Kirsty loves his ability to turn everyday objects into something beautiful.

She said: My work is an extension of that. The furniture frames when I first see them are a mess but I bring them back to life. It is also about doing it sensitively so that the pieces still show their history. I spend a lot of time and effort producing the hand embroidered materials for the furniture but it is worth it because of the end result.

Kirsty creates her furniture in a tiny brick building in her garden and uses traditional upholstery methods. Her work can also include private commissions where she works on family heirlooms and restores them to their former grandeur. It is this part of the job she really enjoys.

She said: I love the idea of taking something worn and a bit neglected and giving it a new lease of life. Im using materials that in most occasions would have ended up on the scrap heap.

Ive been lucky enough to work on some fantastic commissions too. I did one chair for a woman using pyjama fabric. They were her fathers and she wanted to use them as a reminder of him. I did an amazing day bed too. It was about 300 years old. It was pretty large, took a lot of work and was a big challenge. The physical work alone was demanding but I was really pleased with it when Id finished.

Kirsty also uses reproduction frames to create totally new items of furniture and to create her own collections. She is hoping to release a new collection of lampshades and headboards soon.

She also has her sights set on the Liverpool Design Festival, being held this month at St Georges Hall in the city.

She said: Ive got a few busy months ahead. Its all very exciting and things are going fantastically well. I love being able to make old furniture beautiful again and even with the new pieces, they may not be recycled, but Im creating something that will last for decades.

Kirsty will be one of several designers at this months Liverpool Design Festival and Show. The event, which takes place from October 6th 9th, is a celebration of contemporary design. The show, which features around 100 independent makers of furniture, ceramics, lighting, jewellery and fashion, takes place at St Georges Hall in the city.

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