Meet our visiting artist Lee Deary

This is the first in a series of interviews with our resident artists here at Unique and those who regularly visit us to run workshops. Today we are talking to Lee Deary from Finch and Toad.

Please Introduce Yourself My name is Lee Deary and my company Finch and Toad was established in 2014 offering a bespoke Traditional and Modern upholstery service along with craft workshops. Courses run at venues in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

Tell us a bit about your background as a Creative Practitioner

My background is in Spatial Design where I started a career in film and advertising, creating sets and props as a freelance model maker and stylist. For the past 15 years I have worked in education teaching Product Design. Upholstery was a trade that my great grandfather passed on to me from a young age. In 2013 I became certified in Traditional Upholstery and Soft Furnishings through the AMUSF and trained by the Master Upholsterer Richard Hooper of Tresithick Upholstery in Cornwall.

Tell us about your work

It is very rare that I find time to upholster my own pieces as much of my work is client based . When I do I generally would focus on restoring pieces from 1930’s to 1960’s. I love Danish and Swedish furniture . When I work for clients all work undertaken uses upholstery methods that are respectful to the original chair and period.

Where do you search for creative inspiration?

Most of my ideas are inspired by the chair itself once stripped down and the intended function thought through. Simple lines and styles can be beautiful such as the work from Swedish designer Carl Malmeston.

What will your workshops at Unique Cottage Studios Involve?

Finch and Toad workshops are designed to enable novices to master basic upholstery skills and can be adapted to help more experienced upholsterers develop their skills if requested. Courses will run mainly at weekends but from September weekday courses will be available. Lamp shade making courses are great for anyone who would like to learn a new and very satisfying skill within a morning or afternoon.

How can we get in touch with you?

Contact : Lee Deary for all enquiries


Lee will next be at Unique Cottage Studios on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July for a traditional upholstery taster weekend. Find out more here

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