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  • Writer's pictureRobin

Dispelling the Spelling

While I have a few fun projects in the works, before writing about those, I wanted to first dispell the mystery of my business name’s spelling. The word “upholstress” is intended, and for those who know me, know most everything I do is with much thought. It’s a process.

Once I decided to start the upholstery business, I surrounded myself with books on decorating, textiles, furniture refinishing, and upholstery techniques. One of the first books I read was the self-authored “Mark Hampton on Decorating” – a delightful collection of columns for House & Garden and self-illustrated with darling watercolors of his own projects. (Wallpapered rooms in large bold stripes, abundant pink English cottage roses, poufy-skirted tufted armchairs, all reveal that his articles were written in the height of the eighties, yet his decorating is timeless, tasteful, and dreamy. And by the way, I certainly got schooled by Hampton on the number ways you can call the color red, "red.") All the while reading this, the back of my mind was ready to receive business name ideas.

A particular statement by Hampton struck me; in discussing seating, he says: “If you stick with styles that are to some extent rooted in the past, you can bring your sofas and chairs forward and backward in time as fashion dictates without throwing them away. One of the essentials is to find a good upholsterer.” My brain instantly flashed back to a conversation I had years ago with a local shop owner about her lovely upholstered pieces. She bragged, "I have a good upholsterer." (Dots connecting...)

Hampton continues, “With his help, decorative miracles can be worked...” "'His' help?” I assumed the author used the masculine pronoun as a generic to imply “his” or “her.” However, having also read several other upholstery books published around or before that date, also written by men, it is fair to say the profession was male dominated. And so then maybe a little feminist voice deep inside exclaimed, “Hey wait! What about women upholsterers? And wouldn’t they really be called “upholsteresses?”

I put down the book to pick up the computer and Google search “upholsteress.” And it was legit! (Because everything is legit on the internet, right?) But then I thought it’s kind of a long word and may be confusing for people to spell, because even when you want to say “upholsteress,” it’s probably going to come out as “upholstress.” I further found that “upholstress” is an archaic form meaning a female upholsterer. To me it conjures the image of a wholesome young lady dotingly making a little pin cushion seat for her diminutive dressing room chair using a sliver of silk textile imported from France or Italy.

And as simple as all that... THAT was the process - involving all of those little inspirations - that led to my creation of The Good Upholstress name and its unique spelling.

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