Walpole Editorial | The Need of a Restoration Revival by Roddy Clarke 

Growing up, watching my father in his studio as he patiently applied meticulous detail to every ceramic restoration project he undertook, I became naively accustomed to a mindset of repairing, restoring and renovation. What I didn’t realise at the time, was that this age-old skill was falling out of favour with the public, and the brazen lure of fast trends and fashions had caught their eye.

As we move into another new decade, I now realise that my childhood experience with restoration was unique. If something broke, my father would mend it. And that went for anything. Furniture, ceramics and musical instruments were just some of the items he put his passion into. Specialising in ceramic and porcelain restoration himself, I now see the crucial skills he has which are in urgent need of saving and boxing for future generations to experience.

Whilst the skills themselves represent a craft filled with patience and dedication, the need for restoration is vital in the cutback on mass-production and the movement towards a circular economy. This only starts with a shift in our attitude to investment. Adopting a mindset of buying less, but of better quality, challenges every purchase we make. What is my purpose or reason for buying? If I fall out of love with it, or it becomes damaged, can it be reused, repurposed or restored? Embracing inherently sustainable habits sets a platform on which we, as consumers, can build collections over time in a conscious manner.

Brands also play a fundamental role in this. Opening up career paths in the world of restoration will automatically encourage developmental education to increase, especially after its reduction over the last few decades. Reigniting the industry in this way is vital in ensuring the correct skills are obtained and learnt from those currently in practice, maintaining the quality of restoration to be upheld.

I believe restoration is something which can, and will, be revived over the coming years. Consumers and brands are becoming increasingly aware of their impact and the passion to conserve special pieces within our homes is returning. Opting for restoration over replacement is one simple method in taking responsibility and, in doing so, creates spaces filled with personal memoirs preserved with reverence for generations to come.

Throughout 2020 I will be working on a number of projects to highlight the importance of restoration. For discussions, ideas and collaboration opportunities please contact me www.roddyclarke.com / @roddyclarkedesign

Furniture Restoration Apprenticeship Standard at Risk Without Urgent Financial Support

The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) is urgently appealing for manufacturers to support vital work needed to renew the level 2 Furniture Restorer Apprenticeship Standard. With restoration such a vital cog in the workings of a circular economy, the need to revive the industry is imperative, especially engaging the younger generation to regard it as a viable career pathway.

The current level 2 Furniture Manufacturer Standard is the mainstay of apprenticeship training for the UK furnishing industry with around 1000 apprentices having been trained through its 10 pathways since its launch in 2016.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE), the controlling authority on apprenticeship standards, has said that the current Furniture Manufacturer standard must be reviewed urgently as it does not meet its new guidelines. This means that the existing single standard with 10 pathways must be replaced by separate standards for each specialist occupation if government funded skills training is to be maintained.

Based on demand for the existing apprenticeship pathways, FIESTA is proposing to rationalise the current standard, creating five new level 2 furniture standards that will meet the new criteria laid down by IFATE:

Fitted Furniture Installer

Furniture Manufacturer

Modern Upholsterer

Furniture Finisher

Wood Machinist (incorporating Furniture CNC Specialist)

Fiesta undertook a campaign to win support from manufacturers for the other Standards and has received support from two (Silentnight and DFS) who will respectively support the development of a Bed Manufacturer Standard and Modern Furniture Service Repairer.

This unfortunately means that currently, as it stands, the Furniture Restorer pathway is one of two which will not be converted to new Standards and will therefore lapse.

The approximate cost of creating a new Standard is approximately £3,500 to £5,000 each but working groups also need to be created to help develop the standard and end point assessment.

Within the world of luxury, restoration plays an important role in ensuring furniture can last for generations to come preserving the personal stories which lovingly fill our homes.

FIESTA would welcome approaches from interested parties who would be willing to support the development of a new Furniture Restorer Standard both financially and through participation in the working group.

For those who would like to support or would like further information please contact Roddy Clarke via email – contact@roddyclarke.com