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Our story

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The Traditional Upholstery School was founded in 2016 by Joanna Heptinstall to teach upholstery skills and lampshade making. Courses and workshops are designed to suit those looking to re-train and learn to upholstery to a professional standard, and also those who just want a creative and rewarding hobby. Our characterful, light and spacious workroom in a Wiltshire village provides a creative and sociable teaching space. We aim to offer a friendly and supportive environment which allows students to flourish. Our small class sizes allow all our students to thrive and produce high quality work, whether enjoying a satisfying hobby or working towards a new career. 

meet Joanna

Joanna trained as an upholsterer 22 years ago and has enjoyed a successful career restoring furniture for private individuals and interiors companies, working from her studio at home. She is proud to be a member of the Association of Master Upholsterers & Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) and to deliver its three-stage diploma. She is the main tutor at Traditional Upholstery School. 

Alongside upholstery, making and restoring lampshades is a major part of Joanna's creative output. She is author of Sewing Lampshades, published by Search Press, award-winning independent craft book publisher.

... and the teaching team


Lindsay, Mel and Rowena regularly tutor our classes, often teaching alongside Joanna. They are all working upholsterers, working in their own workrooms when not at the Traditional Upholstery School. They each have their own creative methods for helping students get to the nitty gritty of cuts and corners, and ensuring that creativity flourishes. They are all cheery, helpful and lovely people too!

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