Second Sitters is Hannah Stanton and Jude Dennis, both practicing upholsterers. Together they promote independent UK and international upholsterers through publications, exhibitions, collaborative working and education days
Hannah Stanton is a designer, award winning upholsterer and author. Much of her work incorporates elements of memory and place alongside carefully considered material combinations. Her early upholstered pieces concealed engraved boxes containing salvaged fabric & mementos – time capsules for future custodians.
Having studied at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Hannah forged a successful design career before retraining as an upholsterer. Following a series of well documented commissions, she was approached to write a book on the subject. This lead to Second Sitters, a series of co-curated exhibitions borne out her desire to question the very nature of upholstery and its position within the worlds of art, design and craft.
Jude’s unique take on her upholstery skills brings a playfulness and humour to this traditional craft, simultaneously celebrating and subverting. Although the stitches, materials and techniques she uses are rooted in tradition her creations are most certainly not. Since graduating in 2009 from the Upholstery course at the Cass, London Metropolitan University, Jude has been slowly developing her own idiosyncratic approach to upholstery, deconstructing the craft, bastardising its techniques, combining different craft processes, playing and creating new ways of working/upholstering. She tests established ways of thinking through her carefully considered production choices.
Starting out in the disposable world of art departments, set building, prop making, and on site styling, a need to create something with longevity sent her back to study upholstery, at what is now The Cass where she gained a City and Guilds. Her work has been recognised in the industry, winning several awards for her excellence of execution and forward thinking approach to upholstery design. Jude’s Stacker no.1 has been acquired by the Frederick Parker Collection, and is displayed alongside over 300 years of British furniture design and upholstery history.
As well as producing her own upholstery ‘experiments’ Jude collaborates with architects, artists and makers to realise bespoke commission pieces for both commercial and private clients. An experienced technician and teacher, in 2016 she became an Associate Fellow of the Higher education Academy.