Master 2020 – 2022 Mrs Wendy Shorter-Blake MBE
After twenty years working in the film industry as PA to film director Stanley Kubrick, and then as a freelance production co-ordinator, I returned to my love of upholstery and sewing. Since gaining my professional qualifications twenty five years ago, I worked on private commissions before going into teaching advanced upholstery at London Metropolitan University and West Herts College. In 2006 I was made redundant and set up my own upholstery and soft furnishings training centre near St Albans in Hertfordshire.
I joined the Association of Master upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) in 1999 and in 2008 I was appointed Director of Training, representing the crafts on various industry and Government bodies. In 2010 my book “Soft Furnishings: Professional Results” was published. I have received several awards for my work and training and in 2013 received the Craft Skills Award presented by HRH the Prince of Wales. In January 2020 I had the honour of being awarded an MBE for Services to Upholstery in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
I became a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Upholders in 2009 and joined the Court in 2016. I am also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers. I have worked closely with the AMUSF and the Worshipful Company of Upholders (archaic word for upholsterers) for many years, developing their suite of qualifications and have encouraged and supported seventeen other AMUSF training centres around the country.
The students at my training centre practise both modern and traditional upholstery and soft furnishing skills and are encouraged to use their creativity to stamp their own individual identity into a piece. Our students achieve a high percentage of distinctions for their work and examples are regularly exhibited at various shows and exhibitions. I take great delight in encouraging and developing a new generation of professional craftsmen and women, many of whom have also gone on to do great things. I am immensely proud of all of them.
I met my husband Steve in the late eighties whilst working in the film industry. We live in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and have a daughter, Louise. Steve also has two daughters from his first marriage, Laura and Victoria, and we have four grandchildren. Steve is also a Freeman of the Upholders.
I am very fortunate to be in the position of being able to work on my hobby and passion every day. Steve enjoys many games of golf and driving his Jensen CV8, and the grandchildren keep us busy the rest of the time.