The Wills Collection – a superb selection of handcrafted furniture; each piece crafted and upholstered traditionally in our modern studio here in Melbourne. Wills Furniture is an iconic and time honoured manufacturer of upholstered furniture with over 80 years experience; offering a superb selection of both Classic and Contemporary design in sofas, armchairs, occasional chairs, dining chairs, ottomans, bedheads and more.
When Interior Designers and Decorators choose upholstered furniture as a centrepiece or key design element, it’s always invariably a Wills selection. Unique, handcrafted with the finest of materials, a Wills sofa or chair not only looks wonderful, it’s simply a delight to sit upon – comfort, luxury and impeccable design – a true masterpiece.
Upholsterers used to be called ‘Upholders’. In the 18th Century it referred more to those who repaired furniture rather than the artisans who created new pieces.
Upholders often doubled as interior decorators, taking full responsibility for the overall look and feel of a room, providing the aspect/s desired by the home owner and householder. Such craftsmen were members of the ‘Worshipful Company of Upholders’. Originally these artisans provided upholstery, textiles and fittings for funerals (perhaps this may provide insight into some of the sombre interiors of the times).
As it was, generally a cabinet maker would pair or partner an ‘upholder’ to provide what came to be known as ‘Traditional Upholstery’.
Over the centuries, traditional upholstery evolved. The padding and covering of chairs, seats and sofas became recognised as an accepted craft, long before sewing machines, synthetic fabrics or various types of foam were ever available.
Traditional methodologies for upholstery involve using a solid wood frame or platform (webbed). It can also involve various kinds of springs, lashings, stuffing (animal hair and feathers), grasses and coir, wools, hessians, scrims, bridle ties, stuffing ties, blind stitching, flocks and wadding, all built up by hand.
By the early 17th Century, chair seats were being padded if in a somewhat basic fashion. The shapes and styles of upholstery we now consider ‘classic’ (both the shapes and manufacturing techniques were popularised in the 17th Century), but remained the province of the very wealthy. New techniques gave greater control with the ‘stuffing’ enabling further definition in the upright and sloping lines of popular furniture.
The Victorian era saw excessive stuffing and padding pay homage to the fashionable opulence of the era.
And as the craft evolved with stainless steel springs and new lashing techniques, the seats, backs and arms were further built up, independent of the solid frame’s shape. More complex stuffings, elaborately shaped rolls and scrolls, with different fabrics allowing soft padded shapes by means of buttoning saw new styles and shapes evolve until we have the types of furniture we now feature in our exclusive Wills Collection.
The Wills team faithfully follow the techniques described, handed down over the centuries from the original ‘Upholders’ to today’s specialist upholstery artisans.
All Wills Furniture is handmade faithfully to those tried and true techniques. For further information please leave your details here or call us on 03 9815 0111 for assistance or to book an inspection of our Wills Collection at our showroom located at 6 Guest St, Hawthorn 3122.
Wills Furniture – It’s simply the best.