Yup, that is me in a Mason Monterey bed!
I’m a native Californian, raised in Santa Paula, an agricultural community known for California citrus. I grew up working in my mother’s restaurant, known for chili and pies, from seven years on. In my dad’s manufacturing shop, where he created tools for the local harvesting and packing industry, I was able to tinker with anything, giving me experience in many areas of woodworking and metal objects, and giving me confidence in design and workmanship.
I moved to Oregon in my twenties to work in and eventually take over my brother-in-law’s upholstery firm, Flower’s Upholstery. It catered to general upholstery needs, but did not perform traditional upholstery. I learned from him, but my training lacked the necessary information for traditional application.
All that changed when I bought the business and began Mitchell Powell Furnishings. I hired two European trained upholstery journeymen who trained me in classical skills, and the thrust of my business changed permanently. I was hooked on the idea of reusing and repairing historic innards, and eventually, finishes. From there I bought used books and old tools, and continued to learn and practice.
I also collected vintage upholstered furniture from time to time for clients. Kate and I while I was in the Ashland studio, and our partnership changed the direction of the business even more.
Kate’s background in architecture gave her the idea to treat our business in the same manner, both in marketing and in-house. She contacted institutions, and as a result of the broader range of work, we also met and worked with other artisans and tradespeople: weavers, traditional woodworkers (from whom I learned woodworking and traditional finishes), and metal workers. Today in our studio and with a team of co-conservators, we have a multidimensional skills set rarely found in one firm, becoming MPF Conservation.
We are grateful and proud to be able to offer these skills for the preservation of objects which came from artisan’s hands with skills which should not be forgotten.
I usually am the one assessing items, above, while my partner Kate takes photos.
Furnishings which have weathered decades always have a personal story to tell. It doesn’t matter if it is upholstered or case-goods, antiquated or mid-century modern, there are always bits of physical evidence which betray its travels. Having the eyes to see this evidence allows me to read its story. Sharing this story with owners is always a joy.
Some clients have met our studio cats. Now they have their own page: see Catservators!