We would like to congratulate liveryman Wendy Shorter-Blake for being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Wendy was bestowed the honour for her services to upholstery, in recognition of her unparalleled craftsmanship and tireless work in ensuring her skills are passed on to current and future generations.
Wendy was nominated by the Heritage Crafts Association.
Wendy is not only a highly skilled craftswoman herself but she has devoted her life to ensuring that the skills of upholstery are passed on. Over the last 13 years she has set up a multi-award-winning training centre providing the very best possible standards of teaching based on her meticulous research of traditional techniques and the history of furniture.
Wendy was appointed director of training for the Association of Master Upholsters and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) in 2008, putting her at the forefront of training provision and development of the Association’s qualification standards. In the last three years she has developed those standards into the current Diploma course, thus ensuring that hundreds of students can attain the highest level of qualification in the craft. She promoted a schools programme where sixth-formers from local schools were given the opportunity to train for an upholstery qualification, and personally sponsored one school leaver for more advanced training.
Wendy has also worked closely with the charity Fine Cell Work which offers craft training within prison and ongoing support and training for ex-offenders. In 2020 she will become the third female Master of the Upholders’ Company.
She has been a liveryman of The Furniture Makers’ Company since October 2016, after joining as a freeman in September 2015. She is a great supporter of our education initiatives, regularly giving her time to support annual events such as the Student Industry Tour and Young Furniture Makers exhibition.