Jay & Co Armchairs - with Jay Blades

The RSN Embroidery Studio joined forces with Jay Blades, the face of the hit BBC One Show The Repair Shop, to breathe new life into two iconic chairs.

Jay Blades and the expert team at the RSN Embroidery Studio first met at Decorex International in 2021 and over the next year we worked together to upcycle two Parker Knoll chairs, redesigning them with innovation and creativity to give them a new story to tell. 

The Parker Knoll chairs were chosen as the company share the same strong values as the Royal School of Needlework, using a highly skilled team of expert craftsmen and hand making the best British product to the highest standard and quality.  Like the Royal School of Needlework, Parker Knoll has also been established for over 150 years. 

It has been such a great experience to work together with the RSN, not only do I love to collaborate, but I also got to learn some embroidery! This chair has brought a pair of well-known Parker Knoll designs up to date with the use of wood restoration, wool fabric from Camira and beautiful embroidery.

Jay Blades

First, a unique Art Nouveau design from the Royal School of Needlework’s Archive & Collection was selected as an inspirational image for the backs of the chair.  The design was pre-1920s and focused on nature, featuring an exotic bird in a fruit tree. The next step was to choose a colour scheme. Blue, green and terracotta, with a touch of copper and gold supplied the perfect combination of earth tones and natural metals.  The design was then only part stitched to convey the effect of climate change and deterioration of the planet. 

The same design was featured on both chairs, but with a different stitched emphasis.  On one chair, the brightly coloured tail of the bird was hand embroidered using a vibrant terracotta thread and couched metal thread.  On the second chair, the quince fruit was the focus with a Pearl Purl detailing. Both designs used the hand embroidery technique of Appliqué. 

The team at Jay & Co expertly reupholstered the chairs, providing two stylish, luxurious chairs that offer the ultimate comfort.  As a final touch, a small band of bright orange was added to one leg of each chair, the Jay & Co trade mark.

Jay Blades learning to hand embroider at the RSN Embroidery Studio
Jay Blades learning to hand embroider at the RSN Embroidery Studio