Meet the Maker - Harper & Harper

Friday, July 11, 2014
If you have visited our shops recently you couldn't fail to notice the beautiful furniture we have on sale. These beauties have been sourced, and painstakingly upcycled in a variety of wonderful colours and designs by the talented duo Harper & Harper.  We caught up with them recently to find out more...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Harper & Harper are a husband and wife team, Angela & Russell Harper, based in Bristol. We create unique upcycled pieces of furniture and decorative items by lovingly restoring and hand painting vintage finds. 
Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
I'm a mum of two so don't have time to do much else! I am a parent governor at my daughters school. I LOVE to sing and for the past two years i have been singing in a local gospel choir which is really uplifting and so good for the soul! We like to get involved with our local community and have recently helped out with the renovation of a local landmark pub where the neighbourhood has pulled together to help get it back up and running. 
When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
I have always been a creative person and studied art throughout my education. I have worked as a designer for 14 years and after taking time out to raise my family I decided that I wanted to do something more creative and hands on than sitting in front of my computer. After trying a furniture painting course with Annie Sloan paints I felt that I had found my 'thing' and i was hooked! Russell has worked as a Modelmaker since leaving University and has extensive knowledge of materials. His expertise means that we can re-furbish broken pieces of furniture and also create a professional finish by spray painting furniture, which is more suited to the retro pieces than the hand painted distressed look. He also has the ability to create customised stencils which makes each piece of furniture that we upcycle truly unique. 

What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
I love that each piece of furniture that we create is unique. The artisan quality of the chalk paint, the beautiful colours that it comes in and the different finishes and looks that you can create with it are so inspiring. I have always loved hunting for a bargain at antique fairs, auctions and charity shops and seeing the potential in transforming old un-loved pieces of furniture into something beautiful really excites me. Upcycling furniture is also a great way to reuse materials and reduce our carbon footprint. 
Where does your inspiration come from? 
Each piece that we upcycle is individual and has its own history. I like to place each item that we find in our home and view it for a while until inspiration grabs me. So far every upcycle that we have done has looked completely different and has inspired its own colour scheme and finish (unfortunately this means that i have had to invest in a rainbow of paint colours!) 
Describe your studio or workspace? 
I'm currently doing all my painting in our house. Luckily we have a garage which has become our storage facility and means that we don't have to keep everything inside. We are hoping to convert the garage into a workshop which will be fantastic but in the meantime my workspace is the kitchen table (which luckily is very large!) or outdoors if it's a sunny day! 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
My Beci Whatley painting - I spotted one of her beautiful pieces in the window of Bristol Fine Art and had to jump out of the car and take a picture of it. It inspired me to get my paints back out and step away from the computer. I couldn't create anything as wonderful as her canvases but it was the creative spark that led to me trying my hand at painting furniture and reminded me not to be afraid of colour! 
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
Have a coffee - my answer to most problems :) 
Where would you like to be in ten years? 
I would like to have our business established and be making a living out of doing something that i love and that fits in with family life. However it's very hard not to become attached to all the pieces we create so in ten years we may also need to move to a bigger house to make space for all the furniture!

Thank you guys!  Your furniture really does make us smile and the use of colour is a perfect match for our colourful shops too!  You can see Haper & Harper's lovely creations in both our Made in Britain and Paper Scissors Stone shops.

Paper Scissors Stone & Made in Britain
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm

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