Melanie Porter

"I want to make, not just design"

Tell us what you make

Traditional craft-based furniture and pieces for interiors – but with a contemporary aesthetic. I’ve been doing this for ten years – mainly bespoke commissions. But I also have pieces for sale through my website.

What’s the starting point?

Always a classic craft process. For example, I might traditionally restore a vintage upholstery but add hand-knitted and felted panels. Or I might spin yarn for a one-off giant knit throws in textured patterns. Every piece is truly unique. Over time I have become bolder with colour.

Inspirations?

Simply craft in general. I am constantly seeing work, investigating how it’s made and whether I can adapt the skills.

Fill in your background

I’ve always been a maker. There is a picture of me at 18 months old sitting playing in some fleece whilst my mother is running a spinning class. I went to Central Saint Martin’s and Nottingham Trent to study fashion design, and had a career with several well-known brands. Then it hit me that I wanted to make something and not just design it – that was a crucial moment for me.

Where do your work?

I have a day-to-day space in my home in South London where I can spin and knit for small projects in the evenings – or just a few hours when I can. I also have a larger studio where I can go for a few days at a time. Organisation is key. I’m not naturally tidy while I’m working so I need to be able to put everything away easily.

A favourite tool?

A mallet my grandfather used for upholstery. It’s too heavy for me and the head falls off, but I just love it.

Future plans?

I’m working on pieces with a furniture manufacturer so I can offer more contemporary pieces.

Words of advice?

Do look at alternative end uses for traditional crafts. I had more fun when I thinking knitting was just for for clothing and started to us it for upholstery and lighting.