kEAVEN WILLA HARTT
Keaven Willa Hartt was born in Bar Harbor, Maine, raised in northeastern Vermont and now lives in beautiful Portland, Maine, with her husband and three dogs. She started her upholstery business, Willa Hartt, in the fall of 2019, with a small studio in her backyard and a serious passion for upholstery.
Keaven first moved to Portland to attend the Maine College of Art (MECA), where she graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Woodworking & Furniture Design. In addition to learning how to design and build furniture from the ground up, she completed her self-directed thesis in upholstery, restoring an 1800s loveseat. Her love of upholstery continued to evolve in her post-school years, as she worked on family pieces in her basement while she searched for more full-time work and upholstery education. She apprenticed at a store in Portland, eventually becoming their Chief Upholsteress. She also took a week-long intensive with Upholstery Education, studying the traditional style Tabouret Carre with Gareth Reese.
Keaven believes in advocating for inclusiveness in the trade and is eager to share what she knows with anyone interested to learn. She has offered workshops in upholstery basics to current students of the Woodworking BFA at MECA as well as students of the 9-month Comprehensive course at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. Keaven has also hosted several would-be upholsterers in her shop, teaching everything from slip-seats to box cushions. She joined the NUA at the beginning of 2021 and is excited to be part of a group of like-minded peers.
Kim has been the owner of Kim's Upholstery Shop in W. Lafayette, Indiana since 1999. Her previous experience includes serving in the U.S. Army after high school, where she trained at the Defense Language Institute and then continued school at Central Texas College in Killeen, Tx. After returning to Indiana, she pursued courses at Purdue University. She worked for Marsh Supermarkets as General Merchandise manager and Office Bookkeeper for 15 years, then co-owned an Italian restaurant while starting and raising a family. Taught by her grandmother to fashion custom slipcovers, Kim fell into the business of custom home furnishings including learning to upholster. It turned out to be a vocation she really loved, and had the added benefit of allowing her to be with her 4 children at home while working to support them, eventually moving the business to a retail space.
Kim taught cushion construction for Slipcover America from 2006 to 2009. Seeing a need for further peer support in the field of upholstery, she organized the Upholstery Fair in 2010, a 3-day conference with classes taught by prominent upholsterers and soft furnishers, and attended by tradespeople from around the US and Canada. She joined the board of the NUA in 2019 and currently serves as Vice President. Her upholstery training has included in person workshops and seminars by master upholsterers, and online courses.
Kuczynski is the owner and upholsterer of Stuffed & Tufted, located
in Baltimore, MD. Before jumping into an upholstery career, Sam was the
Props Artisan for a professional theatre, where she learned the basics
of upholstery and nurtured a love for recovering furniture. Upholstery
for the theatre is a bit different than for people's homes, but she has
created an education for herself by scouring books, the Internet, and by
taking furniture apart like a reverse instruction manual on how to put
it back together.
In just over four years, Sam has built a locally well-known business. She focuses primarily on residential work, but has upholstered furniture for museums, local shops, and also collaborated with furniture makers and designers.Sam is excited for the future of the upholstery industry, as it is not the dying trade everyone claims it to be. There are plenty of people with the knowledge, and Sam aims to help make that information more accessible to others.
Amy Petersen is the owner of Gray Duck Upholstery, LLC, a one-person workroom (with heavy-lifting help from her husband, Jim) located in Parker, Colorado. Her passion for upholstery started in 2011 after taking classes at a trade school in Denver.
Upholstery started as a hobby, became a side business, and turned into her full-time profession after selling her CPA practice in 2019. Amy is thankful that creating beautiful furniture and soft furnishings for the home is a much happier pursuit than preparing tax returns! Luckily, Amy loves a good road trip and has been able to travel to Kim’s Upholstery in Massachusetts, the Funky Little Chair in Minnesota, and Workroom Tech in North Carolina to continue learning. With her husband, Amy has five (nearly) grown kids and they enjoy traveling, playing cribbage, poker, trivia, and mahjong, and babysitting our grand-dogs.
Board Members at Large
Harmony Maraldo is the owner and upholsterer at Tack & Tuft. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and is also employed as the Head of Pricing & Packaging for a tech company in Seattle. Over the course of her career, she's held several positions in operations, management, finance, sales, and marketing, mostly in analytical roles. Her corporate expertise is in process improvement and B2B pricing strategy.
In search for a creative outlet geared toward those with a technical mindset, Harmony first found her passion in textiles and needle-craft. She is an accomplished knitter and an adequate crocheter, quilter, and weaver, and her knit pieces have been sold in juried art shows. She began her journey into upholstery in 2018, attending workshops at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts. Frustrated with the lack of formal upholstery education in her area, she sought out every book, blog post, and video on the topic, eventually finding her way to the National Upholstery Association. Her focus is traditional upholstery, although she's learning modern upholstery methods in tandem.
Harmony is a California native but currently resides in New Hampshire with her husband, a period furniture maker and educator.
Andrew Bodjanac is the General Manager of Fabric Showcase located in Cleveland, OH. He has been in the upholstery trade since he was 13. Having grown up in his father's upholstery shop, the furniture industry and those experiences have taught him some very important life lessons. The standards of a strong work ethic, high attention to detail, and desire to please each client give perspective on what it takes to be successful in the upholstery industry. A graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Cohort 16 and heading multiple large scale projects and workrooms he continually seeks out challenges to learn as much as possible about the many facets of his trade. These leadership skills have led to continual business growth over that past 15 years in an ever changing economy and workforce. While not at work he enjoys time with his wife of 13 years and 3 kids, being involved with the youth at his local church, and outdoor activities.
Grace ReffGrace Reff is the Associate Director of Development for Next Generation Philanthropy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. She has over a decade of experience in nonprofit fundraising roles across a variety of arts and cultural organizations. She holds a Masters in Decorative Arts, Material Culture, and Design History from the Bard Graduate Center (NYC), where she completed her thesis on a butaque chair design. Grace practices upholstery in her spare time, becoming hooked after her first upholstery class with Mike Mascelli in early 2020. She is passionate about the history of upholstery, supporting trade education, and building community within the field.
After college, Lewis had the opportunity to apprentice under a Master Upholsterer, traditionally trained in Germany. He quickly progressed and eventually managed the upholstery department. He then apprenticed in the area’s oldest auto upholstery company, learning auto upholstery and designing custom interiors for show cars.
The next chapter was performing over 1,000 upholstery repairs a year while working for the largest furniture retailer in the country. This job included working closely with the Engineering Departments of furniture manufacturers to improve their products. It was during this period that he joined both the National Guild of Master Upholsterers and the National Association of Professional Upholsterers; and wrote articles for both of their publications.
Lewis then started to work for the manufacturers of upholstered furniture in various positions of product development engineering, management and furniture design, while along the way inventing and receiving patents. Following a life-long pursuit of knowledge, he has amassed a furniture library of over 3,000 books and probably the best collection on upholstery.
Ella Hall is the founder of Stitchroom, a Brooklyn upholstery shop that can help you make custom pillows, cushions, curtains, and other upholstery. After receiving a degree in fashion design at Parsons, Ella pursued a career interior design, where she learned all about designers’ processes and all their major pain points. Always the entrepreneur, Ella saw a legitimate opportunity to build a business within an industry that hadn’t changed for decades.
Hunter Scanlon is a Project Manger for Buildlane and has worked in furniture design and production for many years. His passion for the trade grew through working with upholsterers around the country. He holds a Masters degree in Design from the University of Cincinnati, and since graduation, he's developed digital tools aimed at simplifying experiences for both upholstery workrooms and clients. Hunter researches and develops technical solutions for workrooms, shares resources to improve business practices and aid in their growth, all while expanding his network of upholstery workrooms across the country.
In addition to Hunter's industry knowledge, connections, and desire to improve the industry for small workrooms across the country, he has continuously participated in governing bodies in both academics and grant-funded projects and is very familiar with the responsibilities and best practices in working within a team to achieve common goals through project management.
Jonathan Bennett earned a BFA in Fashion Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and taught in the Fashion Design Department for 13 years directly following graduation. He has worked in the interior design workroom and upholstery industries, in various capacities, for 25 years. In September 2019, Jonathan opened Unsprung Upholstery, offering residential and commercial reupholstery, as well as custom builds, slipcovers and more. He currently employs 10 craftspeople in his shop, including two apprentices.
Jonathan has a passion for teaching and passing on the upholstery and workroom trades on to creative people who like to work with their hands. He had the honor of teaching a class and being on the discussion panel at the CWC 2022 in Hampton, VA. He has future plans to open a vocational school, to focus on upholstery and workroom trades. He is committed to the sustainability of not only upholstery, but also custom sewing for the interior design arena.
Marta Powers is the owner of MartaPOW LLC, a to-the-trade custom workroom in Richmond, Virginia providing upholstery and sewing services to residential, corporate and hospitality clients. Marta has been sewing and building since her youth beginning as a dressmaker’s apprentice, studying engineering and later clothing design, tailoring and pattern drafting. After a career path involving project management, data analysis, and several design firms, she has brought her own business vision to fruition: helping designers and clients realize their designs without sacrificing our valuable resources of time, materials and budget. The workroom stresses minimization of waste through better design, recycling of materials, efficient workflow processes and training.
Also a member of International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA), Marta uses her unique perspective to champion bringing designers and fabricators together to achieve the best design results possible. Marta believes firmly that great design in the built environment should be accessible to all, and that craftspeople have a large role to play in achieving that goal. Educating the professional design community on what tradespeople can create aids in a holistic, successful design process.
Andrew Grider, hailing from a military family, experienced a nomadic childhood, bouncing between California, Alaska, and Maryland. His fascination with furniture began early, crafting a nightstand with his father's guidance and honing his skills as an upholsterer apprentice in high school. College pursuits in furniture design and cross-country travels led to the establishment of Grider Upholstery, LLC.
Following family footsteps, Andrew served in the US Navy. After an injury forced early retirement, he married, settled in Port Norfolk, VA, and enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University to major in Interior Design with a minor in Craft and Material Studies. Despite life's challenges, Andrew is rekindling his passion for upholstery. Currently, he intertwines decorative arts with historic interiors, researching grants for a project spotlighting textiles' role in historic interpretation.
Kevin Kise is the owner of Kise Interiors located in Columbus, OH. With a rich 27-year history in running a to-the-trade drapery and home furnishings workroom, Kevin holds a degree in Interior Design and is an esteemed member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Transitioning from the world of window treatments, Kevin brings a unique skill set to the upholstery realm. "Custom upholstery requires a different set of skills compared to the window treatment industry," he notes, "and improving my proficiency in upholstery enables me to explore more couture design elements in my work." Excited to contribute to the upholstery community, he is eager to share his knowledge in sewing construction, propelling the field to new and exciting heights.