“I look out for something that a little different and that helps with forming inspiration when planning to paint.”
The process of finding pieces to work with can be time consuming, and simply finding any old furniture isn’t enough. For Simpson, sustainability is a key part of her process so she actively seeks out pieces that are run-down or unfashionable enough to warrant extensive restoration and transformation.
Aiming to work with the history of a piece rather than erase it, Simpson retains remnants of old layers of paint when completing restorations. Bumps and scrapes become sources of inspiration and combine with ideas gleaned from research into particular design styles to create truly unique works that both respect the past and embrace the present.
“Each time I research a new era or design movement, I get totally immersed and enthused about artists, designers and craftsmen of the time.”
The Arts and Crafts movement that flourished across Europe and North America in the late 1800s is a favourite for Simpson. Following the industrial revolution, the Arts and Crafts style reacted to a perceived decline in manufacturing standards that accompanied what was the beginnings of mass production, and embraced traditional craftsmanship and simple forms.
Not only influencing the style of her work, the Arts and Crafts movement bears relevance to the concept of furniture restoration, and connects with our modern-day need for sustainability in design.
I learnt to appreciate the craftsmanship and history of old pieces. It saddens me to see much of this furniture is really unfashionable now."
Generally of a much higher quality than their contemporary counterparts, the pieces that Simpson works with feature solid wood and handmade construction that is valued by the style-conscious.
“Older furniture is generally much better quality than newer versions. Drawers were made of solid timber - not just cheap chipboard with timber laminate - and everything was assembled by hand. Furniture that’s as little as 40 or 50 years old is often of really good quality.”
“The concept of reusing furniture and making it functional and desirable in a modern home is important and I’m really passionate about it. People don’t want unfashionable furniture in their homes (I certainly don’t!), but that’s where I come in: to try and bridge this gap.”
You can see more of Simpson’s work on her website, www.jeaniusreloved.com.
Images Courtesy of