DORSET-based Repair Shop star Sonnaz Nooranvary has helped launch a new award recognising young upholsterers.
The upholstery expert’s company, Sonnaz Ltd, has teamed up with charity Heritage Crafts to create a new Young Upholsterer of the Year Award, with a £1,000 prize, open to anyone up to the age of 25.
Heritage Crafts was set up to safeguard traditional craft skills and aims to ensure these skills are passed to the next generation.
The Young Upholsterer of the Year Award aims to celebrate a young heritage craftsperson aged 25 or under who has made an outstanding start to their career.
Sonnaz is a British-Iranian upholsterer based in Wimborne and a regular expert on BBC show The Repair Shop.
She started her craft career with an apprenticeship in upholstery at Sunseeker Yachts, but quickly expanded from yachts to other forms of upholstery and furnishings when she set up Sonnaz Ltd in 2011, where she employs a small team of dedicated makers.
“Having been an apprentice, I know the challenges that can be faced first hand,” she said.
“I feel it’s vital to recognise and celebrate those who have been able to overcome challenges and become an exceptional young craftsperson in the process, who will go on to become our makers of tomorrow.
“I am delighted and honoured to be offering this award with Heritage Crafts.”
The winner of the award will be highly skilled among their peers and likely to be raising the profile of their craft by attending events or creating and sharing content online.
Daniel Carpenter, executive director of Heritage Crafts, said: “It is important to us that young people feel inspired to take up heritage crafts: to provide fulfilling livelihoods rooted in the human desire to make; as the building blocks of a more sustainable economy; and to better equip them to tackle the unknown challenges of the future.
“We are delighted to be working with Sonnaz to celebrate new young makers in this way.”
The award sits alongside other new awards for young woodworkers, weavers, basketmakers and metalworkers, sponsored by Axminster Tools, Rose Uniacke, Sims Hilditch, and Lucy and Laurence Butcher respectively, as well as other awards for heritage crafts makers, trainers, trainees and volunteers of any age, supported by the Marsh Charitable Trust.
Anyone, including the maker themselves, can nominate for the Young Upholsterer of the Year award. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend the high-profile Winners’ Reception at the Vicar’s Hall, Windsor Castle, in November, where the result will be announced and £1,000 prize awarded.
Applications are open now and close on Friday, May 5, at 5pm.
For more details on how to apply, visit awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk.