Eide carries on upholstery, caning traditions


CRESCO - Wikipedia defines caning as, “a method of weaving a chair seat and other furniture, either while building new chairs or in the process of cane chair repair.”
Wikipedia defines upholstering as, “providing furniture with a soft padded covering.” 
Finding someone who knows how to do caning or upholstering can be a challenge, and they are sought out for their artistry and functionality as well. Barb Eide of Cresco knows how to do both and has turned her love of sewing into her livelihood.
Getting her start
Eide credits her knowledge of sewing and patterning as the start to her work in upholstering.
“When I was a kid, I made all my clothes,” she shared. “My mom would buy the patterns and material, and I made most of what I wore. And my interest in caning draws from when my mom did furniture refinishing.”
Fast forward to about 17 years ago and Eide took a caning class offered through NICC.
“The class was held for three hours, for I believe a month,” said Eide “That’s how I got started with the caning, and the upholstering came shortly after. [Husband] Darryll and I were living in Ossian, and we decided I would stay home with the kids so I was available to do all the running. We bought a building in town, and I spent a couple of weeks shadowing and learning from Verlaine Wilson at her shop in Cresco, learning the basics.”
Things moved on from there.
Enjoying the art of upholstering
When asked what she most enjoyed about upholstering, Eide said, “I enjoy when I get to reimagine something, when it is styled this way and I can update it. And I really like it when a customer is willing to go outside of the box, such as when someone I am doing some work for picks some wild pattern and says ‘make it work.’ It also helps if I can see a picture of the room the piece will go in so I can see how it will [fit].”
But it isn’t always that easy. Clients can take hours to find that perfect pattern and material.
“One woman came in once a week and could be here for up to three hours pouring through sample books,” said Eide. “She would take home some fabrics and successfully found a combination of fabrics she liked.”
Biggest, Most Difficult Challenge
Just about when an upholsterer gets comfortable in their craft, a challenge arises. For Eide that challenge came in the form of a boat tarp. 
A customer had bought an older cabin cruiser and wanted draperies made, the cushions reupholstered and a tarp made. Not a basic tarp, mind you, a tarp customized to include a window and a door.
“They brought a pattern for me to follow,” said Eide. “But it had to be modified to include a door and a window because they wanted to see out the back and also to be able to get in and out without crawling under the tarp. It was a difficult project, and then it also had to be stretched and lined up to get the snaps put on correctly. I ended up having Darryll help me at the end with those snaps.”
The biggest project, as far as furniture goes concerns a sectional.
“That piece took about 20 hours,” said Eide. “It was 10 feet long and had a chaise lounge coming off from the end. It was actually a fairly new piece that had been stained by stuff being spilled by the children in the family. They ended up getting something with Krypton, it was stain resistant, mildew resistant and had a moisture barrier as well.”         
Serving locals, beyond
Eide does work for the local community and has established herself as a respected professional.
But it doesn’t stop there; she has done work for people from as far away as Des Moines and the Twin Cities. Word of mouth and Facebook has been the way to get the word out about her work.
“I had a lady come up from Des Moines to have her work done because down there she had to wait months just to get an appointment,” said Eide. “After that, it would take another six weeks or so before the upholsterer would start on her project. Things get done quickly and it keeps people coming from larger populated areas.”
Advice to others considering the craft
Eide had the following advice to anyone considering going in to her line of work.
“I would say you need to have knowledge of sewing and how pattern pieces go together. You also need to be creative and enjoy puzzles. Some of the pieces can be quite complicated.”
Eide is a creative artisan who has used her love of sewing and puzzles into creating her livelihood; that of a “cream of the crop” caner and upholsterer.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to Breaking News feed