Working with Formica

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If you’ve got the latest issue of Reloved you will have read Jay Blades’ Focus on Formica feature, where he looks into the history and the manufacture of this hardwearing material. We also put the spotlight on Lucy Turner, an upcyclist who works with Formica sheets to transform discarded furniture into beautiful statement pieces.

We caught up with Lucy to discover a little more about her creative life and showcase her beautiful furniture.

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How long have you been working with Formica?

For over 10 years!

Why Formica?

I have always loved Formica, from going to greasy spoon cafes when I was younger, the tables were usually Formica, and that was the reason I liked going to them, I know that sounds bizarre. I have always had a fascination with the stuff.

It wasn’t until I decided one day to cover a sideboard with the material, that I realised how much it had progressed. It was a lot finer, easy to apply. I looked in to using it more and more, developing ways of cutting it, and moulding it around furniture.

I became hooked.

There are so many laminate companies out there but I can honestly say the original Formica is the best. It is made here in the UK and it is such good quality.

What does this material offer you?

It’s durable, heat and scratch resistant. It is available in so many colour options, textures and finishes, more than enough for me to choose from. It gives my pieces a quality finish, and it looks really professional. It doesn’t fade, craze or yellow unlike paint.

How long have you been upcycling furniture?

As a business? Ten years; it started with Formica. But I have always renovated my own furniture rather than buying new. There is not a single new piece of furniture in our house, apart from a new G Plan chair, designed by Wayne Hemmingway which I adore. You should check out the collection, its so beautiful, if I had the money I would buy the lot.

When I was little, my dad and I spent hours restoring things in the garage. We loved doing up old trunks and joked about starting a business called ‘killer trunks’. Looking back on it, that seems a bit sinister…

What is your favourite furniture to upcycle?

Sideboards! I know them inside and out, excuse the pun. It should be my specialist subject on mastermind. I must have upcycled over 500.

Where do you find your pieces?

I generally use eBay now as I know what I’m looking for, and I’m so busy I don’t have the time to trawl all of my old haunts. It’s a shame as that is one of the fun parts of my work. A lot of mid-century stuff has been shipped abroad, mainly to Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Pieces get snapped up. Prices have risen massively but a lot of the stuff is so well made it is worth the money.

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Keep an eye out for a full feature on Lucy Turner in an upcoming issue of Reloved. For now, to see more of her work visit: www.lucyturner.co

If you want to have a go at your own Formica effect, get your copy of issue 36 here and follow the steps for Jay Blades’ wallpapered nest of tables.

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