Atara makes the Grade!

Congratulations to Atara Aberman on attaining BAFRA Graduate Member status.

We caught up with Atara at her North London workshop to find out about her and her assessment.

After successful careers in IT and child care, Atara wanted to move her career in a more creative direction.     An Open University degree in Art and Literature undertaken whilst running her own childcare business and raising her family was followed by a furniture restoration and conservation course at Hampstead Institute.   Her inspirational tutor there, Irene Dickson, guided Atara to undertake a two-year MA part-time course at the University of Buckinghamshire.  Under the encouraging tutelage of course director Paul Tear, Atara developed her skills and understanding.

After college, an internship with former BAFRA Chairman, Bruce Luckhurst at The Finchcocks Charity, gave Atara the opportunity to further broaden her knowledge and experience.   She played a major role in documenting the restoration work carried out on this important collection of early keyboard instruments.   In 2015 Atara set up her own restoration workshop.

Having joined BAFRA as a student member at university, Atara wanted to strengthen her contacts with the wider furniture restoration community.   Her next step was to upgrade to Graduate membership in order to progress within a respected furniture industry body.   Whilst a little daunted by the challenge, she found our Membership Officer Rob Tandy very professional and supportive. He clearly outlined the knowledge and skills she would need to demonstrate to achieve her goal, and they had a good dialogue before meeting. In November, Rob carried out the assessment. A scheduled two- hour assessment turned into three hours but it was all good – Atara made the grade. Rob thoroughly probed her practical knowledge, her understanding of materials and approach to sympathetic restoration.   He also passed on a number of useful hints, short-cuts and tips for future projects.

Above:  Atara at work on a keyboard instrument at the Finchcocks Charity

Now Atara is looking forward to developing professionally with BAFRA and working towards full accreditation.   She enjoys networking with other members, attending workshops and sharing experiences and ideas. She has found fellow BAFRA restorers to be a friendly and supportive group.

Having had such a positive experience of furniture restoration and learning hand-skills, Atara is saddened by the decrease in accredited, practical training courses in recent years.  Her vision is to put something back into the profession, and she plans to blend her IT, education and restoration skills to produce training videos to pass on her know-how to future generations.


Details on BAFRA Membership and membership options can be found on the BAFRA website here.  To apply, please contact BAFRA Head Office on 01939 210826 for a membership pack.

Further details on the restoration of early keyboard instruments can also be found in Bruce Luckhurst’s report on his work with the Finchcock Charity here.