May 9th, 2011
There are two major projects that are the focus of most of my thoughts these days (though it’s pretty crowded inside my head, as usual!). They are: my upcoming painting trip to Spain, AND my new collection of stencils and Modello patterns for The Hearst Castle Collection, inspired by Julia Morgan’s architectural drawings.
With this post I get to combine the both. You see, much of the influence and architectural features for the design and furnishing of Hearst Castle came from Spain. They were able to rescue and repurpose whole antique ceilings from churches, monasteries, palaces, and villas. Nonetheless, a great deal of the relief plaster, tiles, ironwork, moldings, coffered ceilings, wall treatments, etc. were designed by Morgan herself and fabricated by local California artisans. Now, I have the happy job of translating Morgan’s extensive design talents into classically inspired stencils that decorative artisans can use for years to come.
And what better time to introduce these new designs than for the hands-on class I will be teaching my students at the monastery outside of Barcelona? After much thought and image sifting, I had landed on these lovely samples to start with. The students will have the opportunity to be the first to work with these new designs in a combination of stenciling and hand painting techniques. We will be working on and with a variety of materials, including silk linen, SkimStone, plaster, and gilding, to create faux mosaic, Spanish-style glazed and crackled tiles, grisaille painting, and more.
So, if you are saying to yourself, “self, I REALLY wish I was going on this amazing, artistic adventure with Melanie and a lovely group of ladies” then I have great news for you! There is still ONE spot left open for this fabulous trip, June 16-29.
March 4th, 2011
It’s been awhile since I updated you on my adventure of becoming a licensee for stencil patterns from the amazing Hearst Castle Collection. I have been holding off because I had plans to write a multi-part article about it for the new Artisphere Online magazine. Now, I can take the opportunity to update you on two things at once! How’s THAT for time management? First, the Artisphere Online is the new digital magazine of IDAL, the International Decorative Artisan’s League (formerly SALI). I’ve been an active member of this fabulous organization since 1984 (yes, you read that right!) This new online mag is going to be fabulous ongoing resource for decorative painting industry news and inspiration, with articles, tips, and how-to’s from top artists in our industry. I am honored to have been asked to be a regular contributor, and I encourage you to check it out OFTEN as new content will added on a continuous basis.
My first article presents an introduction to Hearst Castle and the two iconic people behind this national treasure, William Randolph Hearst and the amazing architect, Julia Morgan.
I was thrilled to make the trip up to San Simeon from San Diego last January for a behind the scenes, private tour of the estate to learn more about the history and photograph inspiration for our upcoming Hearst Castle Collection stencil line for Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs.
My article and accompanying photo gallery includes just a sampling of the photos I took there and I’ll be sharing more in future article. I’m just including a few here in this post to inspire you to read the article and check out the whole Artisphere Online magazine while you’re there! As you can see, there is a wealth of pattern inspiration at Hearst Castle for me to develop new stencil designs from, including Julia Morgan’s fabulous architectural drawings. Mygoal is to introduce the new stencil line at the IDAL Convention this July in Hampton, VA. Maybe I will see you there!!
January 18th, 2011
Being the busy little bee that I am, I thought I would just point you in some inspiring directions around the web today to some fabulous blog posts that have special meanings to me.
Debbie Hayes has a beautiful eye and a beautiful blog, FauxPlusDesign, where she shares her decorative art, photography, travels, and interesting musings about all of the above. This post features some super juicy photos of the private tour of the Palazzo Corsini in Florence, Italy that was arranged on our decorative painting adventure last October. We were honored that the lovely Contessa Corsini herself led us through the palace, sharing her family history and great taste in art and architecture! Debbie’s photos truly capture the splendor of this amazing place on the bank of the Arno river.
Regina Garay has a fabulous design and decorating blog, Fauxology, where she shares daily inspiration on design and color trends, decorative painting, and a whole host of other visual goodies. It’s a “must read” for professional creatives and design devotees. All this week, she is featuring groin ceilings, and TODAY’S feature just happens to be on using our Modello Masking Stencil Patterns for artful decoration of this architectural asset.
A great new blog discovery for me this past weekend (thanks Anna Sadler!) is ArchitectDesign. Stefan Murray has recently been featuring a series of posts and extensive photo essays on Hearst Castle. Now, as you may recall, Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio have recently been selected to become licensees for the Hearst Castle Collection, and I am currently in the process of developing stencil patterns based on the endless array of decorative painting and design details that are contained in this national treasure. If you haven’t been to Hearst Castle, you can travel through Stefan’s blog posts. Enjoy the tour!
November 28th, 2010
For 28 years, from 1919 to 1947, William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan worked collaboratively to turn a former remote Hearst family camping site near San Simeon, CA into one of the most lavish and famous private residences in the country. Hearst dubbed it La Cuesta Encantada (the Enchanted Hill), and referred to it as “the ranch”. We now call it Hearst Castle, and it is an invaluable treasure of art, architecture, and design. It is absolutely one of my favorite, most inspiring places on earth.
The Hearst Castle Collection is the registered brand name encompassing artisan quality, licensed home furnishings, decorative accessories, and art objects inspired by the architecture, antiques and antiquities at Hearst Castle. The mission of the Hearst Castle Collection is to educate and enlighten the community on the importance of preserving the history of design and craftsmanship through in spired contemporary design. Hearst Castle Collection licensees directly support the preservation and restoration of Hearst Castle by producing contemporary reproductions and design interpretations that bring the museum’s collections to the attention of the public worldwide. Additionally, a percentage of all items sold under the Hearst Castle Collection brand go directly back to funding the ongoing maintenance and preservation of this national historic landmark and treasure.
Licensees have access to an extensive and well documented collection of patterns, designs, decorative elements, architectural features, fabrics, and on and on…..
…including the architectural drawings by the architect Julia Morgan, who with Hearst, designed all of the architectural features that were created on-site down to the smallest detail. Much of what you see when you visit Hearst Castle was actually dismantled and shipped from villas, palaces, monestaries, etc in Spain and Italy. Julia designed some of the main rooms around whole ceilings that Hearst “picked up” on his many trips abroad.
Morgan was the first independently practicing female architect in California. She was also the first woman to graduate with a degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and the first woman to graduate with a degree in architecture from the famous École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Impressive?!?!? Indeed!!!! Julia was one A-mazing woman.
So knowing all this, and knowing how much of my life revolves around all things having to do with pattern, design and decoration, you can imagine how HONORED and EXCITED I am to announce that both Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs will be producing and offering patterns based on the Hearst Castle Collection. We will be joining a well-respected and merry group of licensees including Pindler & Pindler, Habersham, Barclay Butera, Tilevera, and more.
In addition to stencil designs and decorative masking stencils, we are looking at developing a line of decorative art accessories, including mirror, floor screens……AND an architectural ceiling series. OH MY! My head is swimming and I can hardly wait to get started……waiting now for my books and cds containing over 5,ooo documented designs to work from. This pattern junkie is beyond thrilled and looking forward to the ultimate “fix”! to be continued.