August 23rd, 2012
Hey Y’all! Are you ready for another Stencil Star showcase? We visit Nashville this week to meet with Dana & Brooks Tucker of Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes. Dana & Brooks are a husband and wife team that are perfectly matched — he oversees the projects and she runs the marketing and management of the business. It’s this teamwork that translates beautifully to the creation of outstanding decorative painting projects and inspired applications of stencil design and patterns.
Dana & Brooks Tucker
ABOUT BELLA TUCKER
Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes is based just outside of Nashville in Franklin, TN. It is a collaborative partnership of husband and wife team, Brooks (artist) and Dana Tucker. Brooks is a 6th generation Texan who was born into a Navy family. He has lived all over the world including two moves to Italy. It was in Europe that he developed a love of texture, color and decorative paint treatments. In 1997, he moved to Nashville with Dana, and after seeing the incredible finishes they were creating for their own home, family and friends starting requesting Brooks to paint for them as well. They launched their business in 2006 and since then, have received many accolades as well as being chosen for a feature in the Nashville Southern Living Showcase Home.
The Chez Sheik stencil from the Allover Moroccan Collection makes a gorgeous impression when walking into the powder bath (above). Our easy to use Smoked Oyster Stencil Creme was chosen to stencil the pattern with a lustrous sheen.
What draws you to Stenciling?
We were initially drawn to stenciling as a way to modernize our portfolio and stay on-point with design trends. We were getting a lot of feedback from designers that no one was asking for faux finishes any more. Once we could show them modern applications of faux finishes using graphic stencil patterns, the tide turned. Now, we keep a pretty full pipeline of projects with a lot of designers and clients requesting stencils.
Our Contempo Wall Trellis stencil is a relatively new pattern in our Allover Modern Collection and used within a wonderful neutral scheme above. The interior design is by Julie Couch Interiors and the photo is courtesy of photographer Caroline Allison.
How do you determine which pattern will work for your project?
Pattern is so personal. It really takes walking through a client’s space and getting a feel for their style. What helps us narrow down pattern more than anything is Pinterest. I always keep active boards and I ask my clients to either send me photos of patterns they like, or comment on the Bella Tucker Pinterest account. Royal Design Studio has an amazing website, too. My clients love to get on there and spend hours looking at the stencil design options.
Bella Tucker uses great stencil patterns for ceilings to flooring and every surface in between! Our Skylar’s Lace Floral stencil was chosen by designer Julie Couch and is perfectly paired with the beautiful light fixture above. Photo by Caroline Allison. A custom Ikat Chevron Modello™ Designs vinyl stencil pattern is used with the Skimstone concrete floor below. The beautiful exterior patio was part of the Nashville Southern Living Showcase Home.
How does Stenciling enhance your creative business?
We were originally drawn to stenciling because we are always try to stay on top of current design trends. We were seeing a lot of graphic patterns in the shelter magazines and we knew that we could work with that concept but extend it to be more artistic and one of a kind while completely customizing the color, texture and pattern for each specific project.
Dana & Brooks had a fun personal project with a re-purposed vintage headboard, above. They made a “welcome” sign for their front porch using our Chevron Furniture stencil and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™. Below, a photo by Caroline Allison shows our Uzbek Suzani stencil gracefully enhancing a guest bedroom. Designer Julie Couch worked with Bella Tucker to create a beautiful and serene guest bedroom.
Dana and Brooks are an engaging couple and a GREAT team! We love how each design here is done in an neutral palette, but with a fresh, fun twist that makes their finishes anything but boring. We appreciate their sharing their stencil thoughts with us! Keep up with Bella Tucker by visiting their their website, Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes, and watch their Facebook page for frequent project updates.
Don’t miss a pretty pattern opportunity!! Be sure to follow us on Facebook AND follow us on Pinterest to receive the fresh and creative inspirations and projects we share daily! Don’t forget to pin these wonderful images too-BIG hint!
April 1st, 2012
Some time ago, I offered a Sneak Peek at a new Virtual Workshop I was working on with Katrina Johnson of SkimStone: Mastering Modello Patterns and SkimStone Surfaces. I had hoped to have this new online workshop ready this past Fall, but obviously THAT didn’t happen.
Well, happy to say we are in the final stages of getting that ready to launch. In case you are wondering, Virtual Workshops is an idea I came up with a few years ago when the crappy economy started preventing people from having the time and money to travel to my San Diego studio for classes. These workshops are web-based, and featured extensive, detailed, pre-recorded video lessons, printed materials, and a one-time live webinar for review and Q&A. We are currently revamping our Virtual Workshop website, so that our previous VW’s Patterned Mirror and Glass, Foilin Around, and Stencil Impressions will be available again SOON! First things first, though-introducing Mastering Modello Patterns and SkimStone Surfaces.
Katrina and I have create a free intro series of SkimStone 5 how-to videos to introduce you to the basics of using SkimStone and Modello masking stencils. This video is Part 1. Please visit our How-to Videos page on Paint and Create to see the rest! These will give you a good foundation on how to use SkimStone, but if they leave you wanting MORE, and we hope that they do, we invite you to sign up for our Virtual Workshop mailing list for the possibility to win a FREE PASS to this upcoming Virtual Workshop and also to receive a special discount code to use when the full workshop becomes available mid-April. We will be giving away workshop passes to 5 lucky winners. Sign up to win at the bottom of this page.
We’ve created a gallery of lovely SkimStone and Modello pattern applications to inspire you. Have a look and hope you’re a winner!
July 5th, 2011
I have been super fortunate to have been given the opportunity to plan and lead painting adventures to many beautiful cities and countries of the world: France and Italy with my friend Gary Lord, and Marrakech with the help of Maryam Montague. These trips have now actually become an integral part of my business AND personal life. I love doing all the research and planning for both painting and enjoying the local culture, and most especially introducing new experiences to the students who sign on to these trips. With the help of my friend in Barcelona, Paul Deprez, I have just returned from a 2-week stay in Barcelona and the Catalunya region.
This was my fourth visit to Barcelona, and each time my love for this city grows exponentially. So much so that I am already planning a return painting trip for September 2012! But back to THIS trip….I have so much to share, but thought I should start with the primary reason *cough* for the tour-the decorative painting classes.
The trip was planned to include a 6 night stay in the city and 6 nights in a former monestary in the hills nearby.The monestir, Sant Jeroni de la Murtra, was partially burned and sacked in the 19th century during a widespread backlash against the corruption and power of the church. It is now run by a private foundation that maintains it as a place for solitude, silence, and encourages artistic pursuits.
We were able to set up some small, low-ceilinged rooms as studio spaces to work on a range of projects. I wanted to take the opportunity to incorporate some forthcoming stencils from The Hearst Castle Collection, as these were designs created by Julia Morgan to decorate Hearst Castle in a Spanish/Mediterranean Revival style.
The Delphine Panel sample was done on smooth textured plaster background. We laid in the initial color and pattern with a simple dry-brush stencil technique. I was inspired by the amazing work of Italian artist, Carolina d’Ayala Valva, to overpaint the stenciling with washes of color to create a luminous look.
Some day, I would love to have the opportunity to study with Carolina in her Rome Atelier, but in the meantime I have her wonderful book, which I highly recommend! After painting with watered-down acrylics (as opposed to the traditional egg tempera) the painting on plaster was sanded to distress, and given a soft toning glaze.
Here is lovely Nancy showing off her own completed panel.
Another panel that I have taken from Julia Morgan’s amazing architectural drawings is the Pescado Panel. It is full of whimsical birds and fish that appear almost happy to have been caught-ha!
This panel is stenciled with three colors of our new Royal Stencil Cremes over a background of composition gold leaf. The gold leaf has been patinated and distressed with a safe chemical process that I am still perfecting-as much as you “can” perfect a chemical process! Once I have it a little more “under control”, I will surely share the details.
Another project that we worked on was a faux tile mural. For this we again used upcoming Hearst Castle Collection stencils. In this case we simply used them as patterns to trace and then add loose hand painting to create the look of classic Portuguese tiles. My sample above shows the mural in various stages of completion. I hope to finish the mural in the next couple of weeks. It was thrilling for me to have the time to actually pick up a brush and paint, as it seems my hands are most often attached to a computer keyboard these days!
This study shows the final effect of the last step-adding a China Crackle layer (from Modern Masters) and rubbing in a toning glaze to reveal the cracks and add depth and aging.
Here is a completed mural by Debbie Hayes, who was the fastest painter of the bunch of us! It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it? All of the stencils featured in the projects above will be available soon from Royal Design Studio stencils!
Another decorative style that is synonymous with Barcelona is Modernisme, the uniquely Catalunyan version of Art Nouveau. I wanted to honor that heritage, and so we also did a tecnique using metallic foils with a new Modello Marquetry Masking Pattern stencil from Modello Designs.
Now that I am back, I’m continuing to work on the videos and lessons for my next Virtual Workshop combining these two mediums.
I hope you enjoyed seeing our painting samples from Barcelona! As I said above, I am already planning a return trip in Sept. 2012, so drop me an email if you want to be the first to get those details when they become available!. The details on this recent trip are still available here.
You can view more photos from the Barcelona painting class and trip in my flickr sets!
April 8th, 2011
It’s already been a couple of weeks since I attended and taught at the Concrete Decor Show, but it’s never to late to share a great project! I told you about it first here in this post. Besides teaching an 8 hour hands-on training class with Katrina Johnson from SkimStone, we left a fabulous finished floor at a very unique and deserving and thriving community center in Nashville called Rocketown. Rocketown was founded in 1994 by singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith as a place to give teens a positive alternative to the many negative pressures they face in the world these days.
The first of its kind in the Southeast, Rocketown has grown into a regional outreach as well as a model for faith-based relational outreach across the country. Their goal is to lead and inspire youth through creative programs and mentoring relationships that are culturally relevant and eternally significant. Participant circumstances span the range of neglect, abuse, poverty, absent parents and normal peer pressures. Rocketown engages local youth with a facility that houses a coffee bar; photography, art and dance, and recording studios; stages for live entertainment; and Middle Tennessee’s only indoor skate park. To date there have been more than 425,000 visits with an average of 1,350 teens from across Middle Tennessee participating in programs each week. It’s quite an amazing place, and we were happy to donate our time and materials to make it even more special, along with many other decorative concrete artisans who left their art in various rooms and areas throughout.
Audie Adams was one of many teens who actively participated and benefited from Rocketown’s programs and influence. A local stencil/graffiti artist, he has contributed much of the artwork that is found on the walls in the various studio rooms and offices. The project for Modello Designs and SkimStone was the recording studio/music room, and Audie provided the design inspiration that we adapted for the large floor graphic. I slightly simplified his original design concept to make it “doable” in two days and three layers, and Michelle did an awesome job of setting up the Modello stencil patterns in record time!
Katrina led off the class, which was a combination of hands-on and project demo, by discussing the basics of prepping for a SkimStone floor and mixing it all up. Her brother Pablo had done an awesome job of prepping the floor a couple of days early by applying a layer of their Bonding Primer over the existing finish.
Katrina and Pablo then power-troweled out the first coat of gray SkimStone over the Bonding Primer basecoat while the students looked on.
After a couple of hours drying time, I explained the design and stencil pattern process that we used and began the laying out the first layer of Modello stencils for the areas that were designated to be blue.
With all the vinyl stencils securely in place, we began applying an overlay of blue-tinted SkimStone. You can see the art canvas on the wall that Audie Adams created, which was the inspiration for the floor design.
With the blue color down and the first layer of Modello stencils removed, we began the next day…
…and laid down the second layer of Modello stencils to complete the white areas of the design.
The last layer of Modello stencils added the finishing touches in bold red.
The red areas of the design overlayed right on top of the blue. Because SkimStone is an integrally colored overlay, it is possible to adjust the color to make it either opaque or translucent. We did two quick trowel layers of red for complete coverage and began removing the stencil immediately.
And here is the finished floor after sealing with 4 quick coats of Penetrating Sealer the following day. Rocketown reports that everyone there is thrilled with the floor, and we were so happy to be able to leave this “gift” to them!
Meanwhile, as the floor was “in progress”, Katrina and I kept the students busy in the other room learning all the ins and outs of SkimStone and how to creatively incorporate Modello stencils for custom graphics and design additions. Phew! It was a very busy two days but everyone was left happy!! If you want to find out more about the Concrete Decor Show, Dana Tucker did a great overview post over on the Fauxology blog. Next year’s show will be in San Antonio, one of my favorite cities in the country of Texas!
February 18th, 2011
The class is “officially” called Masking Patterns and MicroToppings for Ultra Decorative Finishes if you want to check the schedule. For some reason, in the concrete world they don’t like to “name names”, but rest assured it will be all about SkimStone and Modellos. I have posted many times about SkimStone here before, because it is one of my favorite mediums to work in for decorative floor applications.
Katrina is THE authority on SkimStone applications so this class will be full of great technical application information (the brains!) as well as instruction, inspiration, and sample making that features Modello patterns (the beauty!)
In addition to the class samples, students will have the opportunity to view and participate in a whole decorative floor treatment that we will be completing at Rocketown.
One of my favorite ways to incorporate SkimStone is with patterns from our Carpet and Panel Collection. We have recently updated the catalog with some beautiful new designs, like this new Bristol Carpet.
Another thing I am quite excited about it that we are now offering the Carpet and Panel Collection catalog in both a beautiful high res printed version, as well as a free eCatalog-available here. I’d love to know what you think about this format!