August 25th, 2008

Luscious Lime

You know how when you first move into a new place that needs work you go great guns with the decorating and getting things done? Well I did that last winter when we first took over in our new building, getting some office spaces and common areas designed and artfully painted, and then hit a big fat wall! There are just SO many surfaces and spaces to do-and so many other things that needed attended too, I had to take a break. Fortunately, I have local painting friends that are so sick of coming by and seeing things half done that they’ve taken matters into their own hands-literally. My friend Karen Jorgenson has been orgainizing people to come down and trowel, stencil, glaze-you name it. I’m SO grateful for being forced to make some design decisions and very happy with the outcomes so far.

Sydney Harbour Limewash at Modello

I actually saw this magazing ad AFTER I picked the color scheme for the “meeting room” end of the studio, but it just reinforced for me how absolutely wonderful these colors are together. A couple of trips to Marrakech helped too! Hmmm. Wish I could afford those drapes and chairs….


I picked a super easy finish for these walls of of azure, lavender, hot pink and orange from the Sydney Harbour color deck.


Their Interno Lime Wash is a wonderful lime paint that simply get cross-hatched on in two or three layers over an easy-to-apply primer. We had two people working this large wall expanse, because you DO need to be concerned about keeping a wet edge to avoid “lap lines”.


The lime paint dries much lighter, as you can see here where Julie is adding a second coat of pink. Left unsealed (which they recommend) it will continue to “bloom” and change over time. It’s very soft and gorgeous. On the blue wall, though, I sealed it with a water-soluable Bee’s Wax (troweled on) which gives it some added protection and also made the color deeper and richer.

Sydney Harbour Limewash at Modello

This week, we will be interpreting this arch shape (is this not gorgeous?!) on the lavender wall, using the blue and orange colors to tie it all together. More to come….

August 13th, 2008

Tile with Style

If you ever want to get really excited and inspired about tiled surfaces, check out Walker Zanger. They have a beautiful online catalog to browse through, but I highly recommend ordering the printed one (new one coming out soon!). The interior photos are to die for, and their tile applications are highy varied and always gorgeous.

Walker Zanger.jpg

I especially love the patterned tiles, of course! In the Venezia series they use a waterjet process to carve in designs that are then hand colored….

walker zanger

or stained. You can use Modello patterns to achieve similar, custom effects on limestone and travertine tiles.

Modello Tile

These tile samples were done in my last Floor Focus class, using a combination of Modello Dye Stains and Stain and Seal colors. The patterns can be etched into the surface by mechanical means (sandblasting) or by a chemical etching process.

Modello Tile

They are then colored with the pattern still in place and/or given an allover toning. This pattern is from our Ornamental Tile series. I love how each one turns out completely differently as it takes on the natural characteristics of the individual stone tiles.

 Robbie Calvo

I had the great pleasure of meeting and lunching with one of our favorite customers (and a Featured Artist in Modello by Design) on Friday: Robbie Calvo.

robbie calvo modello

Robbie was on the West coast for meetings in LA regarding his new design show “pitch” to the decorating networks. We got to see the 5 minute piece that showcases his concept and creative abilities. I truly don’t have time to watch many of these shows (and frankly they all tend to look the same) but Robbie’s is definitely a “cut above” in taste, style, and approach to most of the shows out there. An accomplished musician, he incorporates his composing abilities into his room design, focusing first on the rythm (the foundation walls, floors, etc), then the harmony (main pieces like furnture) and finally the melody (accessories and assorted fluff). During the process, he also composes a short piece of music to compliment the room design. It is REALLY good!

robbie calvo modello

Shown above is the room that was used for the decoration in “the pitch” and, let me tell you, it looks even better on film.

robbie calvo modello

Robbie has been so generous to create a wonderful page on his website talking about his association with Modello Designs and we are happy to sponsor his success AND his upcoming show. He’s a truly talented and humble person who deserves all the success that will be coming his way. I can’t wait to watch more!

August 10th, 2008

Say Hello to IDAL

It’s been a couple of weeks ALREADY since my trip to the SALI show to teach and exhibit. I’m very happy to report that it was a great show and a good turning point in this organization that I have belonged to for almost 25 years. The Stencil Artisans League, Inc. is NOW, ta da, the International Decorative Artisans League. I strongly feel that the future of the organization hinges on embracing the future and the full spectrum of decorative arts, both in action and in name. I lobbied for and served as the Committee Chair overseeing the name change, so YEAH! It’s done. The new website is here at


Charleston, NC is SUCH a cool town, even when its 95 degress with 100% humidity! Some of us got the got a chance to get into town a few times for the requisite carraige ride around the historic district and multiple trips to some amazing restaurants including my favorite-S.N.O.B.


The booth was planned to be “easy” this year (as opposed to hauling half the warehouse there) and I have to thank my friends Barb Skivington, Becky Roth and Jackie Wiggins for all their help in setting up and manning the booth with me.

As usual, I forgot to take any pics with my own camera and have to depend on the kindness of companions for even the few photos shown here. My friend Helen Morris, of the Stenciled Library, however, has some really great photos posts on the convention and Charleston here on her blog! I think she really captures the magic of Charleston. Next years convention site? Memphis!

Ooh! Almost forgot. Thanks also to the 40 people that took my Faux Marquetry classes there! I just got the teacher evaluations in the mail yesterday and received 39 “Excellent” reviews. My apologies to the person who wasn’t 100% happy with the class. I really enjoyed teaching it and sharing the Marquetry Techniques.

August 7th, 2008

Art in Atlantic City

Back in the day, I used to do a LOT of travel teaching at studios around the country. These days, with two companies to run I seem to need to be close to home as much as possible to manage people/projects/problems and there just isn’t the time to travel around the country, although I get a LOT of people inquiring about classes that they can take from me closer to home (as in the East Coast). Well, if you are one of those people, here’s an opportunity!

Decorative Arts Show

I will be exhibiting and teaching at the Decorative Arts Show in Atlantic City in a few short weeks, if you want to head down to “the shore” and stroll the boardwalk, smell the salt air, and immerse yourself in decorative art!!. It should be a beautiful time of year. I have always loved being at the shore AFTER Labor Day.  We will have a booth in the Expo on Sept 10-11. I will also be teaching a two-day class entitled “6 Highly Sellable Finishes” there on Sept 12-13. Samples of the techniques and boards we will be doing follow:

Decorative Arts Show
Decorative Arts Show
Decorative Arts Show

I have changed the sample lineup a bit from what was first published to make it a little “fresher” with some newer techniques. After seeing the response to some of the newer finishes at the IDAL Convention I think that these will be very popular, AND they really offer a good range of different products, designs, and techniques.

Please note: ALL registration is through the Decorative Arts Show! Maybe I’ll see you there? OR maybe in San Diego?

August 6th, 2008

KM Stitchery Stencils

I spend probably WAY too much time engaged in random googling and assorted web surfing….BUT, it’s all good. Recently, while searching the term “stencils” on Etsy I can across this intriguing shop KMStitchery She specializes in “eco-friendly feminist fashion”, designing and cutting her own stencils (cool!) of prominent feminist icons and painting them on recycled clothing. I had to feature this because a) it’s stenciling, and b) I love this women’s attitude!

Km Stitchery on Etsy
Km Stitchery on Etsy

She has a blog here. Good point about American Apparel. Their ads are seriously creepy! Bleeech!

August 4th, 2008

Wallexpress on Etsy

Recently on Muralsplus, a message board that I help moderate, there was a discussion about faux and decorative finishing as “art”. Well, of course it’s always been art, silly, but recently more and more decorative artists are applying their ideas and techniques to “wall art”: canvases, framed boards, tapestry hangings and such. In fact, I don’t know too many decorative finishers these days who don’t dream about coming down off their ladders to create cool, creative stuff in the comfort of their studios while wearing their jammies. That’s MY dream, for sure!

wallexpress on etsy

Well, one of our customers, April Everhart of Wallexpress in North Carolina decided to start working towards that dream after I mentioned Etsy as a great place to sell her canvas art.

wallexpress on etsy

April has a new shop, Wallexpress, that features her canvases that incorporate stenciling, raised freeform pattern and lots of cool finishes. Best of luck April!