September 29th, 2009

Foilin Around Virtual Workshop

I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m in the middle of a major love affair. With Metallic Foils. I began innocently enough…I thought I’d do it just once…maybe twice, and get it out of my system. Then I fell into the shiny, shimmery trap. It’s so easy to do and so hard to resist….I keep going back. There is so much to explore, so many senses to touch, so many creative desires to fulfill!

As time wore on, I discovered new ways to do it with stencils, Modello patterns, different techniques, unusual tricks. My passion isn’t fading. I need to share it. I want everyone to feel the way I feel…and so, I now offer you the chance to indulge YOURself with-the Foilin Around Virtual Workshop

I’ve shared the results of my passion here before, and even as recently as the canvases I just created for our HD Boutique booth, all done with Metallic Foils. I’ve stocked our shelves with the most amazing colors, and even given them more enticing pricing. If you don’t want to make a HUGE commitment (just have lunch!), we have metallic foils both by the roll AND by the yard…..tempting, aren’t they??

Our first Foilin Around Virtual Workshop is this Thursday at 6:30pm EST. You can enroll in the class up until noon on the day of the workshop. Remember, no travel required. I’ll come to you….

….and if you missed it, all the details on Virtual Workshops are just below.

September 28th, 2009

A New Lesson Plan

I distinctly remember driving to teach my first-ever stencil class to a group of 4 at at a downtown art gallery some 16 years ago. Always battling shyness and a mortal fear of public speaking growing up, my nerves made me so nauseous I didn’t think I would make it through the first five minutes. Fortunately, I never barfed all over my stencil brushes, and I think even managed to teach and inspire my little group about the joys of artistic stenciling. Growing little by little from that class to teaching 100′s of decorative artists from all over the country in my own studio, and even traveling all over the country myself to teach 100′s  more students in other’s studios-I started feeling like I finally “had it down”.

Apparently though, being comfortable is not REALLY a comfortable place for ME (just a personal, objective observation based on years of experience living with myself). Instead of continuing on with a tried and true formula, I decided that I HAD to do something different. This wasn’t a completely rash decision….it was based on some real facts: the economy sucks and it’s hard for people to bear the high cost of travel, new technology makes it easier to deliver information and knowledge in cost effective, cutting edge ways, and our time has become a precious commodity with many demands on it. There HAS to be another way to learn new decorative finishing techniques than taking a whole week away from work and home to incur the travel and lodging costs that are necessary to get quality studio training from an experienced, creative professional. The web has become a fast and powerful tool for communication and information sharing though video, downloads, and chat….

…and so I decided to create Virtual Workshops for professional decorative finishers-and those that aspire to be!

The idea is to pack the new information and skills you normally gain from a whole 3-day studio class into a few hour evening session, with me, at your computer screen. By using a combination of pre-recorded videos (1 for each technique) interspersed with powerpoint presentations, additional documentation, commentary, and question/answer sessions, I feel that I can impart my knowledge and experience in a most effective way. Unlike a regular class though, students will have access to the WHOLE recorded session that they can go back and review at any time-you know, in case someone wasn’t paying attention….

Once you’ve got the critical information and watched ME do it, how about the hands on!? Well, that’s on YOUR own time and schedule….you can spend the Saturday after the Thursday evening class banging out a slew of beautiful new sample boards to add to your portfolio (suggested!)-or sleep in and just do one here and one there. Each Virtual Workshop includes a complete list of the patterns, material, and tools needed to complete each new finish. You are welcome to purchase any and all of these from us at Modello Designs, at discounted prices with free shipping. Or not! Most professional decorative finishers will already have the majority of the tools, supplies and mediums needed to recreate the finishes already in their studio closets, or garage, or car, or wherever you guys keep all that stuff!

But where’s the class camaraderie?? A lot of the fun of a hands-on workshop is the sharing that goes on with other students, and it adds a lot to the learning process as people share their own experiences, tips, war stories, and successes. To bring this important aspect into Virtual Workshops we have created a special, private message board where attendees can continue to chat, post photos, and ask more questions. There are always more questions….

…and so what is the cost for these killer 3-day class-in-a-bottle sessions that include ongoing review and support at any time, that you don’t have to leave home or take a week off work to attend, that don’t include airfare, gas or hotel expenses, you ask? Well, I say, a mere $150. But wait-actually less, because your enrollment includes a $50 credit towards product purchases post-session!

So, if you’re open to learning something (actually a LOT of things) new in a new way, meet  me in one of our Thursday evening Virtual Workshop sessions around 6:30 EST. My public speaking skills are greatly improved, I’m just a little bit shy, and yes, my stomach is a bit nervous…..

September 22nd, 2009

Modello, Me, and Miami

Well, everything arrived in one piece for the Modello Designs booth at the  HD Boutique Show (other than all the things that still needed to be assembled on site. that is), and after two days of sweating in an un-air conditioned convention center (they never have the air on when they have the loading dock doors open) we had-A TENT!


We (me and Barb) stuck vinyl stars on the outside, mirrored stars on the inside, finished off the large mirror’s decoration, hung still sticky canvases, hot-glued 40′ of beaded trim, laid tiles, hung doodads, made multiple shopping runs for last minute details like additional lights and flickering battery-operated candles, and phew! we had it done.


True to form, in the shower on the morning of the first day of the show I was already plotting how completely differently I was going to design NEXT year’s booth, but in the meantime there was THIS year to attend to.


“So, you do textiles?” “floor tiles?” “cabanas?” “custom mirrors?” “table bases?” Yes, yes, we do ALL of that, OR “we provide custom patterns for decorative surface finishes”. We witnessed both light bulbs going on and blank looks. It’s never easy to explain how you do “everything”, is it?? But, we did, hundreds of times…..


Like, “no, we don’t do punched tin lighting fixtures, but we CAN lasercut acrylic mirror into any shape….


…or do really cool custom canvases for wall hangings, cabana/tent “walls”, or faux granite/marble inlaid tabletops…


….as well as patterned patinated custom mirrors that are self-framed with a gilded decorative border….


….or tell a story about love.”


After all that ‘splain it felt really good to drink Caribbean-inspired cocktails and relax poolside at the elegant Mondrian hotel on the intercoastal in Miami Beach.


We didn’t provide the patterns that they used for the amazing sandblasted pattern in the decorative concrete decking…..but we could! Remember, we do EVERYTHING….

Bottom line: Miami is a pretty cool place to visit, with a frenetic energy that could come from the exotic, sensous, highly latin-influenced culture-or the drug trade. The scenery is beautiful, the food is tasty, and the water is warm. The HD Boutique Show was officially a success for us, with lots of great contacts, feedback, and potential future projects…pitching a tent there was well worth the effort…..and I’ll be back!

September 6th, 2009

An Unrestrained Hand

This coming September 14-15, Modello Designs will be displaying at a booth at the HD Boutique in Miami for the first time. I’m very excited!! Our Modello Decorative Masking Patterns have been used before in hotel projects: The Grand Del Mar near San Diego, Peocock Pavilions in Marrakech, and the Lesic Dimitri Palace in Croatia. But that is just scratching the surface! My brain spins with the possibilities of our patterns dressing up surfaces in hotels and resorts all over the world…SO, this booth is my chance to introduce THAT world to MY world.


Our space is small (10′ x 10′), and I have a lot of possibilities I want to show, so my initial thought was to use a restrained hand and stick to a neutral color palette-to keep it very chic and elegant and “designer-ish”, based VERY loosely around a theme of a contemporary Moroccan-style tent. I started off well enough, sticking to a nice cream and warm beige for the Moroccan tile floor done in Skimstone to mimic inlaid travertine tile…..


…with tabletops done with Aurastone (thanks to David Rairick!) to look like inlaid marble.


I decided to use large-scale geometric patterns for the inside “walls” of the tent…


…introducing little pops of color here and there.


Little pops of color led to bigger pops of color for the outer walls…



…which led to even BIGGER pops of color for the “embroidered silk” panels that will hang in between…



over which specially designed patterned and distressed mirrors will hang…



…and did I mentioned that the inside of the tent ceiling will feature twinkling little mirror shapes cut from acrylic mirror? So much for using a restrained hand!!! See how and IF this all comes together next week……….;-)

for more photos on this “process”, please visit our Facebook Fan Page!

September 5th, 2009

Modello Designs Video

Been busy, busy, busy! I’ve been working day and night on what I hope will be an amazing booth display for the HD Boutique show we are doing next week and will be filming more video instruction for my Virtual Workshop series tonight. Popping in to leave a link to our Modello Designs business profile video that was shot a few weeks ago by Turn Here. Unfortunately, this was BEFORE my makeup lesson….but I get another chance and another excuse to go shopping for something new! We are shooting one for Royal Design Studio this Wednesday….


Since I couldn’t get the video link to load directly onto the page (ARghhh!!) please click here