February 21st, 2008

Larger Than Life

One of the very bestest things about owning your own business space/office/showroom that I’ve found it that you can do WHATEVER you want-at least from a design sense. It’s not someone’s home or expectations or limitations you are designing for so you can go couture, catwalk, over the top! Well, at least that’s MY goal!

I am still very inspired by Geishas and the whole Japanese design aesthetic so when it came time to think about a design for a door for this room I knew I had found my girl when looking through a Dover book one day.

Amazing Modello Geisha

This is a 3′ x 8′ door, so she looms quite large! We reworked the design quite a bit, adding some color, body parts and coordinating patterns to her obi.


Here she is in her space, coyly greeting all who enter in the way that only a true geisha can. This design was done with a two layer Modello pattern. For the first I troweled Jasmine Portofino to colorblock in her parasol and part of the obi. When dry I placed the second layer and simple rolled black paint through. VERY IMPORTANT tip: When you are rolling paint through a Modello, seal the pattern first by rolling over it with two coats of a water-based satin varnish, allowing it to dry between coats.

3 Geisha Modellos

She has friends, and they are available! I was originally wanting to add these other Geishas to different walls in the room, but decided to show some restraint-at least for now. Due to the intricate details they contain, the girls must be cut quite large-6′ high minimum. I imagine them on a large 3-panel screen or on the walls of a salon, spa or fun boutique dressing room walls.

August 29th, 2007

Kimono Obsession Continued

Lest you think I have abandoned my kimono and Japanese design obsession, fear not! I have written previously about being asked to participate in an upcoming mural compilation book that my friend Gary Lord is doing. Well, seems I promised the editor some “new” mural photos for the gallery section a few months ago and she suddenly surprised me by wanting to collect on that commitment!?!? If the sign of a true artistic soul is to produce under pressure, then my hand is held high. Sign me up!

Stenciled Kimono Mural Inspiration

I decided to try a different kind of “mural”. This one is on canvas (typically) but the Roclon canvas is cut into the shape of a hanging kimono. Everytime I have picked it up I have always gone back to this one page in the book,Kimono, Vanishing Tradition, to look at this lovely wedding kimono shown above.

Kimono Mural by Melanie Royals

The crunch-time mural commitment finally gave me the opportunity to reinterpret it using a series of stencils from our Royal Design Studio Kimono Collection.

Kimono Mural Detail by Melanie Royals

I used Shimmerstone (a metallic plaster) as the base and to do the embossed stenciling over the glazed green area. I then simply used different colors of Modern Masters Metallic paints to add the colors through the stencils to the dried embossed designs. It is a much softer look than the original, and not quite as detailed, but I was pretty pleased with the outcome and now have something new to hang on the walls at the new building. The photography is by Gary Conaughton.


March 30th, 2007

The walls they are a changin


About 7 or 8 years ago I redid this tiny little bedroom in my home into my home office. It had to be really nice as it was going to be photographed for a book by BHG along with other rooms in the house. See Enriching the Ranch. I’ve loved it immensely but it’s time for a change!

My idea is to make the walls look as if they were created from a patchwork of Japanese Kimonos and I REALLY need to get this done before I completely tire of this theme. I’ve gotten so far as to get the furniture out of the room and have laid out one wall treatment.


Each “patch” in the room will be totally unique and a little artwork unto itself. I will be using metallic leaf, paints and plasters to give it all a nice soft shimmer. The Lights and Lovely post on the Art of Living blog shows some possible light fixtures to hang from the ceiling I may make look like a shoji screen. I am still debating if I want to put the art directly on the walls or apply it to canvas or paper and wallpaper paste it up there. Either way, it will be quite the little project!  I think that I will create a little book to sell detailing how to do the finishes. Stay tuned!

March 28th, 2007

Puttin on the Kimono

Each year for the last 13 years I have been priviliged to teach a class or two at the annual Stencil Artisans’s League Convention. Well, it’s that time of year again! The Convention Brochure is finally posted and ready for download at the SALI website. This year, I’m offering an all day class that features Kimono-Inspired Wall Finishes. We will be using traditional stencils and Modello Decorative Masking Patterns, along with metallic plasters and paint, gilding and mica powders to create surface treatments like those shown below.


This years convention will be held July 17-21 in San Francisco (yeah!) and features a wide range of classes from some of the most talented decorative artists in this or any country. Get your class requests in ASAP for the best chance of getting in the classes you want. Many will fill up quickly!

If even just for a day trip (or two), it’s worth it to come and just walk the floor of the Expo to see all of the latest and greatest that the decorative finishing industry has to offer. Both Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs will be there with bells on showing off some new designs and eye candy! You enjoy shopping you say? See the Art of Living blog for just one of many great stores to check out while in SF.

January 17th, 2007

Immortal Geishas

I won’t be letting this kimono/Japanese design obsession go for awhile, so bear with me.


Aren’t these just SO lovely? Lots if good information on Geisha and Maiko and more beauty at Immortal Geisha.

December 26th, 2006

Antique Kimonos

I have been collecting inspiration on Kimono art for a few years now, so thought I would share some of my favorites. If you haven’t noticed already, Japanese motifs are suddenly showing up everywhere. I think that they are so classic that they trancend “trends” though, which is why I am planning on turning my home office walls into a “Kimono Collage”.


Some of the best color inspiration and design combinations I’ve found are though a website that sells antique textiles www.marlamallett.com. Some of my favorite pieces are shown above. There is so much beautiful imagery (Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, African, Ottoman, Indian, etc) on this site you may get lost for awhile. Even better, if you have a budget it is all for sale.