April 13th, 2011
Are you loving all the digital design magazines that are popping up everywhere these days?? Personally, I prefer the feel of paper over plastic keyboards, but I find it exciting that so much design inspiration is coming through amongst the email clutter I receive daily. I was SUPER excited last week, when I got the email announcing the latest edition of High Gloss magazine. This is the second issue of this magazine, which is the brainchild of Paloma Contrares of the blog, La Dolce Vita.
While quickly scrolling the current issue and guzzling coffee, I nearly choked when I saw one of my original stencil designs, Chez Sheik, featured on a page spread called “Get the Look” of Martyn Lawrence Bullard.
Now, I had previously not heard of Mr. Lawrence-Bullard (though I have probably seen his work multiple times!), and I dare say it’s quite possible he has still never heard of me, but I am certainly happy for the association-however small. He will be one of the design stars on the upcoming Bravo show, Million Dollar Decorators (which looks like wicked fun!) Besides designing rooms for celebs such as Elton John and Cher, he has designed a seriously awesome furniture line, as well as fabrics, rugs, and candles. I had a grand old time looking through his company website at projects like these…
Yes, that’s a pink and white stenciled ceiling with a red rug. I especially loved seeing this as I am planning on doing a deep pink ceiling in my home office that already has an alcove done in deep metallic red tones. More favs….
I had wanted to do big sliding doors in my work studio, but didn’t. Something like this “would have” been nice!
I’m not sure if this is wallpaper or stenciling, but it’s divine and Cheryl Tiegs agrees!
Amazing embroidery and the hanging tapestry reminds me of the black and gold mural we did in Marrakech.
Simply put. I want that arched carving and mirrored wall!
This is the same wall pattern from above. Check out the chest here.
I could TOTALLY curl up with a book on this couch-and I love nuts!
Not many people would enjoy this much pattern in a room-but I’m not one of THOSE people. Hope you enjoyed! Do you have a favorite?
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!
April 6th, 2011
It’s that time of year again! Time to reveal my age longevity, and turn my attention to the upcoming annual IDAL (International Decorative Artisans League) Convention. I joined this organization (formerly The Stencil Artisans League) in 1983 as member #31 as a wide-eyed stencil-obsessed novice. After dibbling and dabbling around with what I wanted to do when I grew up, I attended my first convention as both a stencil company exhibitor and a teacher in 1994-and the rest is “history”. Actually, quite a bit of history. I just added the years up on my fingers and toes and came up with the realization that this will be my 18th year in a row to continue with that tradition! Good grief!!
The organization and convention, like most of us, the “industry”, and the world, has undergone many changes and weathered some storms, but it HAS SURVIVED as THE place to to be, see, and be seen in the decorative painting biz. The annual convention combines one-stop shopping for the best selection of instructors, classes, new products, inspiration, networking and (dare I say) partying. It’s a great time to come together as a community, recharge our creative juices, and reconnect with what inspired us to devote our lives to decorative painting in the first place.
I will be teaching a 4 hour hands on workshop called Shining up Your Portfolio. The focus is on incorporating metal leaf, metallic foils, patinas, distressing and more with paint, stained, and plastered finishes. Each student will leave with four loverly samples, as well as our new, enlarged Japanese Hydrangea stencil and Feathered Damask stencil.
I will also be repeating the Double Vision class from last year with the incomparable Helen Morris from The Stencil Library. There are some really fabulous classes being offered this year, and the online registration makes it SO easy.You can also easily see all of the class listings on the new Artisphere Online site, which is where you will also find the official online magazine of IDAL.
This year’s convention will be helf July 20-24 in Hampton, VA, which should be a relatively easy drive for those of you living on the East Coast. As always, the Expo Hall will be open to the general public for a nominal daily fee. When I’m not teaching, I’ll be in the booth and demoing stenciling techniques nearby. Come see me!!
April 4th, 2011
Just north of the city of Barcelona, in the soft hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, sits an historic, former Gothic monastery, Sant Jeroni de la Murtra.
For my upcoming June painting adventure to Barcelona, I have decided to switch up the order of how I usually plan these tours and finish with the painting class and group project here AFTER spending the first week exploring and enjoying the sights, sounds and surroundings of Barcelona, Tarragona, and Montserrat.
I think that this will be the perfect way to end the trip: relaxing, reflecting, hiking, exploring new painting techniques and creating original art on individual canvases (more on that later!)
This monastery, established in 1416, originally belonged to the order of the Jeronimos. None other than Christopher Columbus met with the kings of Spain here after his first of 4 trips to the New World. It was occupied by the monks until a fire destroyed a good portion of it in 1835.
According to a translation of the Sant Jeroni website it was then ”inhabited by an interesting colony of holidaymakers” ?!?! through the late 19th to early 20th century. Hmmmm, wonder what that means?
In 1947 it was purchased by Francesco Guell to begin the restoration to return it to a place of reflection, peace, and solitude.
Today, it is maintained by a dedicated small group of laypersons, overseen by the charming Father Jaume, and supported by a local association, The Friends of the Murtra. It is now the sight of multicultural conferences, concerts, recitals, and art exhibits.
One of most beautiful aspects of the space is the open cloister, with its Gothic arches and polycrhome decoration of the sculptural elements.
I love the faces of the individual saints, keeping careful and quiet watch around the courtyard.
If you would like to join us for an artist’ retreat in this special place, and for the rest of this AMAZING trip, we still (as of today) have 2 openings available.
You can find more details on the Barcelona Painting Adventure here. Have a peaceful and lovely day!
March 30th, 2011
You know that saying, “everything old is new again”? Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to apply to the aging human body, but it sure seems to apply to the popularity of stenciled pattern through the ages. After falling out of favor in the early part of the 2oth century, stencils enjoyed a major resurgence following the Bicentennial celebration of America in 1976. I became heavily involved obsessed with stencils in the 80′s as I spoke about in this recent post, and watched stencils as an elegant wall decorating choice grow exponentially through the 90′s and early 2000′s. As fashion trends come and go, so too do decorating trends, and wall stenciling gave up ground to other types of surface treatment options such as Venetian Plaster, gilding, and various other mediums, and eventually gave way altogether to that awful trend of JUST plain, unadorned paint. Phew! Glad THAT seems to have passed quickly!
Well…..stencils seem to be BACK in a very BIG way these day (happy dance!) as a whole new generation of young designers and home decorators are discovering stenciling anew! Case in point: this lovely post recently on our Royal Design Studio stencils by Brittany at A Daily Dose of Harri Ette. (I am reposting her photo montage above) Brittany is not alone! I see bloggers worldwide now ”discovering” stencils as an outlet for creativity and personal design expression in their own homes. Another example is Angel Li’s post on 77+Love. So, if you hang around long enough you can be be “trendy” all over again!
March 28th, 2011
Angela Perrone of Divine Rooms has a wonderful blog post today on how she used our Royal Design stencil Corsini Damask to “rescue” a tired Venetian Plaster finish with softly blended metallic pattern.
Under normal circumstances, you can’t rely on wall stencils to “save” a bad finish, but this venetian plaster treatment just needed a little more pleasing color and some pattern action, and Angela’s “fix” worked beautifully! You will enjoy following Angela’s blog as well; she is a lovely soul with a heartfelt “voice”. It was a great pleasure to have Angela along on my last painting trip to Marrakech and I’m looking forward to her company again on my June painting adventure to Barcelona! There are still 2 spots open for this trip if you’d like to join us!!
PS You can find the Corsini Damask Stencil here.
March 25th, 2011
I have a little mini-obsession going with artistic typography. I think it started with the typography floor I designed for one of our project in Marrakech. It continued on with the It’s Just Your Type collection we released through Modello Designs. Lately, I’ve been focusing on stencil designing and have been exploring ideas for a collection of typography stencils for Royal Design Studio.
The first few stencils for the collection are now ready and I’m really excited to share them. Here we show the whole Springtime in Paris Typography stencil set. Each of these stencils is sold separately, but I actually envisioned them all working together as a layered treatment.
The first layer of this look is a repeating wallpaper stencil of a French poem about Spring! How’s that for timing? You can read the interpretation of the poem on the website.
Of course you can create a sweet focal point by just using the sweet Paris Postage Stamp stencil by itself.
Here is another version of the whole stencil set that is a sample on a subtly distressed plaster finish that I created for a uncoming stencil workshop I will be teaching in May at my friend Gary Lord’s Prismatic Painting Studio. I am really interested to know what you think of these, as I have so many possible ideas swimming around in my head! If you think I’m on the right track with these, just say the word!
March 23rd, 2011
If you’ve followed this blog at all, you know how much my heart sings for the art of Morocco. There was a wonderful article in the New York Times this past weekend about an amazing Moroccan courtyard taking shape inside the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. This authentic recreation of a medieval Maghrebi-Andalusion-style courtyard will be the jewel at the center of the Mets’ rebuilding of its Islamic art galleries-The New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands. The work includes intricate zellij tiles (geomentric mosaics), carved cedar molding, and hand carved filigreed plaster.
The carving is done while the plaster is still wet…
after transferring the design with a cardboard stencil.
The work is sometimes so detailed that it can take one artist a full day to accomplish 4 square inches.
The type of handcrafted and detailed work being done on site by a small group of skilled craftsman from Fez is truly and sadly not being done even in Morocco anymore. The process is simply too painstaking and expensive. According to the article a couple of the men are planning to hang up their tools after the project because they feell that they will never be able to do this high level of work again. It’s heartbreaking to think that this may be “history” in the making, but such a joy to know that this type of craftsmanship is still alive….for now.
The exhibit is scheduled to open in November 2011. As IF I needed another reason to go back and spend a day at the Met! Join me???
March 14th, 2011
I am SO in love with this wall finish and blog post by Cat at The Golden Touch. NOT just because she used our popular Moorish Trellis stencil, but because she also used one of my favorite decorative mediums, Interno Lime Wash from Sydney Harbour Paints.
I have actually shown you pictures of some walls that were done in our studio with the Interno Lime Wash before here, but they are so, so pretty I think they bear repeating….
One of the things I love about Sydney Harbour is that they produce hand painted color fan decks. You can pick these up from your local distributor (ours here is the local, independent Ben Moore store) or order them online. I think the cost is quite reasonable for what you get! This one above is the interior/exterior fan deck.
Cat took a different approach to her walls by applying the Interno Lime Wash with a roller over a base of thinned, rolled on joint compound-which looks fabulous! We followed the manufacturer’s instructions and applied the Lime Wash in two coats with large “box” brushes over their lime primer.
Either way, this is a very fast, easy finish that produces walls that look like they are ALIVE. Actually they are! The natural lime “blooms” through the paint creating subtle, natural color variations. The Lime Wash is a great alternative to lime plasters when you want to add a Mediterranean feel to your walls-and the color selection is simply divine!
I hadn’t been to their website in awhile and was excited to see some new specialty finishes including Colored Chalkboard Paint, some REALLY cool different Rust options, and something called Industrial Lustre. I am inspired to get my hands particularly on the rust finishes. Are you inspired too?? It looks like right now this Australian-based company is limited to stocking in the US in California and New York, but their website indicates an online store coming soon. Let’s hope so!
March 10th, 2011
Stencil flashback!! I was going through a stack of old magazines lately and came across the May 2003 edition of Romantic Homes magazine. Way, WAY back in 2001 I created a whole training program for combining stencil patterns with decorative finishes, plasters, and textures called Extraordinary Stenciled Effects. At the time, I was almost exclusively working with products from the Faux Effects, International product line. Decorative finishing was just starting to BOOM, as an interior design option AND as a career for creative entrepreneurs. Teaching studios were popping up all over the country to meet the demand to train artisans and service their needs. It was a heady time and I think all of us in the industry are sorely missing it! I had been traveling almost monthly to various studios around the country to teach my techniques in hands on workshops. It was a fabulous, if not exhausting, experience. To meet the demand, and stay home a bit more, I shot a series of 6 instructional videos, and created a series of recipe cards and a supporting technique manual. Many of the techniques were put into action in my own home, which was featured in a number of books and publications, including Romantic Homes.
My living room, with the textured faux silk linen walls stenciled with our Fortuny damask pattern. I don’t have any desire to change the walls here-they are very soft, neutral, and classic!
My kitchen which still looks very similar and is in severe need of a redesign!!
My former home office. This was my favorite room, with the faded stenciled damask stripes, stenciled velvet pillows, and a cozy little desk area I build into the former closet.
My old bedroom with stenciled trompe l’oeil mouldings and stenciled panel treatment below. There is actually a stencil gallery here on this blog with more house photos that you can browse through. I titled this post “Vintage Stencils”, but (with a few exceptions), I think most of these looks stand the test of time. Stencils are definitely an up and coming “trend” again, which is GREAT to see. It’s a “trend” I’ve been happily riding for 27 years now…..:)
Here’s a PDF of the full article from Romantic Homes with additional stencil photos.