A Useful Piece Of Furniture

As it is the Easter holiday at the moment, I had expected things to be very quiet in my shop this week, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have sold lots of tins of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and stencils to customers who have set themselves up with holiday projects. The greatest surprise has been the amount of painted furniture I have sold this week, I have been pretty much cleared out! Bear in mind I am a very small concern, but even so,  I have sold pieces which have been with me for a while and very excitingly, they have been items which are bold in colour or pattern. I can only put this down to the energising effect of the spring time.

My shop window was a disgrace when I left for home last night! Needless to say I spent the day furiously painting yesterday in order to have something lovely to take centre stage.

I bought this writing bureau earlier this week and  a very useful piece of furniture it is too. Painted in Paris Grey and Old White, it has the Agra Stencil on the desk top. With a couple of coats of clear wax and some distressing on the edges, here it is, taking pride of place in the window. 

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A Creative Heart

I was interviewed last week by Jill Glenn, the editor of a local magazine called Optima. She visited me in the shop and we sat upstairs in the workshop drinking tea whilst I enthused about stencils, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and creativity in general.

Having talked about what I am doing for around an hour, it struck me just how much I love my work. That hasn’t always been the case and I am very grateful to be doing what I am doing now. It isn’t always easy and in truth it is often difficult. Building a small business, especially a creative one which involves retail as well is demanding and financially scary at times. Things go wrong, but without fail just when it looks like it might all fall to pieces, something exciting happens which spurs you on.

Anyway, the magazine article is one of those exciting things and I thought I might share it with you. Scan 1copyScan 2 copy Scan 3 copy

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Kota Creations

When I post a stencil or make a sale in the shop, I often wonder what the purchaser has in mind for it. I love it when people send me photos of what they have created and have decided to share some of them on the blog.

Here are some lovely pieces some of my customers have created with their Kota Stencils

These were created by Julie Farr who is based in Devon. I really love the blue cupboard. This one is sold, but you can see some of her other work here .

julie farr 3Julie FarrThis sweet little table was painted and stencilled by Catherine Roberts. It is a sewing table with a top which can be lifted and it was inherited from her grandmother. That’s rather beautiful parquet flooring which it is standing on as well!
Catherine Roberts TableSomething completely different. These kitchen cupboards were stencilled by one of my American customers. She has surrounded the stencils with butterflies and poetry.
PeAdkByIf you have created something yourself with one of my stencils, I would love to see what you have done with it.

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A Responsibility Continued

As I sold out of heart pictures in the shop last week, I treated myself to a day in my little studio making some more.

I do love to know where my creations are going to end up and what occasion they have been bought for. Last week there were Mother’s Day purchases, a 15th Wedding anniversary, a house warming present from a mother to her daughter for her first home and very sweetly a man who spontaneously bought one for his wife just because her knew she would love it (I hope she did!)

In the new pictures, I have used some of the pearl beads given to me by the lady who popped into the shop a couple of weeks ago. The necklace was a present from her fiance  many years ago. I wonder where they will end up next.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures they have been used in, reused, reinvented and hopefully soon to be reloved!pictues picture close up

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An Act of Kindness

A few days ago I was queueing up in a local cafe when a woman came up to me with this lovely old cabinet. “Do you think you can do anything with this before I throw it away?” she asked. She had been into the shop first and having been told where I was she took the trouble to come and find me. As she left, the person behind me commented that there are some lovely people in the world, and indeed there are. This small act (in the grand scheme of things) really touched me. It is such a sweet cabinet and I am so glad that  it wasn’t thrown away.

I have given it several coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint beginning with Cream followed by Provence and then topped off with a blend of Old White and Old Violet as the final coat. I have used the new Mini Kota stencil in a paler tone of Old White and Old Violet for the interior. Once there are bottles on the shelves there will only be glimpses of the stencil hiding behind, but I think that’s quite nice.

After waxing I have sanded the edges quite heavily in order to reveal the colours beneath. Here it is saved from destruction and given a new lease of life.

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A Responsibility

For  a few years now I have been making pictures from broken and vintage jewellery. When the shop first opened, I was concentrating more on the stencils, paint and furniture and time being what it is, the pictures fell by the way side. I had a few left in the studio at the end of the garden and decided to take them into the shop. To my surprise, they sold really well.

Yesterday an older woman came into see me with a small plastic bag tied in a knot. She told me that she often passed the shop and admired the pictures in the window. Untying the knotted bag she asked me if I would be able to make use of the beads within. One little bag contained the remains of a pearl necklace, the string having perished over time. The other contained a broken necklace of twisted pearl and glass beads. She explained that a long time ago after dropping heavy hints to her fiancé about how much she loved the necklace, he had bought it for her as a present. I offered to make them into a picture for her, but she declined and said she was just really happy that they would be put to good use.

This is the second time that somebody has bought something precious into the shop to give to me to use. Another woman has given me a box full of gold leaf and art tools which with age she is no longer able to use, but didn’t want to throw away. I feel a big responsibility to use these very personal possessions carefully,but also feel very touched that they have decided to give them to me.

I will make several new pictures using the beads, they will hopefully be bought and the beads will be given a new lease of life in their reinvented form. In such a throw away society, that gives me a good warm feeling.

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Time To Contemplate

When I first worked on this piece of furniture, I saw it very much as a small side table.

After painting it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite, I stencilled a border around the top and along the legs with the Rajasthan Border stencil using Country Grey.

I left the centre of the table top plain and put it up on my Etsy shop. It has been around for a while.

Earlier this week I was rearranging the furniture in my shop when it popped into my head that I needed to stencil the remainder of the top as well. I set to work with my Neemrana Border and Agra stencils adding the additional pattern. I now think that it would also make a fantastic bench in a hallway, a bit like the beautiful wooden benches that you find in India.

When I was still working in the fashion industry, there was real pressure to design at high speed in order to meet deadlines. One of the many joys of what I do now, is that there is time for ideas to evolve. I’m not suggesting that I sit around contemplating because I’m always working on something. I do believe though, that as a designer there are definitely times when you need to be able to walk away from a piece, returning to it at a later stage, in order to make it the best it can be.

You can find the Devi Table/Bench here

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