When I retired 5 years ago, I took up painting and refinishing furniture. I had discovered the ease and joy of painting with chalk paint and was inspired by the many images of painted furniture that were available on the internet. An Annie Sloan stockist, Malenka Originals, had opened in the previous year and was featured in the Ottawa paper. When I read about this paint that you could use directly on wood and saw the beautiful pieces that Katrina Barclay, the owner had created, I was hooked. My first piece was a modern teak dresser painted in Graphite for my daughter's living room ( which still looks great) and then I used Provence on a vintage mahogany dresser.
I wasn't afraid to use dark wax on this piece and it still remains one of my favourites. After that I began experimenting with bolder colours and designs, all influenced by the many pieces I saw on the internet. I painted a waterfall dresser in a mix of Barcelona Orange and Emperor's Silk; a coffee table in Graphite stripes and Old White as well as a mahogany desk in French Linen and Old White.
There was nothing subtle about my choices but I was loving the creative process. Later on, I became more muted in my approach because I was selling the pieces and most people seemed to want neutrals. This dresser in French Linen with a white wash appeals to wider audience and was a custom piece.
One of my many favourites is this MCM dresser in Antoinette.
Which brings me to textiles. About 2 years ago, I read an article on Annie Sloan's Inspiration page about a husband and wife team who dyed fabrics shibori style using chalk paint. I have always loved the indigo and white fabric dyed in this Japanese fashion, so I plunged right in and started experimenting with chalk paint. I did manage to achieve some good results with the paint and it is very easy to do but the colours are soft and don't provide enough contrast to really carry the design. But, just like my first foray into chalk paint, my interest was whetted by the many pictures available on shibori and other techniques.
I started dyeing and sewing ( because you have to do something with the fabric) and have since branched out into fabric collage and needlework. It is amazing how one creative process leads to another. I started dyeing fabrics for throw pillows such as these indigo dyed ones or this dramatic silk in yellow and red:
I now make children's clothes, book covers and sewing organizers (needle books). Here are some of my latest projects: a little girl's dress with a shibori dyed linen bodice, a group of needle books with fabric collage and a collaged bunny on child's jacket.
Fabric art, like chalk paint, offers endless possibilities.
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