Sunday, August 31, 2014

Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round

It is always flattering and exciting to complete an article for a national magazine.  Studios magazine first appeared on my radar earlier this year when Melanie Royals had a great feature about Royal Design Studio. She graciously passed our name along to the editors and sent me an email. And, like a dope, I didn't do any thing with the opportunity.  I guess Studios was meant to be, because they called me this summer about a DIY project for the magazine. This time my friend Jennifer Bertrand, a winner of  HGTV's Next Design Star, had passed on my name.  Wow! I am a lucky to know talented women.  And this time I wasn't going to squander the opportunity. This is the result:


But how did I get there?  When you are preparing something for a magazine, you have to set some parameters before you start. In this case I had the following:

  1.  The audience for Studios Magazine is creative people interested in how other artists live and work.
  2. My job is to show a finish that an artist might be inspired to use in their space with steps they could easily follow.
  3. It has to be visually interesting with details that photograph well.
  4. The number of products and steps must be limited, price conscience but also creative.
  5. It had to be finished in 5 days.
You also want an article to reflect who you are as an artist. For me, I enjoy layering patterns and treating wall surfaces like hand-printed paper, fabric or a collage. Circles are my shape of choice (I have the motif all over my home) and I lean toward rusty modern industrial styles. Venetian Gem Plaster is my go-to-product from Faux Effects. It is pre-tinted, easy to trowel, holds a pattern well, dries fast, and is durable!

My "wall" is Gator Board because I wanted a larger scale sample that looked as much like a real project as possible. Don't you wish you could always just pick up your wall?  The only thing better? Having wings!
I buttered my blade with Faux Effects Venetian Gem in Tiger's Eye and troweled on a high/low medium coat about the thickness of cake frosting. My mother tells me, "The only part of you they see in the magazine is your hands and they are stained! Couldn't you get your hands at least clean?" This is the faux finishing version of "wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident!" 
Hold the trowel loose and at a 45% angle to spread the plaster. Use the Japan Blade to keep your trowel clean.  Less then 10% of the base is showing. 
Then you get people in the shop to take awkward pictures of you doing layers while you try to look natural. I used the Large Funky Wheel from Cutting Edge for my first shape. I like this pattern because you can make different sized circles depending on where you fill in.

Next, I wanted to add things to give me the collage feeling. But it had to be big enough to see in a picture and easily accessible. I used some big letter stencils from Michael's and troweled over them with the Venetian Plaster.  Then it is time to blow dry the wall....
and post a collage to Instagram!

I found these great rubber lace placemats shopping with my sister who gave me a weird look when I only bought two. "I'm not going to eat on them silly," I tell her. "I'm going to pull plaster over them of course!"  Why would I put a plate over a perfectly good pattern source?

Here is my wall drying. Using one color is a good way to hide when your plaster bleeds under the pattern.
OK! This is where I go off script and forget my punch list.  I decide to trowel Palette Deco Bronze and Palette Deco Silver over the finish using a cloth to soften the chatter.

And this is how I stand while I do it!
And post! Do you guys remember when you worked without a cell phone camera? Me neither.
And then I sanded...

And I glazed with 2 colors...

And I top coated....

And photographed it!
Then I realized it. While it was very pretty in person, I had lost the pattern. It was too busy to photograph well! And I had added extra steps! And more product! And burned 2 days!  This was a "make it work moment."
I rolled my Venetian Gem Plaster finely over the finish to get it back to the right base and color. When it was dry, I rolled Setcoat Metallic Gun Metal over the whole thing. This is how you demo the roll and soften chatter moves.
When the Gun Metal was dry, I used a power sander to reveal the brown tips of the pattern. Venetian Gem sticks really well! Then I glazed with Aquacreme and Dark Brown Faux Crème Color. Remember I also have to use Silver Label products so people can buy the stuff if they want to do this project.
Yes, those are still my Spider Monkey hands.
I rolled a coat of C500 Gloss and took a picture.  Thank goodness! It photographed much better and had less steps. Whew! Then I formatted the pictures (too small the first time) and wrote the Step by Step. After everything went to the editor, I had a nice chat with the writer who does the introduction.
And now I may shame my whole family with my dirty hands on national news stands!
Studios Magazine Fall 2014 issue is available at Arts and Crafts Stores, Barnes & Nobel, and by ordering on-line.

1 comment:

  1. Truly a unique beautiful textural project! Thanks for sharing!