24 June 2016

My new Painter in Residence, Simon Olsson!

I’m thrilled to share the first project from my latest Painter in Residence, the lovely and supremely talented Simon Ollson! His work with my paint is just gorgeous, and I am amazed at all he has achieved at only 17! Based in Malmo, Sweden, Simon’s work is all about creating gorgeous, textured patina in rich and bold colour combinations. Inspired by bohemian Indian arts and crafts, he pairs bright colours with neutrals to create interesting and complementary colour palettes. 

Simon started his residency by transforming this chair, which was originally painted a gloomy white. To stay in keeping with the classic French bistro style and shape, Simon used complimentary colours from the Chalk Palette to create a gorgeous patina. He started by painting the entire surface in Provence, and then, once dry, he applied a second coat of Chalk Paint in Chateau Grey - a traditional greyed green - evocative of fine old French furniture. He then sanded the paint back in varying amounts, sometimes right back to the original glossy white, taking care to highlight the distinctive shape of the legs and the back. To finish the piece, Simon applied a coat of Clear Soft Chalk Paint Wax.This once glossy metal chair now looks aged, rustic with a sumptuous French farmhouse style.

I love how he has found his personal style so young, he truly is a talented young man, and I can't wait to see what you think of his work!

As ever, let me know your thoughts, or share with me any pieces that you have created that are similar to this chair, on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Yours, Annie 

16 June 2016

East Oxford Community Centre Transformation #25Project

Over the past few weeks I've had the hard task of whittling down all of the nominations from across the globe for the #25Project! Going through each nomination (all 300+!) has been such an eye opener, there are so many deserving and incredible community spaces all across the world, so choosing just 25 was one of the hardest things I've had to do. From Scotland to Mongolia the scope of nominations blew me away, so I want to thank each and every one of you who entered your local space. I will be announcing the 25 spaces very soon, but I wanted to share with you how this all began and my local space that inspired it all.

The East Oxford Community Centre has been the beating heart of my neighbourhood for the past 40 years. My family, my incredible team here at Annie Sloan HQ and I have all used it's space in one way or another, from toddler sing alongs, volunteering at the drop in kitchen for refugees, to the famous open mic night. I have always loved the building but knew it needed a little help here and there, so my team and I got stuck in giving the front room a transformation! I knew that I not only wanted to get the community involved but also run workshops too, as I wanted to make sure that the community had the biggest hand in helping transform their space. We ran workshops in upholstering, curtain and cushion making, painting, printing, stencilling and dyeing, and then we had two long days of painting everything and anything! I think the photos below show just how much hard work and fun everyone had along the way!

Volunteers and the local community all chipping in, painting and creating!

I chose cool colours for the walls, such as Aubusson and Versailles, and warmer colours like Barcelona Orange and Primer Red on smaller pieces like the piano and cushions. 
We painted the piano, that was kindly donated by a local church, Barcelona Orange and Duck Egg Blue, and teamed it with a stool painted Provence

I loved the beautiful patina of the exposed brickwork, so we chose a soft tone to make the brickwork the star! 

Pillows and cushions dyed stencilled and stamped in my colours 

The chairs were all painted and upholstered by the local community, stacked up and ready to go! 

A shot of the final transformation, with new curtains and cushions, pianos and tables all in place!  

If you want to have a look at how it all came about, watch this little video all about the transformation!

I had so much fun transforming this space, I cannot wait to start transforming the 25 spaces across the world, with the help of my wonderful Stockists over the next year! Keep a look out on my Facebook and Instagram for the chosen 25, coming very, very soon! 

Yours, Annie

7 June 2016

'A Man' by Hanayuishi Takaya, my new Painter in Residence!

Today I have the pleasure in sharing the first Painters in Residence project from Hanayuishi Takaya. Mr Takaya makes bespoke headdresses that are true works of art, made on the spot with what he has to hand and mainly using natural materials such as flowers and foliage.

As soon as I saw this set of images I was completely blown away. They are so powerful and so visually striking, they immediately evoked memories that I have from my visit to Japan. 

I was lucky enough to have visited Japan in the spring of last year. Japanese art and culture has always fascinated me ever since I was at art school. I especially love the works of Utagawa Hiroshima and Kitagawa Utamaro, their beautiful muted colour palettes offered me so much inspiration in my own work, from school right up to the furniture I paint now.

There are over 60 stockists of my paint and products in Japan and the work that they create is always elegant and interesting. Unsuprisingly there seems to be a penchant for more craft based work, with origami being featured quite frequently. Whilst I was there I was very inspired by the complete bond that the Japanese have with the nature that surrounds them; it inspires their creative work and there is a great deal of respect and care taken into preserving and upholding traditional practices.

From the iconic cherry blossoms right through to flower arranging and tea ceremonies, their love of Japanese nature is intrinsically linked to Japanese art, and yet, as times change there is a shift into using these traditional ideas, and love of detail, into a more modern aesthetic and practise.

So this Koi head dress by Mr. Takaya is a beautiful example of that link and movement, with Koi being one of Japan’s most famous creatures, a true symbol of their national identity. I adore that the model used here is a Japanese man, there is such a fantastic contrast between the femininity of the florals used and this mans strength and steely reserve. 

Shiro, the husband of our distributor Kimie in Japan, is actually a world renowned expert in Koi Carp, and even goes to California to judge Koi competitions. He showed me some large tanks that housed prize winning Koi whilst I was there and I was taken aback by the variety, black, white, yellow, orange in all shapes and sizes! They are extraordinary creatures, their colours are incredible and I love the way they glisten and shine as they glide through the water. There is a such a beauty in the variety of patterns too, I felt very inspired and privileged to see these magnificent fish in one of their native lands. 

Mr Takaya is hugely influenced by colours, this stems from his childhood as he grew roses just to see the variety of colours. I adore the fact that he is very sensitive to colours in his work and is almost dictated by the changing of the seasons in Japan. 

To create this Koi sculpture, Mr. Takaya first created the Koi using papier mache and then painted its distinctive pattern using Chalk Paint in Original, Emperor’s Silk and Graphite. To add a more realistic finish, he ingeniously used my Craqueler and Dark Wax, evoking the scales of the fish. The flowers he used include different varieties of chrysanthemums, which are typical Japanese flowers. The way he has placed the fish on to the headdresses looks so much like it is swimming through the flowers, just like it would swim through the seaweed.

I have completely fallen in love with this work, it is unlike anything I have ever seen created with paint and products, it feels fresh and new.

This, to me, is a true representation of Japan. Strong, bold, proud, a little unusual but always, always beautiful.

Yours, Annie