Recently a friend was throwing out a very
old wooden child’s chair. It had been left in a shed for the last fifteen years
and the seat was lifting up from the frame and the paint was peeling.
To restore the situation and to make a suitable chair for my grandson, first of all we tacked the seat back onto the frame.
Then my grandson and I sanded the chair.
Next we painted it with Annie Sloan pure chalk white , and once it was dry we painted it with Annie Sloan Antibes green paint. To finish off and give it a smooth finish, we gave it a coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint wax clear.
Annie Sloan paint in Provence and Aubusson, Annie Sloan furniture wax, Old tapestries, Thread, Paper to make a pattern, Upholstery tacks, Decorative upholstery nails, chair to upholster
Equipment A cotton rag, Sandpaper Paint brush, Needle-nosed pliers, Pins, Paper Cutting Scissors , Dressmaking scissors, Sewing machine, Iron and ironing board, Small pin hammer
1. Using the needle-nosed pliers prize out
any old upholstery nails and tacks. Carefully remove the fabric and pin the
pieces, right side up, on the paper and draw round them and then cut out to
make a pattern. Cut out the patterns.
2. Place the tapestries on the chair and arrange and re-arrange until you are happy with the composition. When you are happy, create sections of tapestry patchwork by machine stitching oblongs onto one another. Iron all the seams flat.
3. Pin the paper pattens onto the wrong
side of the tapestry patchwork, allowing at least a 5cm (2inch) seam allowance
all the way round each piece. Lay the sewn patchwork on the chair and check you
are happy with it before cutting it out.
4. Paint the Provence paint onto the wooden parts of the chair and leave to dry. Paint the Aubusson over the Provence and leave to dry. Sand back parts of the second colour. To finish the paint work, rub in wax with a cotton cloth,
5. Pin each section of the tapestry onto the chair. Start attaching the pieces using the upholstery tacks. Start with the front of the chair. Begin in the middle and work outwards, stretching and pulling as you go. Apply a tack every 3cm(11/4in). Pull the fabric so it is as taut as possible before you put in the tacks. When you have reached one end, go back to the middle and start again, working in the opposite direction.
6. Repeat the process to attach the other patchwork tapestry pieces on the chair front and then the chair back. Always work from a centre point outwards, applying tacks in one direction and then the opposite direction, so that you don’t get twisting and distortion. Check that you are happy with your work and make adjustments as necessary.
To finish hammer the decorative upholstery nails down the sides at the back of the chair, covering the tacks you previously hammered in.
Annie Sloan has just launched her third Bookazine , The colourist (hard copy, editorial like a magazine, no adverts like a book). Here is the interview I did with in her, in her eclectic studio and headquarters, about her life, passion and rise to fame. Annie Sloan is known for her paint company and in particular her chalk paints. She also produces at least one book a year on different aspects of painting, decorating and up-cycling furniture. Recently she added a limited edition of printed textiles to her products.
JB Did you go to art school originally and if
so where and what did you study?
AS I went to Croydon art school to begin with and
then I finished at reading University, I was at art school for seven years.
Stared off doing a foundation, which I actually did for two years whilst I
tried to figure out what I was going to do. I wanted to do everything!! In the
end I chose Fine Art because Fine Art seems to be the basis of everything.
JB Annie I met you many moons ago when we were
both craft authors. Can you tell us how you made the leap from being an author
to running your international paint company?
AS Yes I remember well!! I wrote books and I was also going out and painting for people who had commissioned pieces. I had a young family and I wanted to be able to have something that I was doing and making but that could be sold whilst I was still raising my children. I was looking for something, I got the idea for paint from other paints that were around at the time. People were beginning to think back to traditional paints such as milk paints. From that idea I started to think about what I could make, and one thing led to another.
JB What made you want to produce your own paint
and was it difficult to find a manufacturer?
AS Once I became keen to make a paint, I happened
to mention it whilst out for dinner in Utrecht. I spoke to a Belgium man who
just happened to know someone who owned a paint factory and made paint.
JB You have to create a range of colours and
obviously some will sell better than others, was it difficult in the beginning
to know which ones would sell best?
AS I wasn’t thinking about selling to be honest, I was thinking about
what colours I would want and need. Money doesn’t come first. I was already painting furniture and I was
after certain traditional colours that weren’t available. It was important to
me that I could mix colours to make other colours, just like an artists paint
JB Can you influence sales of certain colours by presenting a
fabulous upcycled project on your web site or blog?
AS We do know that when we get something printed
in a popular magazine, we often see an influx in sales of that particular
product. I think that’s the same in the shop, if I painted something in
Antibes, people would buy more of that colour.
JB You sell abroad do any of your suppliers hold
how does this work?
AS No we don’t have any franchises at all, the
reason being that we are a creative company and I feel to offer someone a
franchise is too restrictive. Creative people need to be able have there own
style, we just look for wonderful shops to sell the paint, run workshops and be
inspiring. We love passionate people to get involved.
JB Are any members of your family involved in running the business
and if so what roles do they perform?
AS My husband works with me, he is in charge of
the finances. He’s the calm cool one!! My middle son Felix is the Brand
Director and has a Graphic Design background, he’s very much like me but also
completely different. Felix’s partner Lizzy is also involved in the business,
she does the Digital Marketing but at the moment has just had her third baby so
she is on maternity leave.
JB What is a typical working day like for you or is there no such
AS No such thing!! Every day is different, tomorrow I am off to
Venice, we make some of our woven linens , so I am off to do some colour
matching there- it’s important to get these things right! Last week I was at
conference in Rotterdam with our European distributors. I was painting
yesterday, working on some new products which I am excited about. We are
painting furniture for photo shoot in London next week. I am also doing plenty
of events this year. (Handmade Fair in London September and I also do The Country Living Fair). Things are
JB One of the reasons I am interviewing successful
women who are over forty is that they have often had to take a career break, or
had to slow down to deal with child care and or aged parents. Have you ever had
to deal with either of these of issues and did it impact on your creative life
AS Yes and no, I didn’t really start the business
until my children were a little bit older, I was 42 when I started making the
paint and running the business. I wanted be a around when the kids were small
so I suppose I put it hold for awhile, I always worked but was able to be there
when they were ill and look after them.
JB You run creative workshops at many different
events and venues. Do you enjoy doing them?
AS Yes I do! I love meeting people, I find people
JB You collaborated with Oxfam producing a colour
for them how did this come about?
AS Well it was just one of those magical things. Oxfam are based in
Oxford, hence the name Oxford and Famine, and they were looking for a paint
company to work with. The discovered that we were also in Oxford, it was a
marriage made in heaven. They asked us if we were keen to collaborate and I
didn’t even think twice about it.
JB What did it involve and did you enjoy the
experience? AS It was one of the
most excellent experiences of my life, so impactful. I went to Ethiopia and
made a colour inspired by my travels. It makes you realise that people are
people, for me it confirmed that money is not what it’s about- it’s about other
things. The people there are just amazing, they do need things but they are
still vibrant and positive.
JB What is the best part of your work and what is the worst part?
AS Collaborating with some amazing people and
groups, it’s just so incredibly special to work with some wonderful people and
places. It’s open up so many worlds for me, such as Oxfam. Worst part endless
days were there are just so many meetings and I can’t get any painting done.
JB Who or what inspires you?
AS The Punk approach to life is absolutely
fabulous- anyone can do anything!! You don’t have to be posh, you just have to
be interesting. People inspire me, I talk to everybody and want to find out as
much as I can about others.
JB How long have you been working as a
AS I suppose since 1975, so guess over 40 years…oh
JB What advice would you give to any designer
starting out today?
AS Don’t give up, practice and keep at it. Trust
your gut. It doesn’t happen overnight. Someone once criticized me in Art school
and it really had an effect on me, don’t let criticism put you off!!
Many thanks Juliet. Photography by Antonia Attwood RCA
I have just spent 2 hours at the
hairdressers and rather than reading all the gossip and fashion magazines I
decided to take my own copy of the
latest edition of the The Colourist. I am so pleased I did.
When they first appeared a few years ago I had my reservations about Bookazines, that cross between a book and a magazine, I suppose it was as much to do with the price as anything.
I had a few questions about this form of publishing, the first being:
If you are going to pay the best part of
£10 why not just buy a book?
A book takes much longer to produce and the information you get in a bookazine is bang up to date.
Why are so many bookazines cropping up, as
the rest of print journalism is very much on the decline.
I think the answer to this is that there are many journalists and designers who are passionate about their subject whether it be design and interiors such as shown in 91 magazine, Rakes Progress the progressive guide to gardens, plants, flowers and The Colourist – which is a cornucopia of design and colour.
have a particular look and feel about them. On the whole the paper is nicer
than run of the mill magazines, they feel like something you want to keep and
they are not full of adverts.
aware that Annie is promoting her chalk paints and ‘The Colourist’ is a great
showcase for them. However the bookazine is, like Annie herself, full of
practical information, design inspiration and examples of how to use
This issue features two of my favourite designers Anni Albers whose work was shown at the Guggenheim Bilbao before transferring to the Tate Modern late last year. Albers is known mainly for her weaving that was created at the Bauhaus although she worked in many other disciplines too.
The magazine covers, what is trending, design classics, inspiration and also homes, including Annie’s own home in France. There are features from abroad plus How-to’s and also includes two stencils that you can use on a project of your choice.
As a bibliophile I am delighted that The
Colourist also includes book reviews.
“It all boils down to sharing my passion
for style and colour. I want to inspire everyone to get creative!” says Annie
The Colourist is a Bookazine and is Annie Sloan‘s latest venture. The current plan is to publish bi-yearly, but don’t quote me on that.
For those who don’t know, a bookazine, as it says on the tin, is a cross between a book and a magazine. It looks magazine like, but is printed on much better paper. At £9.95 it is twice the price of a magazine, but it is a periodical that you will want to keep, as you would a book.
I did wonder if The Colourist would just be a vehicle for Annie to sell more of her excellent chalk paint. The paint does feature, but in such an inspirational and interesting way it doesn’t feel like an advertorial.
After an introduction by Annie, where she espouses her love of colour, the Bookazine is divided into sections starting with The colour hunter. This includes, What is new, Annie’s picks, Designer Focus, Trend watch and a competition.
There are travel features and most importantly Annie’s work with Oxfam in Ethiopia.
There are quite a few How To’s and Make Over’s and a lovely give away, a free style stencil accompanied by step by step photographs showing how to use the stencil, to create a tile table top.
Before I finish this review I think it is important to mention Felix Sloan who is the creative director of The Colourist and Jane Toft, the Managing Editor. Jane is very imaginative and so in touch with the zeitgeist, it was she who started Mollie Makes and The Simple Things. Their combined hard work and design flair has created something truly desirable.
Perhaps Annie should have the final word.
“It all boils down to sharing my passion for style and colour. I want to inspire everyone to get creative!”