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I’d like you to meet my new inspiration, Jill Gardiner. Jill is an 19 year old artist with a passion and flare for pattern and design. She walked into my studio one day to exchange a necklace I had created for her as a gift from her family.  We had set aside a time to redesign the necklace to be more to her liking.  During our visit, she asked if I could give her some advice on the wall design for her bedroom. She had already been experimenting with Wallovers stencils.

Then she pulled out a paper cutting design from her folder that made my jaw drop! She had cut and created this tiny, intricate pattern in a repeat islamic tile design… BY HAND!

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I soon forgot about the jewelry project… as we spoke about Islamic art and architecture, pattern, color and textiles. What fun!  (Above are her designs soon to be Wallovers’ Stencils)

Jill found a love for art after taking a multi-media art class in high school at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Connecticut.

“I used newspaper to build a replica of a mosque and I realized I loved working with paper!”

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But her real inspiration came after a civilization class with a fascinating  unit on Islamic art and architecture. Kudos to that teacher!  But all the real credit goes to Jill, who took this love into her independent senior study on the Ottoman Empire architecture. Her project focused on Turkey and the works of Sinan, one of the head architects under Suleyman I.

Jill traveled to Turkey to see the architecture which increased her passion for the style.

“I love to incorporate graphic design in my work and, because I and a perfectionist and love math,  I find repeat designs fascinating!  I used to carry around a ruler in school because I loves lines, but now I can see my work developing as I create more complex curves and repeats.” she says

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If you have read  blogs about my daughter, Stephanie Davis, you will see why I think these two girls would get along!  Stephanie, also a huge lover of pattern and design, will be soon exhibiting her colorful, ethereal paintings at The Skinny Pancake  restaurant in Burlington, Vermont.

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I can only imagine if I had both of them here to collaborate!

Jill is now an intern in the studio, working on new designs for Cynthia designs and Wallovers, marketing and efforts for the Canvas Peace Project.

Her paper cutting above will be translated into our newest design to be released in March….And….she did an excellent job as my assistant faux painting this very large wall for Spinning Lotus Studios using Wallovers Serenity stencil.

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Unfortunately for us, Jill does need to go back to school, but we hope to share our passions for pattern as long as we possibly can. So, if you call Wallovers or Cynthia Designs and hear a new, energetic voice…say “hello” to Jill.

I cannot imagine where this passionate and talented young woman’s talents will take her, but I definitely will be watching and staying a part of it!

Oh, and I think she was happy with how her necklace came out.  Maybe we will design some jewelry together too!

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It’s time to bring out the red. It’s so easy to say “yes” to favors for the holidays with the ease of allover designs using a large stencil and the industries largest stencil brush, the WALLBUSTER. This brush expands to 3 inches when in use so you get the greatest amount of coverage with one load of the paint.

The past two years I have supported this wonderful event at the Fairfield, CT  historic Burr Mansion. Each designer creates a holiday vignette  for the Christmas Tree Festival and all the proceeds fro the sale of their items go to local charities. The  local designers, Donna Bonafide and Kim Smith, chose a red and white theme to kick off this holiday party and asked me for something to brighten the feature wall, a challenge when you cannot touch the historic walls! ….But with a some Roc Lon Canvas and clips… it’s easy.

I love reverse stencils because you can go crazy on the background, forgetting lap lines and mistakes. The stencil will cover most of it showing your creation as it peaks through to create the actual design. it’s hard to see here, but I used many different white on white products, including Modern Masters shimmer stone, various glitters and mica powders.  Then stenciled using wallovers’ Maya’s Rose Revers stencil  with Ben Moore 2004-20 mixed with a little Antique Cherry Stain ‘N Seal, my favorite red combination. Once hung, the lights lit up all the sparkle.  So don’t forget to try a reverse  stencil design with a Wallbuster brush the next time you squeeze in philanthropic project!

I recently took a trip to the textile museum in Washington, DC.  The museum is small with only a few rooms which I felt couldn’t do justice to all the history and global influences on textile design. I was mostly enthralled with the gift shop with a wonderful selection of books and magazines I found myself sitting on the floor sifting through pages of scrumptious photos.

I love textiles. I just want to look deeply into the stitches and find out how each and every weave is accomplished. I never appreciated work more than my visit to the weaving market in Chinchero, Peru located 13,000 feet above sea level. The air is thin but that does not stop these women from producing. We watched as they dyed alpaca wool and worked looms for hours creating the tightest stiches imaginable.

Shopping in the local market was a feast for the eyes with brilliant colors and patterns stacked like candy.

The difficult part of shopping was choosing just one thing to bring home when every piece was its own work of art.


After a long day in the high altitude, we happily returned to our peaceful chakra garden, mystical surroundings and yoga room at Wilka tiki in the sacred valley of Urabumba.

Driving down 3000 feet in altitude also helped the headaches and breathing, giving us energy for some much needed yoga. In the studio I was keenly aware of the antique carpets and woven mats used making each little bench a unique retreat. Everything at Wilka Tika awakened the senses of the soul.

Have you ever had the “after vacation blues” when you know work is awaiting you and the memories and restful feeling of the trip begins to slip away?  Those blues set in for me on the airplane ride home. To channel the energy from the trip I took out my computer and began drawing the hundreds of small geometric shapes that would create “Batik” by Wallovers, reminding me of the fabrics in the peaceful valley.

“Batik” is a stencil design that once applied to any surface will create the look of hand paintied and dyed fabric.

Remembering the wonderful spaces at Wilka Tika Retreat I realized the space between the walls at home was a perfect spot to fabricate a bench in our own small yoga room. I began by painting a wonderful red and fushia base, hand-brushed to create a an impression of a woven background. I used modern masters metallic Gold Rush paint and some mica powders for the strong contrast of a yellow gold. The base was then made from Terracotta  chimney flues that I painted in a periwinkle blue.

The final touch was the Bench pillows made from the fabrics collected at the markets in Peru and the Chakra Gardens book from Wilka Tika. What a cure for the blues!!!

Proceeds from the book benefit the non-profit Wilka Tika Children’s Fund to support the isolated mountain schools and Andean children in their communities founded by the writer and Wilka Tika owner Carol Cumes.

Nothing is more daunting then thinking about repainting cabinetry. Right?

No longer! Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint makes all the arduous preparation a thing of the past. It can be applied to any painted surface. The surface for this Refrigerator wall was painted to start in a latex Ben moore paint, Classic Color 1146. I wish I remembered to take a “Before “pic!  Isn’t that everyone’s biggest mistake??

We get so excited about the project and complete it without ever showing how awful it looked to start. Darn.

Well, at least I can show you the process.  For some reason I can NEVER just use a paint color out of the can the way it comes. Why is that? It’s like disease. For this project  I mixed three colors: 3/4 Emperor’s  Silk red,  1/4 Arles and a touch of Primer red. ok , I know that’s more than 100%  but that’s always how my measurements turn out.

After mixing and testing to dry on a sample of wood,  you are ready to paint the cabinet. Apply the paint with a wide chip brush or even better, Pierre Finkelstein’s  Spalter brush (yes, that’s actually the name of it). As Tiff Ziter said at the Faux Expo, “Here Cynthia, Use this Spalter brush…you will never use a chip brsuh again!”  Well, she might be right.  At least not for this application…..hard to give up old scruffy chip brushes forever but  this brush is a MUST HAVE!

Apply the paint heavily so you have complete coverage in one coat. During the application hit the thick spots with a hairdryer or heat gun so they bubble and chip off, giving the affect of old weathered paint.

After you have completed the painting and chipping process, let the piece dry overnight. When you return you can begin the waxing process. Annie Sloan sells a great brush for waxing. I have to say I also tried The Wallovers Allover brush and it worked great so if you have one of those on hand you can definitely use it!  The results are awesome!

Lightly coat the surface with clear wax first. This controls the dark wax and enables you to apply it with a lighter touch. The clear wax will allow the dark wax to rest on the surface a bit and not darken it excessively.  Start light as you can always build up on the dark wax.

And that’s it! With a little patience you can create a piece that looks like its from an old barn. And, because you can skip a lot of the preparation work and sanding and stripping, it is actually fun!

 

When I was asked to paint on muslin I was challenged. First of all, if I made a mistake, if the paint bled under the stencil or left a mark, I was finished. You can’t paint over or get fabric paint off fabric. I was also asked to try a new paint that I was introduced to at the Quilt show in Houston last fall. So the inexperience with this particular paint and the thin Muslin was enough to make me sweat. The muslin was given to me by Rockland industries to then be made into a quilt.  hmmm, ok, I’d like to see this happen.

Well, Of course I used a Wallovers stencil to start and chose a couple of contrasting and happy colors, copper and aqua for my design. I chose Mediteranean Tile as it is simple, small with an easy repeat! By blocking off some of the design with masking tape, I easily turned the stencil into a two color pattern.


Surprisingly, the  thin muslin was extremely easy to work with! (Roc-Lon #5115 118/120″, bleached, 100% cotton, CRF  crease resistant finish). The stencil, with a little spray adhesive on the back, stayed beautifully on the fabric. The fabric did not scoot and the paint……like butta! (Stewart Gill Paints available through Notions Marketing)


I still do not know if it was the fabric and the way it accepted the paint, or the really creamy, delicious fabric paint that made the job so simple. I used the old swirl stencil technique, (I am usually a pouncer),and the small, 8oz container  of paint completed 2 sides of a king size quilt. It just kept going and going! After stenciling the two king size sides of muslin, I shipped it back to Roclon and off it went to the quilter. Where the real magic happened!!!

White Lotus Quilting in Bainbridge, Washington took this basic painted muslin and tuned it into a real work of art.


By adding her own creative touches to the design, Marybeth O’Halloran and her quilting machines at White Lotus created a one-of-a-kind, muslin quilt.


Gorgeous! what a team effort! Thanks Rockland, Wallovers, Stewart Gills Paints and White Lotus. Can’t wait to see it displayed at the next quilt show!


 


Ok  all you Faux Fans. I am about to show you a new Wallovers design that isn’t even part of our line yet. But put it on your  “Wish List” because this one is gorgeous! Yes, I know it one of those, ugh, double layer stencils. But how else can you get the beauty of a hand painted, theorem look on entire wall without two overlays.

I started by creating texture with tissue paper. I am not showing that layer here because it is not necessary with the foil we will be using but if you want that added texture, apply creased tissue paper to the wall with a mixture of 50/50% Elmers glue/water before base coating. Here I am base coating with Ben Moore HC-37. My all time favorite gold, with a green hue.

For you experts who can see the crocodile print in the bottom left corner, you caught me. I am rolling over something else I started but that will disappear ( if you like the croc print, you can get that too), at Wallovers.com It’s called Wild Thing and was a huge hit recently at the Quilt show in Houston, Texas.

Next I  applied a layer of Wundasize and let  it dry until tacky.

Then released some Gold Crackle foil using a strong bristle brush. I wasn’t concerned with full coverage but the little bit of shimmer really added to the elegance!

Now comes the fun part. STENCILING. Layer one….

 

 

 

PLus Layer two…..

Equals this…….

The pom elements create the perfect opportunity to bring in additional color. Love this one. If you do too, you can preorder with us and get 20% off. This design won’t be available for a few weeks but email us and get on the list.  It’s called Pom Pom. Happy Thanksgiving!

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