Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A day with Annie Sloan

 And what a day it was~!
Amy and Annie~
Annie Sloan came to Boston on her US tour and I had no idea how 
much attending this workshop would impact me! So come along with me
as I share my photo diary of the day I spent with Annie Sloan and company.
 It all started when Jami from Freckled Laundry blog emailed me asking if I was going to go to the Boston Annie Sloan workshop~well I hadn't heard about it, and told her to come up from New York and stay with me and we could go together~here we are meeting the night before the event at the hotel so we could connect with Jami's friend, Shauna from Perfectly Imperfect blog, as well as one of the original stockists in the US, the fabulous Patty Seaman and her talented sister Karen, who would also be instructing us on the latest techniques in the breakout session the day of the workshop.  Its so much fun meeting a blogger buddy in real life~! Our  iphone pics captured our first few hours together...
 ~Amy, Jami and Shauna~
This meeting had no big cameras or photo sessions, 
we were here to meet face to face over dinner and make connections.
We had dinner with Patty and Karen at PF Changs and 
blabbed about blogging and painting and shared bits of personal stuff like girl friends do~
 Karen and her sister Patty are artists and they would be instructing us the next day~I remember ordering paint from her shop in New Jersey when she was one of the only places in the US you could find this paint!  Now there are over 190 stockists selling Annie Sloan chalk paint, as the product has exploded in popularity in the US.  After a lovely dinner, (thank you Patty!!), we all headed to our respective beds to get some rest before our big day to come.
Jami and Dave were having coffee in the dining room~
time for a quick photo or two and then we were off to the races!
 Hubs took this pic of Jami and I as we left the house 
bright and early to meet Annie Sloan!
A bright crisp day in Boston~we headed into the Sheraton for the workshop.
 A sign said we were in the right place~follow me!
 There was a designated ballroom buzzing with ladies lined up at the registration desk~
 Janet, from The Empty Nest blog was also one of the instructors at the workshop and here she 
was checking my name off the list!  It was so fun to start seeing people from blogland in real life!!
She told me that she had spoken with Annie about me and said that Annie was looking forward to meeting me!!! I was filled with anticipation about what I would learn, and even more excited about meeting the guru behind this paint revolution.
 I connected with Tricia who is a Chalk Paint® stockist.  
She screamed down the hall as I approached the ballroom in the hotel~
 "AAAAMY!!!!!", like we had known each other for a hundred years!
 The dynamic duo, Patty and Karen of Classic Wall Finishes posed in their aprons.  As the event unfolded, I  would come to see how much Annie Sloan held these two in high esteem.
 In the ballroom lobby there were Annie Sloan displays and I noticed a very exciting thing~
there was going to be a french fabric line coming out this summer!  Stripes, toiles and florals all coordinated with AS colorways.  As a curtain maker, this really captured my interest.
 All around the registration room you could see who the bloggers were, hah!  Our big cameras hung from our necks as we shot everything and anything~ Here was Shauna taking pics of the display area.
 And Jami was doing the same...as was I. 
 ~Lisa, Jami, Amy, Patty, Shauna, Karen~
We were getting to feel a bit like celebs in the room as cameras trained their focus on us for this photo-op.  Lisa is the brainchild who made getting the Annie Sloan paint in the US happen!  It was only available in England until Lisa worked out a distribution deal.  This is one amazing lady~and at age 28 makes me feel like I might have been slacking for a decade or two! 
 ~The One and Only Annie Sloan~
We were then ushered into an adjoining room off the ballroom for the moment we all had been waiting for~and without much pomp or circumstance, onto the dais strolled Annie Sloan.  Jami and I got second row seats and our ears and eyes were trained on Annie as she introduced herself and described how she invented this paint with a chemist 20 years ago~!  
 There was a super size screen for those in the back rows to see a bit better~Annie was miked up and 
talked for two hours about her philosophy in regards to decorating and painting.  Truly fascinating, I was completely absorbed in her talk and demonstrations, and felt much like we spoke the same language.  You know its rare that I find creative juices outside my own devices such as looking through images on the web, or magazines or in my own settings...and here I had a woman with vast experience who could articulate on the creative process, and how she works.  I was loving this talk~!! Loved it! It was putting my brain in overdrive, I just can't explain it in better terms~I was in artistic juiceland!
 Annie demonstrated some techniques, like how she uses a stencil.  You quickly understood that perfection is not the goal, it was creating artistry by personal interpretation. 
"Go with it"
This was her mantra that she shared over and over~just "go with it"...don't fight the nature of a rustic piece trying to make it all polished.... perhaps you change your mind after you start painting a piece, yes, switch gears, its ok, just go with it...she shared her idea books and how she uses one color to create many colors, and then by adding a second color how the first color can be knocked down or an altogether new color can be created.  Check your fear at the door and just go with it~mistakes are almost impossible to make.
 Annie and her own sketch book that she created with each page featuring one of her paint colors and then how it can become many colors by adding 1, 2, 3 or 4 parts of old white paint.
 I was more than thrilled to watch her in action using Antoinette, that fabulous pink chalkpaint I have been using as soon as it came out! Above in the paint tray are two blobs of paint, Chateau Grey and Antoinette.  Annie uses this technique with a small foam roller to apply paint to stencils. The room erupted in laughter when she said she "doesn't use a stencil brush, life is too short for all of that"!  She positions the stencil half on the target area rubs a little of the combined paint, then rotates the stencil and rolls a little bit more and keeps repeating it until she creates this artistic effect~genius I say!  Annie said she doesn't want to line things up and measure and try to make things all in a row perfectly like many of us do when using stencils~Annie lets it fly! Look at how beautiful the result is~
 Stenciled sample created by Annie Sloan
 After the two hour talk, we went to "breakout rooms" where groups 
of about 10 gathered to try our hands on with some new techniques. 
 Patty and Karen would be showing us and encouraging 
us along the way~this was super fun!
 The long conference tables were covered in brown craft paper, and each table setting consisted of paint brushes, 3 samples of wood moldings, paper towels, sandpaper in various grits, and a can of water.
 The gilded carved frame molding and a smooth piece of wood molding 
would soon be transformed using the Sloan paint and techniques.
 Woah! Annie Sloan strolled right into our classroom and we got to get a little more personal with her while we started our sample boards.  She brought along her sketch book to talk more about the fabric line. The fabrics will be made in France and come in two widths, 54" and 110"!  She showed off the samples and while I looked at her personal sketch book I felt like I was eating a big ice cream sundae!!
It was 
wonderful, inspiring and exciting~
but that's the kind of stuff I get off on, you know!
 Bowls of  Anointette and Country Grey were set out on the table~
 Karen showed me a stencil board using the Sloan technique which was done in Scandinavian Pink base, country grey over it with dark wax and a touch of gilding.  
 Patty, in the background, was instructing a first time user~it was interesting to see who came to the event.  There were almost as many Annie Sloan Virgins as there were Annie Sloan Addicts.
 And I have to say it was sooo fun doing all of this with Jami!  She is sporting the apron we all got to wear and keep~most women attending came by themselves, and many drove from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine and New York~and quite a few hopped on planes, like Shauna from Alabama!
 More bowls of paint and more techniques~we painted for four hours!!
 These gilded frame molding samples are the versions Jami, Gina (the gal to my right) and I made using Antoinette.  Some of us added dark wax, old white paint, and touches of Aubusson.  We used a rub away technique to reveal the gilded touches below the surface. After all our boards were done (and there several others I am not showing) we cleaned up to head to the book signing at the end of the event.
 Jami getting two books signed by Annie~
Patty Seaman says if you can only get one of Annies books~this is her favorite as it highlights 50 easy projects one can do with chalk paint.  Patty gave me a copy as a gift~I had left my own book, "Creating the French Look" at home sitting on my coffee table, darn it! I had so wanted Annie to sign it for me~so instead I thought of something a little more fun...
 Remember this piece of decorative molding I painted with Antoinette~
She obliged and laughed when I asked
 her to sign it with this sentiment~
To the Antoinette in us ALL!!!!
 Annie kindly signed my Antoinette molding sample and her book, 
Quick and Easy Paint Transformations~
 she wrote~"To Maison Decor (Amy!!)"
"Thank you so much for all your support! 
Annie Sloan
Her trademark scribbly style bubbled across the page~
And that was the end of the workshop~
however later this week  I will share how Jami and I went to the most
fabulous old barn and shared a lavish country dinner~
and I got to sit right next to Annie herself!!!
Until then~


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