Faux-cus on the Pros: Melanie Royals – Part 2
Our Faux-cus on the Pros series profiles creative entrepreneurs in the decorative painting and design industries. This week, we profile Melanie Royals, who has helped shape our industry with innovative ideas, products and finishes. In Part 1, we covered the beginnings of her career and talked a bit about the history of the humble stencil, too. We continue our interview with Melanie today and talk about design leanings and what’s coming up next for her companies, Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs. I think what I admire most about her team is that nothing is ever taken lightly. Everything released — be it a video, webinar or even a marketing flyer — is consistently done with an impeccable creative edge. I find that spirit of Excellence inspiring. Let’s continue with the interview!
What are some of your personal favorite designs and styles?
Well the whole “modern movement” has been a bit rough for me because I’m a classics girl, all the way! There is SUCH a rich history of centuries of pattern that has been beautifully cataloged in design books, and I have tried to buy all of them!
The classic forms and shapes of ornament that developed independently all over the world all come from nature and I believe that they speak to us at a deeper, more personal level and are a part of our collective creative souls. Other design trends come and go like fashion fads, but we keep coming back to the classics. You can see evidence of this in all the design magazines and blogs. Can I get an AMEN that the whole stripped-down, chilly modern look is fading away! (Fauxology Note: AMEN!)
(above) Celestial Turkish Emblems, Tooled Leather, Fortuny Silk and Foiled Again (below)
The great thing about what we do is that we can recreate classic styles for artistic contemporary applications. I love using pattern as just one ingredient of surface decoration, and combining it with texture, patina, light reflection, color, etc. This is where we can really use our individual creativity and artistic exploration.
I am not so much into historical recreation…
…as historical reinterpretation.
When I am looking through classic pattern books or reference material, my eye sees an image of a pattern, but my mind is racing ahead to place it into a context that contains all the possible surface and combination of materials I might use to create a unique effect with it. I have always thought of stencils as just an ingenious means to and end; a simple tool to create a unique, artistic surface.
With my love of classic, European design, I am feeling super fortunate that I was approached this year by the licensing director for The Hearst Castle Collection to develop a series of Royal Design Studio stencils and Modello masking patterns from the extensive library of pattern and design that can be found at Hearst Castle. For me, this is like a beautiful gift! Hearst Castle is filled with exquisite antique ceilings rescued from palaces, villas, churches and monasteries from Spain and France, and I have access to the architectural drawings of the prolific Julia Morgan.
We will be offering both single layer and multi-layer (theorem-style) versions of the designs, as they lend themselves to some more intricate and ornate pattern work. I will be introducing these designs at the upcoming IDAL convention and also on my painting trip to Barcelona in June, where the students there will be the first to use them as we complete several complex panel samples during our stay in a former monastery just outside of the city.
I have also always loved Arabic and Moorish decoration and been heavily influenced by the 3 painting trips I have led to Marrakech, Morocco. To me, these are also classic patterns and I love the spiritual geometry behind the pattern development. The complex, interlacing designs have a special way of drawing you in, and they seem to have a universal appeal as well. I’ll be leading a fourth (and probably last) trip back to Marrakech this coming October.
It is a very special, inspiring place, especially for those who appreciate art and beauty the way that decorative artisans do. Being able to experience other countries and cultures with and through the eyes of fellow artists has been such a gift and blessing in my life that I am very grateful for.
Do you believe in destiny or choice?
Both. I believe that we are all here to serve and work towards a higher path and purpose, but WE make choices every hour of the day that affect how we travel quickly or with what degree of difficulty we travel on that path. Sometimes our choices lead us to detour and dead ends, but what we learn on those side trips helps guide us later on down the road. Or at least that’s the hope! I think the trick is to try to learn from our mistakes (which are really valuable lessons), but not to dwell on them. I try to live in the now but my focus is definitely always on what’s coming over the horizon!
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Good words to live by! I do hope you have enjoyed our two-part chat with Melanie Royals. Please be sure to also check out her Facebook Fan page for Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio as well as her Twitter profile. Her blog, Design Amour, is a fantastic read and she does posts videos frequently on her YouTube page. A big Thank You! to Melanie for e-chatting with us and sharing her story, insights and more about her businesses. I hope you’ve been inspired as you go into the weekend!