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Faux-cus on the Pros: Melanie Royals – Part 2

June 3, 2011 11 Comments by Regina

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!

A small portion of her bookshelf...

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.

YouTube Preview Image

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!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

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!

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  1. Gina
    1298 days ago

    Hi Regina, We stayed at Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech last Fall. The work Melanie and her team executed at the Pavilion was even more beautiful than pictures tell.

  2. Tamra/The Gilded Barn
    1298 days ago

    I loved the little picture of “a small portion of her bookshelf”. That made me laugh because it’s a pretty massive bookshelf filled to the brim with amazing books!

    I’m headed to Melanie’s studio next week for the second time and can’t wait to see her and her stunning and inspiring studio once again.

    Great interview Regina, thank you.

  3. Theresa Cheek
    1298 days ago

    OMG…where to start? First of all…AMEN! Melanie has always been consistent with the origins of design…Moorish and African patterns as old as time..that were later reinterpreted by the Flemish, Italians and Spanish…Melanie now reinterprets into stencil designs that are investments….not trendy throw aways after the season has passed.

    Hearst stencils!!!! Be still my heart! I am lining up for these!

    Regina-you enrich my life daily and shape my decisions through your blog posts….thank you for all the time involved in keeping this level of integrity. ;)

  4. Melanie Royals
    1298 days ago

    Ditto what Theresa said! Thanks so much for the feature Regina (twas fun!) and for all you nice editorial comments. :) Don’t burn yourself out girl! You are a much needed, genuine light in this little industry of ours xoxo.

  5. anna sadler
    1298 days ago

    Regina, with Melanie as the featured artist on your blog, you could probably devote an entire YEAR and just be scratching the surface with all the incredible inspiration Melanie gives us all!

    Truly, I know no one like her, she is an ICON in our industry!

    one day, my ultimate treat would be to partake in an overseas adventure… the meantime, with all the beautiful patterns and designs in the Royal design line and Modello catalog, , we all have the opportunity to create magic on our blank canvases, be they walls, mirrors, ceilings floors and furniture.

    looking forward to seeing the Hearst collection, got a sneak peak some months back…!

    thank you again Regina for the pleasure of your “company” with my morning coffee!

  6. Katie
    1298 days ago

    I second, third, fourth Theresa and Anna’s comments. I love Melanie’s work, design style and decorating influences…and even though I don’t have the opportunity to use a lot of stencils, when I do, I only use Royal Design Studio! I’m dying to get my hands on the Hearst Castle stencils…so excited for those. I want to use them in my own home. And I hope to one day be able to take part in one of her painting trips to Morocco! Great feature, Regina!

  7. Alan carroll
    1297 days ago

    Thank you for an inspiring post. Very interesting spotlight on a great artist and businessperson.

  8. Melanie@designamour
    1297 days ago

    Thank you all for the lovely comments! Makes me want to stay around for another 20-something-something years! :)

  9. Thea
    1296 days ago

    Definitely, please stay around for a long while Melanie!! I too, like Anna, enjoy my coffee with Regina and hope to go on an art adventure in another country.

  10. ron
    1295 days ago

    bravo regina !!!!!!!!!!!
    great insites by a master of her trade much admiration to melanie royals
    the thought of learning from mistakes and not dwelling on them
    right on !!!!!!

    loved this regina and melanie
    most sincerly

  11. business daily
    1287 days ago

    Some students who previously did not even consider stenciling as a legitimate or saleable artistic medium have been amazed at the professional and creative opportunities that have opened up for them after adding the class samples to their portfolios. The program is based around 20 different stenciling techniques and effects that Royals has developed and identified.

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