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Category: Guest Bloggers

23 Dec

You Say Modern, I Say Contemporary

As I surf online and go on consults, I see and hear the words Modern and Contemporary thrown around quite a bit.  I wondered, “Is there a difference between the styles or were they both a part of the same pot?”  I sought out the incredible Connecticut-based interior designer Sharon McCormick to help answer the question.  I’m so glad I did, because now I not only know that there is indeed a difference but can also identify the correct style innately while having a design-related conversation.  Interested in knowing more?  Let’s let Sharon take it away…

Sharon McCormick, Allied ASID

Sharon McCormick:  When I begin working with a new client, I of course ask them what style they have in mind.  Often a client will say they want their interiors to be “modern”.  Experience has taught me that my idea of modern and theirs are two entirely different things!  As they begin describing their ideal modern living room, I translate it to “contemporary”.  To designers, modern is mid-century modern.  I don’t know why, but The Dick Van Dyke Show living room always pops into my head, the low-slung divans and chairs with exposed legs in particular.  But I digress.

The easiest way for me to get the difference across is to describe Modern as 40’s and 50’s retro.  In the alternate, rather than a defined period of time, Contemporary is just of the moment.

My New England clients have been slow to warm to the idea of mid-century modern, while my metropolitan clients have been excited about it for several years. I’ve also found age to be a determining factor in my clientele. Those who lived through the mid-century era generally have little interest in recreating it, while the younger crowd perceives the modern look as having a very cool vibe. (The exact same is true for shag rugs, in case you were wondering.)

In design school, I took a class called 1000 Chairs. It wasn’t until recently that the well-known, iconic pieces and designers of the 1940’s and 1950’s became a part of my daily design lexicon.  I love it when  things that didn’t seem useful at the time suddenly become entirely relevant!


Contemporary is the style my clients use most frequently. Contemporary design is free-wheeling, and can incorporate antiques, mid-century pieces as well as the latest designs. Color schemes and materials are au courant, so rooms don’t look like museums, but there are no rules at all.  Clients often refer to their taste as “eclectic”, because they want so many styles to be incorporated into their homes, but feel comfort in giving their style a name.



In modern design, the walls are painted a neutral, generally white. The main pieces of furniture therefore stand out, especially if they one of a few pieces selected for their pop of primary color.  Shades of neutrals reign, in the upholstery fabrics, draperies, rugs, floors and wood furniture. While this certainly doesn’t make a room feel warm and cozy, there is often a sense of control and orderliness that people find comfortable. The lines in modern design are simple, whether they are straight or curved. There are no flourishes. The mix of materials used in pieces from this era is truly remarkable.  Lucite, plastic, chrome and molded plywood are its hallmarks. Think the plywood and leather Eames chair and ottoman or the leather and chrome Le Corbusier chairs which grace the lobbies of so many public spaces.

One of my favorite places to shop for mid century modern furnishings is Irwin Feld Design in Stamford, CT. It is THE place to shop in Fairfield County, and is often tapped by top NY designers.  Here are some of my favorite pieces:

Lucite Barrel Chairs upholstered in metallic faux leather, made by Hill Manufacturing. Fabulous start to a stunning living room.

Biomorphic End Tables made of materials which define the era: teak, glass & nickel.

So now that you know how a designer defines modern and contemporary, what is your style?

 ~  ~  ~

I hope you enjoyed today’s post!  Sharon has graciously provided a list of books and websites she recommends in order to keep learning about both modern and contemporary design; do see them below.  Sharon has a fantastic Facebook fan page where she shares links and images she comes across, please do become a fan — in fact, give her a shout-out if you liked the article!  She also has a great website you can look through as well as her frequently updated eponymous design blogThank you, Sharon, for the wonderful tutorial!  Have a wonderful day, dear Readers!

~ ~ ~

Sharon's Recommendations for Modern Design
BOOKS: Sourcebook of Modern Furniture,Mid-Century Modern

Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Details

WEBSITES: Design within Reach, BoConcept and Room & Board

Sharon's Recommendations for Contemporary Design
BOOKS: Barry Dixon Inspirations, Michael S. Smith Kitchens & Baths
and The Language of Interior Design

WEBSITES: Z Gallerie, GILT and 1st Dibs

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08 Dec

Stenciling with an Airbrush

Sheri Hoeger is the lead designer and director of Big Oak Arts Studio.  She also started her stencil company, The Mad Stencilist, back in 1992.  We were happy to profile her for our Portrait of an Artist series back in 2010.  She has kindly agreed to write about something she is quite known for: Stenciling with an Airbrush. It is truly a wonderful way of working with stencils, giving beautiful lines and blended color. Let’s dig in…

Sheri Hoeger:  The airbrush is an incredibly versatile tool that is capable of the softest shading, the finest line and beautiful displays of color. This is achieved by delivering a fine spray of paint to the intended surface.  I have always been fascinated with the combination of soft airbrushed shading and the wide variety of edges that are defined by using stencils and masks. A stencil is simply a sheet of holes that one paints through to make an image. A mask can be an edge or found object that is cut, torn or used in its entirety to create a shape.

The array of effects you can achieve with relative ease is one of the big advantages of using the airbrush. I enjoyed being able to keep a consistent look to this cow mural even though the vent was in the way.

To get started with airbrush you need a good tool and clamp holder, an air source and high quality paint, such as Golden Fluid Acrylics, which I use along with Golden Airbrush Medium for thinning to skim milk consistency. Also, try to set up a work area where you can leave your equipment set up and close at hand. Be cautious about using the cheapest airbrush you can find. A quality tool will set you up for success. There are many airbrushes on the market that are excellent and I find the Iwata Eclipse to be a workhorse of a tool and suited to almost everything I do. It is available in either siphon-feed style or gravity feed styles.

For most of my airbrushed stencil work, I layer several colors within each window starting with the lightest and working to the darkest. I generally alternate between warm and cool colors with each color covering less area than the color before it. This allows you to see the full range of hues that are created by that particular combination and there is also a muting effect that tones the colors, which makes them look natural. I load an airbrush for each color, which are attached to a manifold, which is attached to my compressor. I usually use no more than 4 colors for any given design such as the floral shown. As an example, a floral like the one shown here is airbrushed with four colors: yellow, green, red, blue. (The one exception being the robin’s egg blue, which could not be achieved with the 4 color palette used in the rest of the composition.) The different tones and values are achieved by the order and ratio of the colors being layered.

Objects can be painted to look cartoon-like or stylized, like the image below.

Realism can also be achieved depending on the colors used and level of development.

I also enjoy combining airbrushing with other techniques and materials. Here, I extended the faux stone fireplace to create an arch with a gritty plaster and stenciled stones made from torn tape. Once that was dry, I added color and shadows with airbrush. In the same project, the airbrushed stair rail led to an archway adorned with a striped drapery.


For the cherubs (above left), I used airbrush to delicately shade the skin tones, but brush painted the hair with Golden Proceed Slow Drying Acrylics to give it more texture. (Cherub Stencil by Jeff Raum) I also appreciate the ability to allow a natural surface to show through the paint, becoming part of the artwork when airbrushing on wood or stone (above right). Click on images to enlarge.

Another of my favorite techniques is to use natural foliage as masks when airbrushing trees and landscapes. This dining room mural was created using a variety of leaves, some large, some small. Even though it is a “negative print” your eye makes it into a positive when they are clustered together.

Even though they look monochromatic and sepia toned, I have used at least three colors to give the foliage more depth and interest.  I love sepia tones, and have several ways of rendering them. In the airbrushed Renaissance border shown here, all the shading is done with one color which provides the values and undertone. Then I lightly spray with soft color, giving the appearance not unlike a hand-tinted photograph.

Finally, sometimes airbrush is the answer to a technical problem. For this painted ode to a William Morris tapestry, I cut a stencil of just the darkest brown background areas, including a pencil-line thickness cartoon of the design, because airbrushing was the best way to transfer the pattern onto my textured base. From there. the tapestry could be hand painted.

I hope this article gives you an inkling of the striking appearance and versatility that is at your command when mastering the airbrush. Of course, this is only pertaining to using stencils, and many more uses are possible when using the airbrush freehand for clouds, finishes and fine art. The sky is the limit!

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Thank you, Sheri Hoeger for sharing your time and talent!  Please note that if you’d like more information, keep checking her workshops page because as Sheri says, “It can be very helpful to take a class in airbrushing basics or intermediate airbrushing, as there are some tips that will help you along and save a great deal of time.”  She also has videos and books she has created and/or participated in on her website page.  You can also find the company on Facebook via the fan page, Big Oak Arts.  I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post — love how it’s chock full of information.  Hope you are having an inspired week!

Please note that all stencils are from The Mad Stencilist line unless otherwise indicated.

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30 Nov

Moving Beyond the Walls

The reason I enjoy writing Fauxology is because I love showcasing how incredible decorative painting and faux finishing can be.  There is no doubt, however, that our industry has changed and evolved due to the current times.  Many artists have found other avenues to supplement their lives while maintaining their sense of creativity — and Boston artist Susan Siefer is no exception.  I thought it would be great to hear about her journey and how she has moved beyond the walls and added an incredible new direction to her studio offerings.

Susan Siefer: You could say I am returning to my roots. I started out as a fiber artist, fabric designer and painter. I was then hired as a store designer by a large retail furniture company in the Boston area. I painted walls at a time when decorative painting (well…faux painting) was just becoming popular.  We had a team going from store to store creating beautiful walls and vignettes. After about 15 years, and many, many large walls later, it was time to go out on my own and I started MadPatter Production. That was in 2002, the year my first granddaughter was born. I have been lucky to have some great clients that have  inspired and encouraged me to create fabulous walls, ceilings and floors.

Susan Siefer Modello DesignsImage from Modello by Design, Volume 2

Working with designers and clients, it seemed there was a disconnect between artful walls and art on the walls. I am fascinated by the relationship between Architecture, Interior Design and Art. With a little understanding of all three, I  have created canvas panels using Modello Designs, leafs, foils, plasters and glazes to compliment some of the wall finishes. They were applied with hot wax on the back…much easier than wallpaper paste…and they were framed out with frames and moldings from Beaux-Artes.

Susan Siefer Beaux-Artes

Frames and moldings from Beaux-Artes showcase panel artwork.

Running has been a constant for all of my adult life and I often get my best ideas and clearness of thought when hitting the roads. One day last spring was no exception: I thought “Why not implement this same concept on a small scale that could be interchangeable art?”. I’ve always liked the idea of multiples and the idea of changing a throw pillow, a lamp or any decorative accessory. Thus, Change of View© canvas were created.

Susan Siefer Studio

Change of View© Studio

I use the products I love…Venetian plaster, leaf, foils, metallic plasters, stencils from Royal Design Studio and Cutting Edge, among others, and apply onto the flat canvas.  I have them in my Etsy store and they are carried at the boutique Soirée in my town of Andover, MA…

susan siefer painted furniture

Painted furniture and artwork featured in the Soirée boutique.

…and, of course, in some of my client’s homes.

susan seifer paintings

susan seifer paintings

I chronicle the story of the process on my blog, Change of View (at the Studio). When people start playing with the pieces, they really have a good time mixing and matching. I am working with a marketing person that has been a great help. It is a really interesting process.

My wonderful clients and designers do keep me in the game with some interesting and fun projects and it pays the bills. I have found an amazing company to help with implementing my finish designs in a couple of larger commercial commissions that recently have come through. I am also excited about a collaboration with my good friend and incredible designer and color consultant Linda Holt of New Light Redesign. (Check out her amazing blog).  We are absolutely in love with Annie Sloan Chalk Paints and have become paint groupies.

annie sloan chalk paint furniture

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Dressers

We have spent the summer and fall painting repurposed pieces of furniture that we find, pick, buy and beg. The name of our business is Chalk It Up!  and we will soon have a Facebook page and site. We are rather yin and yang, and bring our own different and unique talents to the table (literally!). I am excited to be taking an ASCP workshop with Barb Skivington next month. 

susan siefer painted furniture studio

Showhouse mudroom we did together to highlight paintings and furniture.

I am also moving into a new workroom space with other artists and designers in the beautiful new Mill District just north of Boston. There is a common space I will be using for workshops and seminars on paint and design. I was fortunate to see the Alexander McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum in New York last summer and the beauty of his fabrics and materials got me thinking about fabric design again, so who knows? Maybe that’s also part of the future big picture. Thanks to Regina, I have been inspired to enter the social media foray and am muddling through as fast as I can! Finding a community of like-minded creatives, I know we will get through these challenging times together and figure out our own vision for the future.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you, Susan! It’s great seeing many artists have found ways to supplement their lives with their artistic talents and collaborations. I know our company did something similar when we branched into alternate surfaces. It has made all the difference; I’m sure it will for Susan! I hope today’s post has inspired you to take a hold of those ideas that pop up in your mind begging to be fulfilled. Have a wonderful day!

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18 Nov

Deconstructed Elegance

Today we have a wonderful guest blogger for you: the creative design and wall finish company, SuperStrata!  We met on Twitter and I quickly became enamored with their cutting-edge style and vision.  SuperStrata specializes in integrating quality plasters and paints with innovative materials and processes such as clay, semi- precious stones, micas, screen printed patterns and many other high design combinations.  They truly create an interior design experience that goes beyond the traditional.  Today, they share one of their incredible projects with us. So without further ado…

We were so excited to be asked by the lovely and talented Regina Garay to contribute to Fauxology, one of our favorite blogs! Our answer was an immediate and resounding “Yes!” What to actually focus on was another matter. The world of decorative wall finishes is an exciting, multi-faceted place.

In the end, we decided to write about a project where we got to do what we love: collaborate. It’s such a joy to work with interior designers, decorators and architects to bring their concept to reality. Both our clients and our artisans really get to shine due to the creative collaborations; our artisans provide their considerable creative prowess in combination with in-depth knowledge of the materials’ capabilities in order to achieve the often groundbreaking results that our clients aspire to.

A favorite custom design project of ours is the playfully sophisticated New York City apartment of Interior and Furniture Designer Nicole Fuller. Working with the immensely talented young designer on her own home was truly delightful. The result of our collaboration: two original and cutting-edge wall finishes. Displaying her innate flair for the fashionable and chic, Fuller coined the new finishes Nico and Farrah. Later, her home was photographed by Richard Powers and featured in the August 2011 issue of LivingEtc. In this post, we contrast our casual in-process shots with the final, decorated and styled presentation in the editorial.

Nicole standing in the living room of her "masterpiece"

Nicole standing in the living room of her "masterpiece".

For the living room, Nicole came to us with inspirational tear sheets of worn, deconstructed walls in a stunning Parisian flat, a custom platinum gray color, and a verbal description of her vision.  Nicole envisioned a two-color treatment with the dominant gray color ending high on the walls, in undulating, and varying heights.

The living room lime paint wall finish in process.

The living room lime paint wall finish in process.

Gradations of a pale platinum gray and bright white meet in textural brush strokes on the living room walls in  Nico, a custom contemporary lime paint finish conceived by Nicole and brought to fruition by our artisans.

Gradations of a pale platinum gray and bright white meet in textural brush strokes on the living room walls in Nico, a custom contemporary lime paint finish conceived by Nicole and brought to fruition by our artisans.

In the resulting wall finish, the gray pigment of the lime paint design stops short of the ceiling in wide, uneven brushy strokes at diverging heights giving it the “deconstructed elegance” that Nicole desired. Nico is elegant and edgy. Perfectly contextualized, it is reminiscent of the silhouette of the storied Manhattan skyline surrounding her 16th floor Chelsea apartment.

Deconstruction meets ecletic elegance in the finished living room as styled for LivingEtc.

Deconstruction meets ecletic elegance in the finished living room as styled for LivingEtc.

The classic drapes in warm, deep red contrast the cool gray color of the contemporary wall finish.

The classic drapes in warm, deep red contrast the cool gray color of the contemporary wall finish.

How to deal with the intersection of the undulating finish with openings like doors, windows, and the kitchen pass through was worked out before installation began.

How to deal with the intersection of the undulating finish with openings like doors, windows, and the kitchen pass through was worked out before installation began.

Nicole’s playful and fearless sense of style can also be seen in Farrah, the limestone plaster wall treatment in the master bedroom. She provided the inspiration and parameters for Farrah. Working closely with Nicole, our artists designed the technically and visually elaborate finish.

The master bedroom getting the treatment!

The master bedroom getting the treatment!

A multi-faceted installation process needed to be devised and carried out. The horizontal stripes of custom rose-hued Marmorino plaster in varying saturations were applied first in twelve measured sections. Then each of the sections received another layer. When the plaster design was complete, a final layer of wax was applied, both to protect the finish and to give it a satin sheen. Only then could one of our artists create the one-of-a-kind looping wall drawing in white beeswax.

The master bedroom complete: a beeswax line drawing does loop de loops on the pink, striped plaster wall finish, Farrah. The white elements provide unity and ground the space. The bedside table is from Fuller’s own furniture line, Isabella Wolfe.

*   *   *   *   *

Stunning, no?  With the lime paints and waxes, I bet they even feel good to touch.  I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s guest post (Thank you, Tyra and Jonas!) and please note that you can see more of their incredible work on their SuperStrata website.  You can also keep up with them on their Facebook fan page and Twitter stream, where they post great links and wonderful images.  They also have a new blog called Walls Surround You — it’ll be one to voraciously devour!  I hope everyone has an incredible weekend!


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18 Nov

Very Verre Eglomisé

My brother and guest Fauxologist, Jason Rosales, concludes his New Orleans coverage by bringing us along with him to the Verre Eglomisé class taught at the Society of Gilder’s Conference. Let’s see what he has in store for us…

Here’s how this story began.

Regina: So, J…there’s a class being taught in New Orleans by…

Jason: I’m in!

Regina: But…

Jason: Let’s do this!!

Regina: Ok…don’t you even want to know what the class is about?

Jason: Hold on…………Check out this hotel I just found on Bourbon Street!!

Most would say that staying on Bourbon Street during an intense gilding class may be counter-productive but my response to that was “I’m gonna give it my ALL!” (Hand salute to the head) and guess what? I DID IT! Turns out the class was on Verre Eglomisé – gilding on glass – and it was being taught by none other than Miriam Ellner, an AMAZINGLY talented artist. It was a tough and grueling task but it was well worth it.

St. Louis Cathedral From Inside Jackson Square

My class was located in the Cabildo Museum next to the St. Louis Cathedral. Right next to the museum was Jackson Square which was usually filled with musicians and lots of local artists selling their work. Not a block away was the famous Cafe Du Monde where I would get my morning coffee and beignets.

After that breakfast of champions, I strolled into my first day of class not knowing what to expect. Little did I know the amount of detail work that would soon follow.

Carefully blowing on the 22kt leaf to better secure it to the tip before it's applied.

After setting up and learning how to properly prepare my piece of glass, I began the delicate process of applying the 22kt gold leaf to the surface.

Gilded and Etched Glass

It was amazing how reflective the gold could really be. See the reflection of the TV above? After applying the gold and the design, I planned to remove the gold from within my design.

Miriam Ellner and her demonstration glass

As you can see, Miriam removed most of her gold outside the design. Everyone in class had a different variation of Verre Eglomisé by the time we finished.

Touch-up time!

As you can barely see, this little piece of gold was photographed on its way to fill in a little blemish I wasn’t too fond of. Remember when I said “Detailed”?

Almost there..

Now this thing is ready for some color! Hmm..what should I choose…? Let’s go with a bit of Red to match the veins in my eyes. :)

A little Red, Black and Silver...real Silver that is.

I found it easier to work with leaf by cutting it in half. It’s easier to pick up and handle. Miriam of course had a double headed super gilding tip that made it easy to pick up whole sheets with ease. Good thing Christmas is around the corner. :)

Really Almost There!

Ok, it doesn’t look like much, I know…but you still haven’t seen the front yet. That’s the best part!

My very first Verre...

And there you have it! With subtle hints of Red around the perimeter and silver-speckled Black for part of the design, this little piece of glass has received the royal treatment. Everyone on Bourbon Street seemed to think it looked good…

~ ~ ~

Thank you, Jason, for sharing your class! I’d love for you all to see the piece in person — it’s incredible the way the gilding glows right under the glass. It also has mirror-reflective qualities, as demonstrated by my very curious cat, Connor. I wish the beauty of a sample or a work of art was always captured in a photograph in the same way the human eye perceives it. :)   To see extensive samples of Verre Eglomisé, please do look at Miriam Ellner’s website. Her mastery is both exciting and inspiring — and I can’t wait to see the beautiful work my brother, Jason, produces in the future!

17 Nov

New “Awlins” and its Unique Flavor


Today’s post was written by guest Fauxologist, Jason Rosales. He is my brother and together we run Garay Artisans. Jason has a deep love of photography and he had a chance to find new subjects and places to photograph when he visited New Orleans, LA for the recent Society of Gilders conference. Thank you, Jason, for putting this together! Now…let’s go on a tour with him, shall we?

Exploring the French Quarter and beyond was a treat to the senses in many ways. From the massive art, culture, all of the beautiful galleries, the vibrant colors used in the architecture of the city, the night life and taking an intense 3-day Verre Eglomise course taught by Miriam Ellner, fun was everywhere to be found. I’ll write about my experience with the workshop on Verre Eglomise, the art of reverse gilding and painting on glass, in my next post so stay tuned for that! :)

The Napoleon House – Est 1797

I love the old worn look time has given one of the oldest bars in America.

Hotel Monteleone

This magnificent building caught my attention a couple of blocks away. I may need to stay here next time I visit.

One of the many beautiful balconies in the French Quarter. Detailed iron work is one of the main ingredients in the unique look of this area and New Orleans apparently has more iron work than any other U.S. city.

Even the cemeteries glow with color.

Pictured is one of the best bands we had the pleasure of listening to amongst the many talented musicians in this city. This bar was a bit off the beaten path on Frenchman St where the locals go to unwind. I also love the mural in the background.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself. Now be careful on your way out down those stairs… ;)

03 Nov

Using Facebook for Your Business

Today’s post was written by guest Fauxologist, Suzanne Rosales. Suzanne runs Global Swan, a company specializing in graphic design, user-friendly websites and blogs, printed materials and marketing campaigns.  She is also an expert at Search Engine Optimazation (SEO) for online sites. She’s ensured that Fauxology readers have access to special rates and promotion packages. Thank you, Suzanne, for another great business post!

So, I have been trying to convince Regina to create a Facebook Page for Fauxology (don’t you guys think that’s a great idea?) and she asked me the difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group. I had only dealt with Facebook Pages and Profiles (which are the private individual walls), but I decided to research it and share my findings with you so that we can all make the right decision as to what kind of Facebook site is ultimately chosen.

Pages or Groups?

Here’s the scoop:

Facebook Pages are for businesses to provide information publicly to people who choose to connect with them. The page is open to the general public and anyone can “like” you and become a “fan”. Pages are indexed by search engines which is great for online marketing and for establishing an enhanced professional presence on Facebook. Facebook pages are also a separate entity to you, so when you update the page – it’s coming from your page identity/business, not from you. You can also add other administrators to help you manage the Page. Another good security measure is that Page fans will not be able to access any of the administrator’s personal Profiles unless they have been confirmed as a “Friend” on said personal Profiles.

Pages also offer applications that you can host on the site. For instance, if you were to start a Band Page, it comes equipped with a music player, tour dates and discussion forum, among other goodies. You will be able to see the applications available per Page type depending on the settings you choose. There are no limits to the amount of Pages an individual can have, so you can ideally set one up for your artist business, another for your blog as well as one for your studio, if you conduct workshops.

Facebook Groups are a great forum to use when you want to support a cause, or bring together a group of select people such as alumni. They are a lot more selective since you can choose whether you want it to be open to just a particular network or if you want it to be public. Facebook recently updated their group design features so now it has more moderation and selection choices (such as who can join your group). They also have “Docs” where members can view and updates notes, similar to a Wikipedia page. Another feature is e-mail blasts to groups under 5,000 members and chat features so the members can talk to each other. Groups do directly reflect on the administrators – so any updates on the group will show that they are coming from the administrators themselves.

My recommendation for artists, designers and most businesses would be to create a Facebook Page. It has a more social feel and you can host cool applications to personalize your Page. Groups would be great for artists/designers who want to support a cause, raise awareness on a subject or continue select interaction with other colleagues in their industry within a controlled forum. As of right now, there is a limit of 5,000 friends on your personal Profiles so if you are planning to have more than that number as fans or members, consider Pages or Groups since they have no such limits. BTW, Groups cannot be turned into Pages and vice versa, so choose carefully!

Stay tuned for further updates on if I can convince Regina to create a Page. For more information on Facebook Pages and Groups, feel free to also read this great article from Mashable. I hope this information has helped make the decision an easier one. I look forward to your thoughts!

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