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