Since the recession, the big upcycling trend has been on the increase year after year and it does not look to be settling down anytime soon. Even the large manufacturers are using the style term ‘Shabby Chic’ for new products to hit our high streets.
But that’s the easy option, why not give it a go yourself? You could even get the whole family on board. With DIY Dad embarking on his next project I must admit I find myself feeling somewhat left out.
Although I supply the initial idea, the skill of making an item, product or piece of furniture is one I leave to my husband, however once the project is finished, I am always thrilled to utilise the creation, but the satisfaction of knowing I created something is always lacking.
Therefore I’ve decided to get hands on too!
I’ve always been on the arty side of life and love painting and decorating so the opportunity arose for me to get into the world of ‘upcycling’ and join the many crafty people that fondly call themselves ‘Sloaners’. Annie Sloan is well renowned for her success as a paint manufacturer, her paints and colours have been used all over the world, in fact I have lovingly bought pieces of furniture that have been ‘Annie Sloaned’. I now had to give this a go myself and become a sloaner!
With project piece bought I then booked into the local Annie Sloan workshop at La Di Da boutique gift shop in Andover, Hampshire. These classes run through the month for varying skill levels, my first class was to learn the basics and I was amazed how much we learned, in what seemed such a small amount of time.
Stephanie Briggs, originally a jewellery designer and owner of La Di Da, runs the classes and has been extensively trained by the Annie Sloan team on paint techniques, tricks, tips and styles such as distressing, waxing and mixing colours to achieve different results. All of which Steph competently (even being eight months pregnant!) ran through at our three hour class. The session was busy, full of a wide range of participants from a student, a dentist, a housewife, a retiree, mother and even a military man! Some had already been bitten by the bug of upcycling, the rest were just starting out on the journey of upcycling pre loved items.
The day starts with a cup of tea, cake or biscuit and some light banter to get us in a creative mood. Demonstrations then follow, Steph explains the seven techniques that we will be learning, taking us through each stage with precision. As we conversed and asked questions, the more we learnt about the product and were amazed at its versatility. We even found out more about Annie Sloan and her journey as an artist turned global commodity, enlisting and supporting only independent stores to represent and circulate her precious chalk paints and their benefits, of which there are many.
Did you know that her paint is so versatile it can be used externally on floors, walls and even material too? The best and most appealing benefit has to be that you do not need to prep or prime most, if not all surfaces. I was so surprised, I must have asked Steph to clarify this on more than one occasion. There are no limits to where you can use the paint, which in my world means nothing is safe from being Annie Sloaned!
The course was extremely enjoyable and enlightening to the possibilities that opened up before me. The course costs £65, which includes tuition, refreshments and all materials, great value for money given the knowledge you come away with. I can honestly say I have been bitten by the bug of upcycling and will not limit myself to what can be done, meaning I can now join DIY Dad in the satisfaction of creation.
I’ll also be keen to show our children the importance of being environmentally savvy to recycle wherever possible and upcycling is just one way we can all make a small difference in conserving our world.
More Annie Sloan Basic Technique Workshop Dates at Ladida in Hampshire: Saturday May 7th, 23rd July, 13th August, 10th September, 8th October and 5th November 2016. For more details on the courses and to book visit Ladida Facebook Page