Preparations are afoot for a big party to celebrate 25 years of Chalk Paint™ decorative paint this autumn. Since I first started to make my paint in 1990, I’ve gone from selling through one small shop in Oxfordshire to almost 1,500 independent shops around the world (including 49 in Canada!).
As one of Home Trends’ newest design bloggers, I am looking forward to sharing ideas and projects with you and I wanted to start by telling you a little bit more about my story and how I came to create my own paint range 25 years ago. I’m a fine artist and a painter by trade, and through the 1980s I wrote about decorative paint and taught painting techniques. I had been thinking about making my own paint for a long time and was always experimenting with ideas and paints. In the late 80s, I traveled to The Netherlands to teach a workshop and happened to mention to one of my students over dinner that I wanted to make my own paint. He said he knew of a factory in Belgium. I went straight there on my way home to England. It took a little while to get the formula right, but they were so generous with their time. Several months later, my paint was made!
I’d been using a wide range of traditional and modern paints for years, and while they had various benefits, they also had issues. None of them ticked all the boxes for me. When I developed my own paint, I had a whole list of things I wanted it to do. I’m notoriously impatient and I wanted to create a paint that you could use on furniture quickly, without having to prime first!
I had three young boys under 7 at the time, so I had very little time to decorate. I wanted a fast turn around – paint in the morning, then wax and put back in position in the afternoon.
Paint used to be always in the hands of men who love to follow rules when it comes to decorating. Women, on the other hand, have a just-have-to-get-on-with-it attitude. My paint, Chalk Paint™, allows you to take all sorts of liberties. You can be immediate and spontaneous. Just let your gut show you the way to go!
Chalk Paint™ is so flexible; if you paint something one colour and decide that it’s not quite right after, you can simply paint straight over it or put a wash over it to lighten it a little. You can paint on more or less anything – old and new wood, metal, matte plastic, cement, bricks – indoors or outdoors. I’m always amazed at the things people find to paint!
I designed my range to follow an artist’s paintbox. There are 33 colours in the range and they can be mixed together to make many more. You can make them paler, darker, warmer or cooler – there are no limits!
The other thing that makes my paint special is the people who sell it. I am absolutely committed to supporting small independent shops. All my stockists have bricks and mortar stores and they are each unique! My stockists are trained as colour experts and have created beautiful environments where you can get hands on paint and try mixing colours yourself.
It’s a different approach to paint, perhaps, but it’s my approach.