In the realm of inspiration, ideas for a piece come at their own pace. For his simple chest of drawers from a client’s cellar, the inspiration came slowly but clearly. Its new purpose in life would be decorative and occupy space in a physiotherapy centre’s seating area, visible from all angles. My client offered me her trust to create as I wished, so without constraints, I could consider all aspects of its new role.
I had already decided on an earthy green palette. It is calming, relaxed and an excellent contrast to the wood tones I hoped to highlight in some part of the piece’s exterior. On my daily walks, dry stalky grasses and plants surrounded me, silhouetted against the sky. This inspired the front and rear of the piece. I found the perfect stencil created by Julie Brightman titled Cow Parsley with Grass. I was in love, and after a brief email interaction, ordered it. The process tested my stress levels, given the challenges that Brexit has created for small businesses still wanting to operate across newly formed economic borders. After waiting for 3 weeks, I still had to pay import duty and processing fees. Despite the expense and wait, I absolutely love the result. Julie has done an amazing job with the stencil.
While waiting for the stencil to arrive, I prepped and painted the body and bottom two drawers in Fusion Mineral Paint’s new colour, Everett. This piece also needed a new top, as the old one had disappeared some time ago, and a temporary unfixed board was placed on top. To blend the new top and give it an aged look, I used bicarb of soda mixed with warm water to paint over the freshly sanded wood. The chemical reaction produced a gorgeous tone in the wood that aged perfectly. I then used Oli Natura’s Hard Wax Oil to seal and protect it for years to come.
The back of the piece needed some work to be presentable. Glue re-joined split wood, gaps between boards got filled, and the surface sanded smooth. Dried thistles were my inspiration, and I hand-painted several stalks using Fusion Mineral Paint’s Coal Black and Eucalyptus. To reveal some wood grain, I also sanded the back frame, creating a window frame effect.
I sanded back the rough and unfinished parts of the drawers, readjusted the bases, and then oiled and waxed them. The inside of the chest was also sanded, and the drawer guides were reworked and repaired where needed. Wax was used extensively to rejuvenate the wood and help the drawers glide freely over the guides.
When the stencil arrived, I only had one more task to do. Stencil the front and sides of the drawers. For the front, I used Fusion’s embossing paste in pearl to provide a slight 3D effect. I also used their Coal Black and Eucalyptus to add colour and texture. Using a smaller element of the stencil, I used wood stain by Borma Wachs on the sides of the drawers, then sealed the body and drawer fronts with hemp oil and wax. Each layer provides protection, a gorgeous sheen and feel.
Handing over a piece to a client is always a little nerve-racking. Watching her reaction, however, confirmed that the inspiration, work, and stress had been worth it. I am so delighted she is happy.