Article by Ceri Wheeldon
I am planning to ‘upcycle’ an old pine wardrobe and chest of drawers, so when an invitation popped into my inbox from French Chic Paint to go to an introductory upcycling workshop/media day I thought I would go along – and get a few tips. I hadn’t expected one afternoon to have such an effect on me.
I am so pleased that I went, not just for the tips, but I rekindled my passion for arts and crafts as a result of the afternoon. Many years ago I used to go ceramic classes – until the local studio closed down, and with running a previous business that involved lots of travel, maintaining relationships, and life in general, somehow I never got round to filling the gap that the lack of ceramics classes left.
So when I found myself sitting in the media workshop, with a plain wooden birdbox, just waiting for me to decorate , I just threw myself into creative mode. I think the French Chic team were slightly bemused by my level of concentration. I was so absorbed in my mini project.
As I painted away, and then moved on to decoupage (I love Buddhas) – I produced my mini- masterpiece. I had forgotten just how relaxing painting can be. I will have to find more projects to do- once I have upcycled my wardrobe of course!
It was a fabulous afternoon. Not only did I create something, but I also got to meet the founder of French Chic Paints , Pam Gruhn, who said explained that she wanted to create superior products which were eco friendly. And she has succeeded. The paints don’t smell at all, and the coverage is great. Another added surprise during the afternoon was meeting Deb, who was one of the very first ‘fabwomen‘ that we featured on Fab after Fifty, when she was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a breast cancer charity following her own diagnosis. Debi runs upcycling workshops and sells upcycled vintage furniture – all using the French Chic products.
I seem to have caught the painting /upcycling bug. I shall be actively looking for projects to do – I think I might paint and stencil some plantpots for the garden. I am so pleased I did this workshop. I always watched Blue Peter as a child – and was always making things from the programme- from dolls houses out of shoe boxes, dolls furniture out of yoghurt pots , whatever the Mother’s Day gifts were. I will not wait quite so long to indulge my creative side again ! I might even share my projects as I go along.