24 June 2016

My new Painter in Residence, Simon Ollson!

I’m thrilled to share the first project from my latest Painter in Residence, the lovely and supremely talented Simon Ollson! His work with my paint is just gorgeous, and I am amazed at all he has achieved at only 17! Based in Malmo, Sweden, Simon’s work is all about creating gorgeous, textured patina in rich and bold colour combinations. Inspired by bohemian Indian arts and crafts, he pairs bright colours with neutrals to create interesting and complementary colour palettes. 

Simon started his residency by transforming this chair, which was originally painted a gloomy white. To stay in keeping with the classic French bistro style and shape, Simon used complimentary colours from the Chalk Palette to create a gorgeous patina. He started by painting the entire surface in Provence, and then, once dry, he applied a second coat of Chalk Paint in Chateau Grey - a traditional greyed green - evocative of fine old French furniture. He then sanded the paint back in varying amounts, sometimes right back to the original glossy white, taking care to highlight the distinctive shape of the legs and the back. To finish the piece, Simon applied a coat of Clear Soft Chalk Paint Wax.This once glossy metal chair now looks aged, rustic with a sumptuous French farmhouse style.

I love how he has found his personal style so young, he truly is a talented young man, and I can't wait to see what you think of his work!

As ever, let me know your thoughts, or share with me any pieces that you have created that are similar to this chair, on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Yours, Annie 

16 June 2016

East Oxford Community Centre Transformation #25Project

Over the past few weeks I've had the hard task of whittling down all of the nominations from across the globe for the #25Project! Going through each nomination (all 300+!) has been such an eye opener, there are so many deserving and incredible community spaces all across the world, so choosing just 25 was one of the hardest things I've had to do. From Scotland to Mongolia the scope of nominations blew me away, so I want to thank each and every one of you who entered your local space. I will be announcing the 25 spaces very soon, but I wanted to share with you how this all began and my local space that inspired it all.

The East Oxford Community Centre has been the beating heart of my neighbourhood for the past 40 years. My family, my incredible team here at Annie Sloan HQ and I have all used it's space in one way or another, from toddler sing alongs, volunteering at the drop in kitchen for refugees, to the famous open mic night. I have always loved the building but knew it needed a little help here and there, so my team and I got stuck in giving the front room a transformation! I knew that I not only wanted to get the community involved but also run workshops too, as I wanted to make sure that the community had the biggest hand in helping transform their space. We ran workshops in upholstering, curtain and cushion making, painting, printing, stencilling and dyeing, and then we had two long days of painting everything and anything! I think the photos below show just how much hard work and fun everyone had along the way!

Volunteers and the local community all chipping in, painting and creating!

I chose cool colours for the walls, such as Aubusson and Versailles, and warmer colours like Barcelona Orange and Primer Red on smaller pieces like the piano and cushions. 
We painted the piano, that was kindly donated by a local church, Barcelona Orange and Duck Egg Blue, and teamed it with a stool painted Provence

I loved the beautiful patina of the exposed brickwork, so we chose a soft tone to make the brickwork the star! 

Pillows and cushions dyed stencilled and stamped in my colours 

The chairs were all painted and upholstered by the local community, stacked up and ready to go! 

A shot of the final transformation, with new curtains and cushions, pianos and tables all in place!  

If you want to have a look at how it all came about, watch this little video all about the transformation!

I had so much fun transforming this space, I cannot wait to start transforming the 25 spaces across the world, with the help of my wonderful Stockists over the next year! Keep a look out on my Facebook and Instagram for the chosen 25, coming very, very soon! 

Yours, Annie

7 June 2016

'A Man' by Hanayuishi Takaya, my new Painter in Residence!

Today I have the pleasure in sharing the first Painters in Residence project from Hanayuishi Takaya. Mr Takaya makes bespoke headdresses that are true works of art, made on the spot with what he has to hand and mainly using natural materials such as flowers and foliage.

As soon as I saw this set of images I was completely blown away. They are so powerful and so visually striking, they immediately evoked memories that I have from my visit to Japan. 

I was lucky enough to have visited Japan in the spring of last year. Japanese art and culture has always fascinated me ever since I was at art school. I especially love the works of Utagawa Hiroshima and Kitagawa Utamaro, their beautiful muted colour palettes offered me so much inspiration in my own work, from school right up to the furniture I paint now.

There are over 60 stockists of my paint and products in Japan and the work that they create is always elegant and interesting. Unsuprisingly there seems to be a penchant for more craft based work, with origami being featured quite frequently. Whilst I was there I was very inspired by the complete bond that the Japanese have with the nature that surrounds them; it inspires their creative work and there is a great deal of respect and care taken into preserving and upholding traditional practices.

From the iconic cherry blossoms right through to flower arranging and tea ceremonies, their love of Japanese nature is intrinsically linked to Japanese art, and yet, as times change there is a shift into using these traditional ideas, and love of detail, into a more modern aesthetic and practise.

So this Koi head dress by Mr. Takaya is a beautiful example of that link and movement, with Koi being one of Japan’s most famous creatures, a true symbol of their national identity. I adore that the model used here is a Japanese man, there is such a fantastic contrast between the femininity of the florals used and this mans strength and steely reserve. 

Shiro, the husband of our distributor Kimie in Japan, is actually a world renowned expert in Koi Carp, and even goes to California to judge Koi competitions. He showed me some large tanks that housed prize winning Koi whilst I was there and I was taken aback by the variety, black, white, yellow, orange in all shapes and sizes! They are extraordinary creatures, their colours are incredible and I love the way they glisten and shine as they glide through the water. There is a such a beauty in the variety of patterns too, I felt very inspired and privileged to see these magnificent fish in one of their native lands. 

Mr Takaya is hugely influenced by colours, this stems from his childhood as he grew roses just to see the variety of colours. I adore the fact that he is very sensitive to colours in his work and is almost dictated by the changing of the seasons in Japan. 

To create this Koi sculpture, Mr. Takaya first created the Koi using papier mache and then painted its distinctive pattern using Chalk Paint in Original, Emperor’s Silk and Graphite. To add a more realistic finish, he ingeniously used my Craqueler and Dark Wax, evoking the scales of the fish. The flowers he used include different varieties of chrysanthemums, which are typical Japanese flowers. The way he has placed the fish on to the headdresses looks so much like it is swimming through the flowers, just like it would swim through the seaweed.

I have completely fallen in love with this work, it is unlike anything I have ever seen created with paint and products, it feels fresh and new.

This, to me, is a true representation of Japan. Strong, bold, proud, a little unusual but always, always beautiful.

Yours, Annie

31 May 2016

Introducing my new Painters in Residence!

It’s been nearly two years since I launched my Painters in Residence programme, and since then many artists and makers have shared their incredible work with us. When I launched the scheme I didn't know exactly how it would evolve, but over the whole process I have added being able to share with you the fantastic, inspiring and creative work, form the people who have been doing wonderful things with my paints and products.

As every single artist involved has an individual style and medium, some working with textiles, others on furniture, and others transforming rooms - their work has been a true reflection of their unique selves. It has been a joy to see their personalities translate using my paint and products . With this in mind, I am very proud to introduce to you my two latest Painters in Residence, Hanayuishi Takaya, based in Kyoto, Japan, and Simon Ollson, who lives and works in Malmo, Sweden.

Both of these artists work in a quite contrasting way, but they definitely have one thing in common -their works are an extension of themselves, as their personalities come through their pieces. Even though Simon is 17 and just starting out, whereas Hanayuishi Takaya is more established, having been featured in such publications as the Daily Telegraph and Glamour Italia, both of their works are complex, interesting and have depth of character.

Simon’s work is all about creating gorgeous, textured patina in rich and bold colour combinations. I love how he has found his personal style so young, he truly is a talented young man, and I cant wait to share his stunning projects with you all!

Hanayuishi Takaya is something truly special. Combining floristry with art and fashion to create one-of-a-kind headdresses, he uses all sorts of objects - flowers, vegetables and fruits, even taxidermy to create his unique and ethereal pieces. I love the way he works on the spot, allowing the personalty of the person to spontaneously invent, calling it ‘a unity of human and nature.’ His work that he has conjured up as my Painter in Residence is beyond anything I have ever seen before, and I can’t wait to see your reaction! Take a look at his website and Facebook to see more of his current work.

Follow the hashtag #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook to see projects from Simon and TAKAYA over the coming weeks, and head to my ‘Painters in Residence’ Pinterest board too.

27 May 2016

Introducing the Annie Sloan MixMat™

Even though my schedule is hectic - I am lucky enough to be flying from one place to the next, visiting stockists, media and customers - I always try and paint everyday. Sometimes it’s just a quick sketch in my notebook, other times I can spend the day transforming whole sets for videos and photoshoots. Once I have an idea or style in my head, I work quickly, and use whatever I can get my hands on when working. I love mixing my colours to create hundreds of new shades, and for years and years I have been testing my colour mixes out on the closest surface to hand - my trusty studio table!


As you can imagine, after years of use, layers and layers of paint have built up on the table surface. They are uneven, cruddy and even though I think they look incredible, they haven't left me with the best, flat, even surface to work on! My son Felix, who some of you may know works with me here at HQ, was getting rather annoyed with my constant tabletop colour mixing!

To combat this the team and Felix came up with my new MixMat™! I’ve never seen a product like this before, its a complete one off, and now I can’t do any work without it.

The MixMat™ has been created to work on a flat surface, so it can be placed down on a tabletop or surface easily. It is made of a silicone-like material which both makes sure that paint doesn’t just glide off and also -rather cleverly - encourages paint to be taken up onto a roller or brush. I wanted something that I could use again and again without any leftover colour being absorbed in to the colours that I choose. A quick wash in warm soapy water is all they should need and I just use a wet sponge to get rid of any lingering pigment. Their handy shape and size means that, once you've finished using it, they can be rolled up and stowed away until the next time you paint!

It's perfect for mixing colours, for stencilling and stamping and for inspiration too! I wanted the design of the MixMat™ to be filled with tips, tricks and ideas, so on one side I have a whole host of of my own doodles and drawings to inspire your own free hand sketching. On the other side I have added a handy colour mixing guide. I talk about complementary colours, how to darken shades, clashing colours, how to create complex greys. My colours are meant to be mixed together, they have very little black in them so you'll never end up with a muddy colour when you blend them together.

I’ve fallen in love with the MixMat™, it has become an essential part of my painting toolkit, and I hope it will be part of yours too.

Yours, Annie

20 May 2016

Annie Sloan and Friends at ArtsWeek!

Here in Oxford, during the month of May, a festival celebrating all things art takes place: Oxfordshire ArtWeeks. Local artists display their work all over the county in open studios and spaces, and often in their own homes. It is one of my very favourite times of the year, and I love spending an afternoon on the ‘trail’ visiting different people and seeing creativity in all its forms. It’s so well organised and just a lovely, affirming thing. I think it’s an idea that has been taken up by other places, but the Oxford ArtWeeks is special to me. Not least because my friend, radio-presenter Bill Heine, was one of its founders. His own experiment with art has become one of Oxford’s most famous landmarks – The Shark House in Headington. People come from far and wide to see this wacky sculpture, I love it! Oxford has been home to me since 1983, so I have seen this festival grow and grow with each passing year.

This year I really wanted to support ArtWeeks in my shop on the Cowley Road, and so we have had a mini-exhibition of all of the work created here, by me and the team at HQ. There was a huge amount to display as I am lucky enough to be working with some very brilliant and creative people. I want to support any and all creativity and encourage my team to develop their own skills, be it screen printing, painting, jewellery making or textiles! Some people have created work all their lives and I loved showcasing their pieces. Holly who works in my studio with me creates fabulous screen prints, using imagery from endangered species native to the UK, including lots of birds and bees. Rudi in our Fabric Team is a very talented jewellery designer, using found objects that she forages for around Oxford and creates bespoke pieces, inspired by nature. Joanna, who works in Design, kindly showed her gorgeous green painting, I love that even though she is creative at work, she still loves painting as a relaxing pastime. Ann, one of my creative assistants, hand crafts these gorgeous pyjama sets for little ones out of vintage bed linen, just look at those candy stripes!

Each Tuesday we have a life-drawing class in my studio at HQ, everyone is welcome, regardless of ability or skill. What I love about our life drawing class is that you have people who haven't drawn since high school, people who draw regularly right down to some who have never drawn before! I love the variety and I think you will agree there is some serious talent on display.

The great thing about Art Weeks is it is really inclusive, so it’s not simply drawing and painting but a celebration of all creative activity - photography, textiles, sculpture, glass, jewellery, digital art and much more. Such a brilliant idea! A lot of my team create their pieces outside work so it was just fabulous to be able to put it all together in one place along with some of my own pieces from over the years, from painted pieces to sgraffito work and even a study of cows which somehow I’ve kept for all this time! If you are in the area please do pop down and see the work, if you are further afield as always, follow me on Facebook and Instagram as I share more from ArtsWeek.

Yours, Annie