So many beautiful textures to be found in the country, there seems to be a patina over everything. Old flaky painted fences, rusted tin remnants in paddocks, moss covered tree stumps. It doesn’t feel right to walk into a new and shiny interior after experiencing all this.
I love hunting down old wooden crates covered with ornate typography, anything school like, and delicate china covered in flowers. The only problem is that there’s a diminishing supply of vintage industrial and it can get expensive.
So I signed up for a one day furniture painting class at Porter’s Paints, taught by the extremely knowledgeable Damien Salomons. All you had to bring was a piece of furniture, – I took an ordinary stool that I was thinking of throwing out.
In between demos on milk paint and crackle finish, the group worked on their piece of furniture. First I sanded my stool, roughly, and then painted it a wood like colour. Next the layers, and more layers. The trick was in applying some beeswax where you wanted the paint not to take, and then sanding that area after applying another layer.
There was something exciting about seeing the pieces of furniture being transformed- everyone on different projects. It did take time and energy, but then things became more unique, more individual.
About 3/4s the way through, my stool started looking a bit twee, somehow lightweight. I wondered if I should have stopped at an earlier stage, the green I’d chosen was too modern. But the nice thing about doing something by hand it that you can adjust it as you go. What fixed it was adding some depth to the paint, drawing it into old Australian green tones.
I’m so happy with the finished result, it’s great to have something to show for a day’s work. I’m sure people from the past would be surprised at the all effort taken to make something look old. And of course it isn’t an authentic patina, it’s created. But somehow that doesn’t matter; it does have a story now, and it is a loved one off piece, made especially for the old schoolmasters house.