My client sheepishly made what she thought was a strange request. "Can we have animal heads for the store mannequins?", adding that she loved it when the big department stores did that for Christmas. Well, of course I said yes. That discussion lead to the idea of a Wonderland, minus Alice and all the trappings of red hearts, cards and royalty. It would be a Spring garden party.
Within the Spring soiree, I designed and created some "Drink Me" potion filled bottles, an "Eat Me" faux cake and arranged it all among a scattering of staked chairs. All of the chairs, including the upholstery were painted with a tried and true homemade chalk paint. One dry, a glaze of pastel color washed over the upholstery to give it a fresh Spring feel. Continued.....
Announcing the Blitz Collection! Color is king, in this new series for the football enthusiast. I wanted to create some pieces that wandered out of the traditional football color palette and introduced more color. Featuring varied colors of football balls and some colorful accessories, these pieces would be a great add to a more modern home and yet, with the rustic leanings, they would also be terrific in a farmhouse or more vintage styled space.
I painted my first scoreboard back in 2004. It was picked up by Pottery Barn Kids shortly there after, as the first they ever offered. Since then, with the launch of Etsy in 2005 and Pinterest in 2010, the idea has been uh-hum copied, re-copied, butchered and even bettered. So every once in awhile I like to bust out a new one, just to stir up the mix and see what comes about. Instead of one, this year I decided to launch several.
If you would like to see all of my scoreboards you can see them HERE.
Who doesn't love a good tropical vibe? My latest installation for my client Willows, in Vancouver Wa. was a bohemian tropical trim.
My client and their customers enjoyed the live plants, making them well worth the trip. You see, Willows is in Vancouver, Washington just across the river from my home base Portland, Oregon. Neither of these cities can play host to tropical plants, it's far too cold in the winter. You don't really see great quality plants at the big box stores, so I needed to come up with some other option.
So I hit the nurseries in Phoenix, Arizona and Palm Springs, California with a U-haul. I partnered the trip up with some other business. I rented a truck and began my quest for tropical boho beauties.
I'm an avid gardener and a bit of a tropical denial plant enthusiast. I'm my Portland garden, I've gathered as many tropical looking plants as the garden could hold. Many of them are knocked back severely if we happen to have an extreme winter but otherwise bounce back from our more mild ones. Anyway, I've learned a lot about tropicals and selected varieties for the store that would endure the intense window light and the drier humidity of a store environment. I also incorporated timber bamboo into the displays. As a matter of fact, the timber bamboo is from my garden. After a decade plus of growing freely, there were some great 3 and 4 inch diameter pieces to harvest.
The addition of macrame added a bohemian charm to the displays. There are a ton of great macrame tutorials online. I found them easy enough to follow and I think I came up with some simple yet fun pieces. The lanterns were from different sources. They were originally table top lanterns with glass votives to hold candles. I tore out the inner workings and nailed in some plywood bases to hold a lamp socket. The 10 ft. wiring follows the weavings and turns them into hanging lanterns.
The tropicals were planted in various pots and planters. To accentuate the curated tropical theme and throw in a bit of on-trend garden love, I created various pot stands from a white oak and teak. They smelt so good when I made them. There's nothing better then the scent of wood shavings.
It was amazing how much the plants grew during the 3 month display. The store was looking so lush and event had the fragrance of the tropics. You see, I also dangled a real pineapple in a macrame hanger. The fruit gave off the perfect aroma.
In one of the displays I also included a baby pineapple. It was a great novelty to have a growing pineapple in a Northwest store. It continued to thrive but didn't grow to more than 3 inches wide or so before it started to ripen on the "vine".
The boho tropical themed summer display was a hit. My client loved it and the customers were surprised and delighted.
If your visuals need some help or you need some fresh ideas, I'm available for consultations and/or I can provide you information on my visual display services. Contact Info
You know how you can end up going down the Google rabbit hole? Well, I was doing research for client and somehow ended up looking at old abandoned buildings. One struck me, it was a Eastern European stadium. It was an old Olympic training site. Since its closure graffiti artists have taken up residence to cover the concrete with their art. The loose illustrative style and the bold images in monochrome inspired me. Announcing the Rough Game Series a collection of sports imagery layered upon chalky white, rendered in black, white and shades of gray.
The 13 image collection offers baseball, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and golf as subjects as well as a multi sport scoreboard, a trophy piece and some motivational posters. Presented in framed, poster and canvas options, they would make great statements in a gallery wall type presentation or showcased as individual nods to a sport. To round out the collection, I've also included some studio made decor such as the personalized acrylic name plaque and the black canvas pillow.
Riffing off of the art collection, I've created a fabric series as well. It is available from my Spoonflower.com fabric shop. With their array of fabric choices, the patterns would be a great coordinate to the art as bedding and pillows.
I hope you enjoy the collection. Your interest in my art is appreciated and so are all the likes, shares, pins and comments!
Rough Game Sports CollectionTHe Rough Game Sports collection
I love vintage ornaments and Christmas decor. The patina of time just adds something special to them whether its a bit of fading, tinge of tarnish or the flattening of colors into a mellowed palette. Sadly, the good stuff is expensive, fragile and gasp, you better not re-craft it into anything but its original purpose. So, using some techniques I've developed over the years, during my stints as a department store visual designer, I cheat and make my own "vintage" using less than the best. I'll use dollar store decorations.
To recreate the vintage look we have to either create the illusion of age or deconstruct the finish somehow. Here are some simple ways to do it.
1) mimic age using pigmented paste wax
Using a soft lint free rag rub on a coat of pigmented paste wax. The wax I use is Howard's in a dark oak color. The wax dulls the mylar like finish and alters the colors to more of an antique hue. Fake silver becomes more champagne and gold becomes more brassy. The snow like mylar glitter starts to resemble glass and Mica glitter which was used in the early 1900's. The paste wax can be buffed once it is dry and removed selectively with either steel wool or a scotch brite pad. Notice on the mylar plastic tinsel tree and wreath how the paste wax makes the tinsel look like the old silver and tin used in days gone by. I love it.
Paste wax is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation.
2) Distress the finishes using steel wool
3) Use Rub-n-buff to mimic glass or metal
4) distress using fingernail polish Remover
Fingernail polish remover is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation. It may also dissolve and soften some plastics. Please test an inconspicuous area first if you are experimenting.
Using a combination of the steps above, I distressed a bunch of ornaments in a variety of sizes. Most of them I bought from the Dollar Store, Target, Michaels and Wallyworld aka Walmart. Keep an eye out for heavy discounting as the season moves on and start working on next years big wreath or faux vintage assemblage. Using the ornaments from this post, here's what I created. Share with me your newly vintage ornaments over on Facebook or Instagram or drop a comment or questions below. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me to you!
Please visit my Spoonflower shop and explore the latest fabric designs I've added. The latest are yardage that coordinates with my superhero line of wall art. The fabrics are perfect for bedding, upholstery and crafts. You can also buy finished good from Spoonflowers' sister site Roostery. There you will find sheet goods, pillows, accessories and home decor all available in the fabrics I've designed.
Faced with an awkward second story rooftop patio that had no practical purpose, my client hit me up with an idea. "Can you build a fairy garden for my daughter?" He asked. Then the cementitious siding, synthetic decking clad box mulled through my mind.
It was a winning idea once it merged with their young daughters wish for a fairy garden and a new dog house for her puppy.
Being a bit of a plant geek, I had fun incorporating some of my favorites and offering lots of texture and color play. For my fellow geeks you'll spot Aspidistra, Clerodendron, Echium, Persicaria Red Dragon, gigantic Ornamental Rhubarb and some annual Musque De Provence pumpkin. Most of the plantings are perennial and winter hardy, although I did mix in some annuals for instant color gratification.
I'm happy to reveal my latest collection entitled "Cosmos". It's available now in my shop.
Are you hosting a birthday party, decorating your astronauts room or looking for some fun space themed activities? Be sure to follow me and visit my Space Themed Pinterest Board.
My display building services were challenged with a contradiction. Can you combine a masculine window and store trim theme with a female sentiment?
The concept of a mechanic, automotive theme combined with some positive affirmations was the winning idea my boutique client chose. Off and running, I had a great time rummaging, replicating and altering automotive parts and car related goods.....continued
New Releases - Vintage Sports Scoreboards For Basketball, Football and Lacrosse! Fresh Art For The Sports Fan.
I'm excited to share new additions to my vintage sports wall art line. These three new scoreboards round out my selection to include more color schemes and types of sports.
The images are available as archival paper prints and stretched canvases. If you have a favorite sport that's not represented in my collection send me a message. I'm always happy to receive feedback and inspiration!
$30.00 - $179.00
$30.00 - $179.00
$30.00 - $179.00
I'm always on the hunt for new bedding styles and designs for my customers and I often get asked what bedding works with my sports wall art lines. So here are my picks for new and tried and true pieces from my favorite haunts. I rarely use themed bedding with sports graphics on it, for me it's usually too expected and often tacky. In contrast I applaud my friends over at Land of Nod have done a great job of offering up some very simple understated pieces, I've included below. The top picks include bedding from Restoration Hardware Teen, PBteen, Ralph Lauren via Nieman Marcus, Rejuvenation Hardware and Schoolhouse Electric.
Having worked with several large retailers on the development and coordination
Ideas are easy to come by, harder to realize. I sold my clothing boutique client on the idea of a dimensional cactus themed summer window and store display. I've been drawn to tissue art as of recently, and liked the concept of watercolor like tones of tissue combined with the harder cacti form. Figuring out how to bring the concept to life became the mystery. It was my mission to find a simple way to create cacti plants that are lightweight and life like in shape.
After a stint of head scratching and store wandering, the idea came to me when I saw a display of foam fun noodles and little swimmer kick boards. I quickly grabbed a shopping cart and loaded up 20 noodles and 20 kick boards. In the checkout line I was asked by the cashier about my pool party. Still excited by the idea, I blurted out that I was going to turn them into cactus. Why I expected anything more than the half smirk and a random direction head nod from those around me, is beyond me. Huff! I guess my prickly pear making high was clearly a one man's journey.
If you can decoupage and cut shapes with scissors you can have a cactus garden! If you can climb over the fence and take your neighbors fun noodles and kick boards you can have a cactus garden for free, or the price of a misdemeanor. Relax, there is no need to pilfer. This time of year many big box and dollar stores have "polyethylene foam" swim noodles and boards for sale. Plastic suppliers like Tap often carry it in large rolls. It's used as a packing material and insulation, you will want 1/2 inch or thicker sheets.
2017 marks the 20th anniversary for Willows boutique in Vancouver, Wa. The independent women's apparel, accessory and gift store has changed through the years, evolving to serve its clients and customers. Embellishments studio has been there from the beginning bringing their brands style to life.
Willows and Embellishments studio celebrate
Hundreds of partygoers helped Willows celebrate its 20th anniversary, with florals by Stem Floral Design and treats by Rosycakes to coordinate with my summer display. What may not be known to many in attendance is the origins of the boutique they love.
It was 1997 when I first met the first time shop owners Sandy McCloud and her business partner and daughter Janna Moats. Bright eyed and ambitious to realize their concept for a bedding, furniture and gift store we hit it off. Our task was to transform a rather plain and unassuming space tucked into a refurbished car dealership into something alluring and vibrant.
It wasn't too long and their success lead to their expanding into an empty retail space next door. The new area allowed them to expand their offerings to include some apparel, baby bedding and more gift merchandise. It is with the addition of this space that glimpses of the Willows style appeared.
Committed to having the, mostly service oriented, marketplace provide a shopping experience to the downtown Vancouver scene, Sandy and Janna, in addition, opened Fresh Willow, a garden and gift store. I began my exploration of their interiors being modern with industrial and vintage accents. This would include creating elements and faux finishing them for both the interior and facade. Ingredients such as concrete, "rusted" metal and wood finishes will serve them well into their 20th year.
Despite their retailing success, the two Marketplace locations challenged the two owners with heavy schedules, separate merchandise buying trips and two vastly different goals within. The decision was made to merge the two and define "Willows" with a new location, street side in the newly revitalized Ester Short Park area. Here the merchandise assortment began the flip from home dec and gift, with some light apparel to apparel with some gift. Here's where the categories of garden, bedding and furniture were shed, a precursor to the boutique of today. The response from downtown Vancouver's apparel store starved women was amazing. Willows became the guiding light and a stellar example of a revitalized Vancouver success story. That forward momentum could not be sustained too long. With the onset of the economic recession bringing about a reversal of downtown Vancouver's revitalization and growth, Sandy and Janna made the tough, but exciting, decision to close their Ester Shore Park location and relocate to their current one in the Grand Central Marketplace. As a team, we decided to take the largest space yet further in expressing Willow's style and distill their offerings to be revolved around apparel, accessories and gifts.
It is their Grand Central location that would challenge me to create the Willows experience from scratch. This will be the first time I was given the freedom to develop a completly empty retail space. No more were there going to be stairs, low ceilings and a lack of storage. My first decision was to design them an actual working back room. This marks the first time in Willow's 15 years that they can process new merchandise off the sales floor. And I, as their merchandiser, display builder was eager to have a storage area for fixtures, tools and display goods.
To further build the brands reputation for eye catching eye candy and high end department store like treatment of visual display, I carved a niche out for a window display and purchased a ton of mannequins. The tradition of rearranging the store, adding new fixtures and displays with each season was born.
As if the planets aligned just for the ladies of Willows, the two spaces adjacent to the store became available. So without hesitation, the designing of the current, expanded Willows began. The additional space allowed us to accommodate more dressing rooms, increase the selling space, add a sale area and further indulge in the textures and elements that define Willows visually. And of course I got my wish of another window, an expanded back room and a central wrap desk that could hold four checkout stations!
I'm proud to play part in this 20 year love affair with the Willows brand. The owners, Sandy and Janna are like family. We've watched each others families grow. We've watched our separate businesses grow. And, we will continue watching Willows grow further with our collaborative ways and unrelenting love for the store. I'm including some additional photos from my Willows displays below. Enjoy!- Aaron
Okay Lax lovers, here we go... I proudly present my lacrosse wall art series collage. Available as a one piece, nine image design or you can pick and choose any of the nine as individual prints in canvas and on archival paper.
According to Thomas Vennum Jr., author of American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War "Apart from its recreational function, lacrosse traditionally played a more serious role in Indian culture. Its origins are rooted in legend, and the game continues to be used for curative purposes and surrounded with ceremony. Game equipment and players are still ritually prepared by conjurers, and team selection and victory are often considered supernaturally controlled. In the past, lacrosse also served to vent aggression, and territorial disputes between tribes were sometimes settled with a game, although not always amicably."
With it's rich history and evolution into one of the fastest growing sports here in the States, it's time to be wall proud and art up! I hope you enjoy them, I'd love to hear your feedback.
Need some inspiration for your lax loving walls? Here are three style mood boards to give you ideas and inspire. Feel free to pin, post and print!
Welcome to my Embellishments Journal, it's a new feature. I will be posting about some of our projects, sharing pictures and interesting things. Chime in, ask questions and keep your arms and hands inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. -Aaron
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