Month: March 2013


The Artful Home: DIY Reclaimed Chair | Elysian Studios

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I was going about my normal morning routine recently, when I spied this cute (though well-used) chair on a curb next to a trash bin (Gasp!). Of course the little thing had to come home with me straight away.  I didn’t know exactly what I’d do with it, but I knew I’d figure out something.

Upon closer inspection, I realized there was just some surface stains on the cushion fabric, but overall, this chair was in great condition!  Since it has welting and fabric on the back of the chair, I knew that re-upholstery would be too costly and time-consuming to DIY.

But what if I could just paint the fabric? 

How is it really much different than a canvas?

So that’s what I did!

For a similar project, you will need:

Gesso or primer

Acrylic paints (I used artist paints, but high-quality craft paints would be fine too)

Latex Paint in your choice of color (ex: tester size of Behr paint- $3 from Home Depot)

Clear Polyurethane Varnish

Paintbrushes in a variety of sizes
Pattern/Design to paint on fabric

Ruler and tools for transferring/drawing pattern

Palette for paints

Paper towels and water for clean up

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The gesso or primer (Kilz brand is good) will seal off the fabric, preventing the stains from bleeding up through the new paint.  It also creates a bright white “toothy” surface for the new paint to adhere to.  Cover all the fabric and wood frame of the chair (it may require two coats). Then…


You will need to determine in advance what pattern you would like to paint on your chair.  I collect pattern and graphic ideas on Pinterest (you can follow my board here).  I just loved this pattern from a 1913 painting by August Macke.  Measure and draw your pattern onto your chair.  Be aware that the more intricate your design, and the more colors in the pattern, the more difficult this project will be!

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You will want a more durable latex paint for the wood.  Again, I just had a custom color mixed at Home Depot.  The “tester” size is only $3 and is more than enough paint for a similar project.  It only comes in the “flat” finish, so you will need to seal it with clear polyurethane.  The painted fabric should also be sealed to protect the painted pattern from damage.  Please note, I also painted the welting with the latex paint.  You will need a small brush for this.


You’ve now created a piece of functional art! Of course you have to sign it!  Once you’ve added your signature, and have allowed everything to dry at least 12 hours, paint the chair with the clear polyurethane as your final step.  Allow the polyurethane to dry 24 hours before using the chair.


If you see a cast-off chair, don’t hesitate to think outside of the box to reclaim it for your own decor.  I completed this project only having to buy the $3 tester paint- everything else was leftover from other projects!

What is your favorite trash-to-treasure project?

I’d love to hear about it!  Please let me know if you try this project or have any questions!


Featured Artist: Valerie Savarie | Elysian Studios

It is a rare opportunity for a viewer to step quietly and intimately inside an artist’s creative journey, but that is exactly what artist Valerie Savarie has invited you to do… 


“me, myself & thou”

a collection of new work by Valerie Savarie

at Zip 37 Gallery in Denver, CO

March 15-31

Right to left: “art living inside art”, “one eye at a time (david bowie style)”, and “am I dreaming?” ©2013 Valerie Savarie

A brilliantly inventive book artist, Valerie is passionate about peeling away layers of thick cardboard and age-worn text to reveal hidden meanings and disclose personal stories.  Through this process she also peels away the emotional distance between herself and the viewer, creating art that includes us in its narrative.

“music to my ears” ©2013 Valerie Savarie, Available by Silent Auction to benefit Radio 1190

The sculptures in this show each begin as a vintage book, many from the 1930’s, which Valerie intricately transforms into rich pieces of mixed media art by adding painted, stitched and constructed elements.  She uses innocent faces and figures of childhood to depict imagined landscapes, often deeply rooted in her memories.  

“me, myself & thou” at Zip 37 Gallery

As a viewer, you are inspired to step up close and look inside the previously “closed book” to engage with the artist’s creative process.  Immediately one begins to wonder how this piece was made, and begins to identify with the small character in the scene.

“flight of imagination” ©2013 Valerie Savarie

Valerie doesn’t limit her art to the wall.  You will find pieces soaring and spinning in the air.  She encourages you to gently touch them.  She wants you to experience creative delight.  This is a beautiful, refreshing show suitable for all ages, and one that encourages you to linger.

Fill out a postcard and receive a small piece of original art!

To further the dialogue between artist and viewer, Valerie has invited each gallery guest to fill out a postcard sharing how they were inspired by her art.  In return, she will be mailing back a small original piece of art!  

Art is powerful when it is allowed to get off the wall and be freely exchanged.  It reaches its true potential when the distance between the artist and the viewer is bridged, allowing a deep sense of connection and harmony to develop.  I greatly admire Valerie’s work and this beautiful show she has created to share with us!

Valerie Savarie and Erin Fickert-Rowland at Zip 37 Gallery

To learn more about Valerie and her extraordinary art, please visit

her page at the Zip 37 Gallery website, 

or at

She has also recently started a new blog (which is already amazing!) titled “arterage”

There’s more to see at the show, so if you are in the Denver area be sure to stop by Zip 37 Gallery before March 31, 2013.

Click here for hours and directions.

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