Sunday, September 26, 2010

Design Boston w Designer Mentor and Craftsmen in Chicago

This week, I almost didn't get this blog done due to the fact that my youngest daughter's video project for HS was putting us both through some serious agony!!  Thank goodness for the Geek Squad...  (Just kidding, this BLOG happens Every Sunday, NO Matter What! .)

To set a lighter tone, here is an old favorite cartoon of mine, that used to made me laugh and it worked again today.  Take a look and share with your stressed out paint friends, on busy Monday...
The Caption, if you can't make it out says, "I'm sorry Sir, but I cannot sell you any color of interior paint without a note from your wife."  (Or decorative artist or interior designer) Poor Guy, I know just how he feels.

Business of Faux: So this week, I was back in Boston at the Boston Design Center for "Design Boston."
I was expecting a lot from the experience and was not disappointed in the least. At most of the interior designer events that we host, I end up meeting interior designers and in many cases, their decorative painters.  I started my day with set up at the Sherwin-Williams Color Design Studio on the 4th floor.  It is like being in a life size fan deck and Colormix card. (See photos)

The last photo features the work of a local artisan and edcucator by the name of Joe Fiorello.  Cindy Sampson, the Designer Account Executive and Color Studio Manager from Sherwin-Williams is standing next to Joe's creation.

I love being in Design centers to see the showroom windows and newly featured products and especially fabrics.
So, I began a very busy day, having the pleasure of meeting with Marilyn McLeod in the SW Color Center.  She and I had met in Golden,  Colorado the previous week and she was nice enough to stop by for a closer look at our new line of products.  I shared several versions of our Venetian Plaster, Quartz Stone and Metallic finishes with her.  Marilyn's showed me her portfolio and it was incredible.  She showed me a featured Ostrich finish, for which I need a recipe. Check her work out on Facebook or Hopefully, she will be teaching contractor classes for us sometime soon in her studio.

The Showroom, began to fill up and I had the pleasure of meeting with several Interior Designers.  I was fortunate enough to have sitting in the front row, Cynthia Curcio, IFDA, Principal Interior Designer of "four lexington, l.l.c." and her decorative artist, Susan Fiorello.  (Yes another Fiorello??)

As, the group came in, I passed around several samples for their review.  I also listened to and participated in their conversations before and after my presentation.  Cynthia, was commenting to her decorative artists and a few others, how faux has gotten an unfair bad name, due to the large number of sub-par installations conducted by mediocre installers.  She mentioned how she could tell, "In a Instant," whether or not a decorative finish had been applied by a true professional or not.  The key for her seemed to be in the design, color and the organic appearance..She said that if she sees a finish that looks, "Authentic...Like it was always there," That also meant that she could not tell how it was created, (Meaning sponge, rags, etc).

Cynthia was "speaking to my heart" with these words.  She made my week, by telling me that the kind of finish that she spoke of was in her hands.  She said that she would not leave without discussing, excatly how I had created the crackled and ditressed metallic finish. (I obliged)  Speaking with Cindy after the session was "food for my soul."
In next week's blog, 1 will show the step-by-step, How-To on this technique.

I will be back in Boston on November 9th, for several Hands-On sessions and look forward to seeing my new paint friends.

Speaking of my Faux "Tour of Duty" and where I will be over the next days and weeks:

SW Faux Impressions Preview, Hand-On Sessions: (aka: "Where's Ed Now?")

Tuesday, September 28, 2010. Edison, NJ:  9:00 AM and 1:30 PM at:
226 Talmadge Rd., Edison, NJ
Wednesday, September 29, 2010. Paramus NJ: 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM at:
176 N State Rt 17 # 3, Paramus, NJ
Tuesday and Wednesday October 5 - 6, 2010.  Plainview Long Island, NY:  9:00 AM and 1:30 PM at:
80 Express St., Plainview, NY
Thursday, October 7, 2010.  Camp Hill PA:  8:00AM at:
1905 State Street, Camp Hill, PA
Phoenix, Birmingham, Seattle and Tampa SOON...

So, From Boston, I headed to, Fenton, Michigan and had a fun hands-on session with some great decorative artists and contractors.  Lisa Basinski of  has already used some of the new products and created a great looking board, using metallic and metallic plasters... Picture below features, Lisa's finish.  she is surrounded by Trace and Crystal, her SW Tag Team Champions!

No rest for the wicked.  (Speaking of Wicked...I should have some photos coming soon, from a restaurant named, "Wicked"  of a Venetian Plaster installation.)

Another Faux Workaholic, Pat Ganino, had Ron Francis at his studio, prior to the PDPA Summit and found time to have the students play with the new Sherwin-Williams Venetian Plaster.

I ended the first 5 of 7 day week, back in my hometown of Chicago at an inspirational event called the: 
2010 Craftsmanship Conference
Inspiration, Tools and Applications for your Craftsmanship-Oriented Company
Katie Bernhard, DDM from Sherwin-Williams and I had an opportunity to meet some of the country's most dedicated PDCA craftmen in the industry. Mario Guertin of Painting Partnership, Inc. is the visionary behind this highly regarded annual event.  The attendees were  a powerful group and were knee deep in how to better their craft and raise the bar for their employees and the industry as a whole, but they found time and were fully engaged in our Faux Impressions preview.  I look forward to more interaction with this PDCA consortium of excellence.

Next week, as promised I will post another little taste of what happended at the PDPA Education Summit, featuring a video of Pascal Amblard...

This weekend, I also have completed a few sets of Faux Impression samples that will be used in an upcoming ASID Fashion show.  I will be sure to share the pictures.
For more information, please contact me at

Talk to you next week!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

PDPA Highlights & ASID Interior Designer Metallic feedback VIDEO

I had a life changing week in Golden, Colorado at the PDPA, Education Summit!  Andre Martinez and Pat Ganino put on an amazing event.  The physical elevation of nearly 6000' above sea level, played with my limbs and lungs and the artistic and inspirational elevation played with my mind and soul.

I met and got to spend quality time with so many industry icons.  People like: Pierre Finklestein, Pascal Amblard, Melanie Royals, Linda Bannining the current IDAL preseident, Ron Francis, (Got to drive him from the airport and hear about his class at Pat Ganino's studio the previous week) Sean Crosby, Sheri Hoeger, Nicola Vigini, Howard Thaller from Golden and the list goes on...

I was excited to see this incredible group of decorative artist taking home a copy of Stir magazine &
The Sherwin-Williams, ColorMix 2011
from the Portrait Competition reception on Thursday.

I have several blogs worth of live video and up close photos,  that I will share over the next several weeks from these 3 days of Education and Stimulation overload.  Lots of details to come!!! 

For now, I wanted to feature my Top 3 favorite Moments of the week:

1. Ilia Anossov 's Lecture (aka: Ilia Fresco)  If you ever wanted to really meet a Fresco Expert, Ilia is your guy.  Watch for a lot more details and cool stuff from this Master! His lecture was awesome.  I can't wait to see his videos and his studio/school in person.

2. Portrait Competition; Many brave artists got up and gave it their all, but Pat Ganino or The Faux Forum and Creative Evolution, ran away with the honors!! This Guy's Got some serious Game!

3. Working with Linda Banning, National president of IDAL.

I will need to decompress and organize my thoughts, photos and videos this week, so that I can share what I was fortunate enough to experience first hand in Golden.  By the way, Coors Light tasted REALLY fresh at the evening gatherings.

I had the luxury of getting to talk shop with several of the industry's best decorative painters. I was also excited to find out that I would be seeing many of them again soon, at upcoming Hands-On,  Sherwin-Williams, Faux Impressions session in their areas.

Ed's Upcoming Sessions:
Wednesday, September 22nd, Boston Design Center, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday, September 23rd, Sherwin-Williams in Fenton, MI, Noon - 2:00PM
Tuesday September 28th in Edison Park, NJ, 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM
Wednesday, September 29th in Paramus, NJ, 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM
October in NYC, Lancaster, PA, Phoenix, AZ, Birmingham, AL, Seattle, WA and Tampa, FL!!

It will be great to meet you and play with product!!  Please contact me for the exact time and locations.

While, I was at the Education Summit, I shared a "Project Presentation" from my past years as an installer, with this elite group of experts.  (Lost a little sleep preparing for this crowd but, I was glad that I put myself out there!)  I spoke with several decorative artist about the importance of Metallics.  The ensuing conversations were very educational and confirmed the many issues related to metallics and crackle, that we have all dealt with in our careers, "On the Real Walls!"  During this busy week, I also received my usual countless phone calls and emails form installers getting ready to use it for the first time on an upcoming project. In all of my discussions, I stressed that "It is all about the right roller Sleeve!! " (Home Video below)

Interior Designer Presentation in Pennsylvania: The previous week, I had the pleasure of presenting to a group of 60+ Interior Designers in West Chester, PA. While discussing the importance of metallics and the inherent difficulties of installation, I had an experienced, interior designer, raise her hand an comment that "I haven't found any use for metallics in my client's high end homes. My clients are old money, who live in  traditional homes on the Main Line." 

I listened and then broke one of my cardinal rules... Rule: Never argue with an Interior Designer! I didn't exactly argue, but I asked her to keep an open mind and mentioned that in our program we have the metallic as a foundation or under layer.  "The shimmer is always sophisticated and subdued, embedded beneath a topcoat of glaze or as a matte finish overall color."  Half of our color combinations have the entire room getting painted with a coat of paint and then a random rolled coat of our Metallic glaze. 

Later in the presentation, as I passed around samples of the Faux Impressions, Metallic under with the Faux Impressions, Quartz Stone over, (featured in previous blogs) she raised her hand and said, "I take back what I said earlier, this is beautiful and I could definitely use this with my clients!!!"  (The extra !!! are mine, I was thrilled.)

I explained further during our subsequent hands-on session, that our Metallic glaze lays down and levels beautifully and looks as if it was sprayed. We made it our priority and went to great lengths at our lab and during testing, to make this happen for the installer. It works consistently, if you apply a generous amount of product and use the correct roller sleeves. All attendees, tried it for themselves.

It is all about the correct Sleeves...

Correct Sleeves: 1/2" nap x 6" microfiber mini roller sleeves for the corners and 1/2" nap x 9" Colossus, for the body of the wall.  (This also worked well recently at the high Point, NC furniture market, using 18" Colossus rollers...Woah!)

This was my first home made video done with camera in left hand and rollers in right.  You can see a professional version at and then go to smooth metallic.

Please keep in touch by email and facebook.

Next week look for more details from Golden Colorado and some hands on video from Creative Evolution as Pat's students tested our new Venetian Plaster.



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kathy Carroll Hostess with the Mostess and Fun Class photos

Well it was another super busy week of travel which included, Cleveland, Nebraska, West Chester/Philadelphia, with a special Saturday trip to Carol Stream, Illinois to meet with the Chicago area IDAL chapter members at Kathy Carroll's, Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes.  What a place, what a lady, and what a group!!

I hope that in the picture above, you notice in Kathy's arm, "The Cutest Guard Dog in the business," Bella.  Bella was a good kisser, and she is named after Kathy's private label product line.

I know that for many, Saturday is an important college football day and Sunday a shrine to the NFL.  As many got ready for their favorite teams, I got up early to work off some nervous energy and put in a couple of hours of studio time in before heading to Kathy's Institute.  (Paint Nerd!) I spend my Saturdays and Sundays in the studio trying to keep up with what I learned from you all in the field and then do my best to catalog it for you each Sunday morning in this blog.  (Family time too, don't worry, they still know what I look like.)

As I was completing sample boards for some commercial architects and the PDPA event, I was very excited and a little bit nervous to be headed to meet Kathy and present to her IDAL chapter later that morning.  (It was 5:00 AM, so later was 7:30.)  I was concerned because I did not want to disappoint this group or waste their valuable time.  It was a honor to be invited and I wanted to "Deliver!" I have seen Kathy's work in person and have heard for so many years about Kathy's teaching prowess, her student's impecable reputations, her product lines, and her overall positive impact on our industry.  I also knew many of the IDAL chapter member by their stellar careers.  (An Industry Maven and a Tough Crowd!!) 

I know that Veronica, a local assistant Sherwin-Williams, store manager felt the same.  She was prepared and had packed some nice goody bags, which included new fan decks, Stir magazine, etc. for the attendees. Kathy Carroll, supplied the cupcakes and goodies!!  (It was her and Barb Runyard's birthday celebration.)

Speaking of goodies; if you haven't seen Stir magazine get online and register for an electronic copy! 

8:55 AM: I arrived a few minutes early and the parking lot was already filling up.  Kathy opened that door and gave us all the sign to come in.  As I carried in the product and tools, I was greeted by Bella.  I also found out that it was Kathy's Birthday. (Saw it on Facebook as well.)

Like I said earlier...Too cute. Later, I mentioned to Kathy that Bella might be going home with me in my Blue 5 gallon bucket.

Well fast forward, and thankfully I was pleased to be welcomed as "one of the girls."  (These Girls GOT GAME!)  Kathy gave me a tour of her facility and it was even better than I had expected.  She has great products and tools, stencils, sample boards, state-of-the-art school environement, a good slop sink, (That's how I really judge a studio) 2 tint machines and shakers, a spray booth, and great insprational finishes everywhere you look!!!  She also has a new line of foils that were great.  Check them out on her site.

As I sat back and watched her present to the group, I could see why the many students of hers' that I have met over the years, are always so pleased with their experience at her school.  She takes charge with a team approach, and moves FAST.  The entire group was going to spend the day testing 2 new prototypes of products, as well as work with our new Venetian Plaster and Metallic plaster lines.  (There is No Wasting Time at the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes!)  They also found time to fit in IDAL chapter business and Birthday celebrations.  Kathy previewed a super high-end cut glass class that she is holding in the near future, as well as featured a stencil mask product that she is using in a class this coming week in Atlanta.

 When she graciously gave me the floor, I was impressed with and thoroughly enjoyed the group's expert questions and comments.  It is so much fun to talk shop with real experts.  After an hour of discussion, sharing of product information and samples boards, Veronica and I left the artists to their day of testing and play.  I am looking forward to seeing some of the results and comments.  I will feature these in upcoming updates for you to see. 

Happy Birthday Kathy Carroll and thanks for being a great Host!

Since I don't have the pictures of finishes yet from the day, I will share some photos from other sessions this week...

You can see that those who attend a Sherwin-Williams, Faux Impressions event, have a lot of fun and get right to playing with product. Usually attendees leave with at least 2 sample boards to show to prospective clients.  I am excited and pleased to say, that many have already led to successful and profitable installations!

Next week, after 3 days at the PDPA Education Summit in golden Colorado, I should have some great stories to tell.  Can't wait to see Pierre, Nicola, Pat, Ron, Andre and friends in action!

I am still working on adding video and will do my best to get some for you soon.

If you are interested in getting a glimpse at our new line of products, you can see the How-To videos on or stop into to a store nrear you.

I look forward to continuing to meet you in coming months as this road show continues.

Contact me with comments at



Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crocodile Rock & Nicola Vigini in San Antonio

I recently had the pleasure of working with a group of commercial contractors and decorative finishers at a Sherwin-Williams hands-on session in San Antonio. I was also excited to know that Nicola Vigini was planning to attend and was going to give me a tour of his studio later that evening!!

At this session we were all working with our new metallics and metallic plaster. We layered the smooth shimmering metallic as a base, put the samples outside to dry in the extreme dry heat provided by the afternoon sun. (Truck pallets stacked in the back of the store, facing directly into the blazing afternoon heat, combined with a warm breeze, proved to be a most effective fresh air "drying rack" system.)

I always encourage the artists and contractors who attend my hands on sessions to bring their own "torture devices" to work with to allow them to leave with sample boards that reflect their own hand and personality. I also try to bring along a few fun suggestions of my own. On this occasion I brought my newest toy; a Crocodile Rocker Tool from Atova.You can purchase this rocker tolls at Atova.

We then applied a coat of our new Quartz Stone product over the metallic and while it was still wet, we banged it with crunched up paper, or pulled through it with a wallpaper brush to create a striae effect, or rolled through it with a sea sponge roller, or Rocked it with an Crocodile Rocker tool!

How To: To recap the process was: Step 1: Apply the metallic over a painted or tinted primer surface in random roll application with a 1/2" microfiber or Colossus Roller sleeve.  Allow to dry.  Step 2: Roll or trowel on a coat of the Quartz Stone in the same color and while it is still wet, use your tool of choice to break through the thin wet film of metallic plaster to reveal the smooth metallic beneath. (Photo above shows the "Croc") 

I will have video in coming updates featuring artists from St. Louis, Nebraska, Philadelphia and NYC all showing their creativity at the easy 2 Step. (As soon as I can figure out how to view and insert the video?!)  Anyone with recommendations on a good video software for dummies, email me your suggestions!!

The simply sophisticated, subtle beauty of these finishes, make them an instant favorite with interior designers, architects and consumers.  Metallics, softly veiled underneath  layers have always been my favorite way to view and sell metallic installations. These finishes are also fast to the wall and profitable to in$tall!  (Just right for this economy and for commercial projects.)  In fact, one the the attendees at our session was a GSA contractor who is currently selling these finishes in place of commercial wallcovering in government office buildings.

You can see the metallic Quarts Stone Striae, How-To video at 

The session was a success and it was time to leave for Nicola's Studio...

Nicola is an incredible artist and I was pleased to find out that he is also a wonderful gentleman.  His facility has a truly world class showroom, which showcases some of the finest work to be found in our industry. The space also has a state-of-the-art classroom and an area large enough for some of Niciola's commissioned canvases.  At this one location, he runs a showroom, art studio, fax finishing school,  design studio, and a succesfful installation business.  If that wasn't enough, Nicola even designs a line of Stencils; BUSY Guy!

I was amazed at everything that I saw including Nicola's authentic Italian designs and ornamentation and old world finishes, but the thing that stopped me dead in my tracks was his extraordinary skills in trompe l'oeil.

The photo above, I took with my phone. (Sorry for the lack of quality, battery died on camera.)  I wanted to share with you a shot of Nicola in front of some amazing works of art.

Getting to spend time with someone this talented, who knows how to share his knowledge in a way that is meaningful,  was an inspirational learning experience for me. As soon as possible, I will take to take one of his classes. Nicola has curriculum for beginners with an introduction to faux class, as well as many mid and expert level offerings.

Learn more about Nicola and Vigini Studioes at:

I am looking forward to seeing Nicola in action in a couple of weeks at the Education Summit in Golden Colorado.  For more information go to the or

Next week, I will share some more of my travels and hopefully will include some on-location videos of artist and contractors in action!

Contact me with any comments or questions at

For more information on the Faux Impressions line by Sherwin-Williams, please stop into one of our 3000 stores nationwide or visit