Today I thought I'd give you an overview of the 2 day class I took at the Decorative Arts Show/The Faux Event, last week in Atlantic City. "Creative Countertops and Beyond" was taught by the very talented, Nancy Jones. Nancy is the owner of Artworks!...Spokane and has been a decorative painting instructor since 1985. Let me tell you, this woman is the definition of the word "organize"! Basically, all I had to do was show up with a trowel for this class. For those of you who have taken classes in a convention setting before, you know you usually have to haul half your studio with you and then whatever you forgot, is what you need. Nancy supplied everyone with not only all the supplies and materials needed for this class, but also, very thoughtfully included a ziplock bag with granola and energy bars for us to eat over the course of this two day class. I am still pouring over the incredibly detailed notebook she gave us, which outlines everything we need to know about the 3 products we experimented with in class, Skimstone, E-crete, and Granicrete.
All three of these products can be used to resurface existing countertops or over existing floors. They all have similar properties, but are 3 different systems with their own primers, bonding agents, colorants and sealers. These products can go over surfaces such as vinyl shower stalls, ceramic tiles, Formica, etc. They are waterproof, stain and scratch resistant. They are great products to give new life to old countertops, tiles and floors when you are thinking of remodeling, but do not want to rip everything out and start from scratch.
The first three sample boards from this class I will show are all done with Skimstone.
This is one of my favorites and I am thinking of doing this in my small mudroom. I currently have some pretty ugly vinyl tile back there that is just begging for some help. I would like to do it like big, slate stones, with faux grout between the stones. You'll be seeing this project happen here later in October!
I also love this finish which Nancy calls "Rustic Hemingway". She designed this finish for the kitchen counters in a client's rustic cabin. Since I am still in the middle of my own bathroom makeover, I was hoping one of the finishes from this class would be one I would want to use over my ugly ceramic tile floor. I laid this board right down on my floor and it really works well. I am thinking of doing this finish in 18" square tiles, on a diagonal. Again, I will be posting this project here shortly. The push is on to get this bathroom makeover done, so I can move on to the other zillion projects I have on my "to do list".
This is an E-crete sample board with a finish called "Rocky Mountain Slate". Again, great for a countertop or floor. The possibilities with all of these products are really only limited to your imagination and creativity. Any combination of colors can be used and the finish can be matte, gloss or high gloss.
Last, but not least, is the Granicrete series of boards. These 2 boards show just a glimpse of the possibilities with this product.
All of the samples done in this class were only sealed with one quick coat of sealer, due to time constraints for drying. If you visit any of the the 3 sites linked above for Skimstone, E-crete or Granicrete, you will see the various finishes offered. Also, I have been working in the studio with my friend, Stacy Queen on a series of Granicrete samples. Once they are all sealed, I will be posting some more pics of those boards so you can see some different finishes.
It was a great idea to experiment with 3 different concrete surfacing systems, but the class got a bit rushed and hectic by the middle of day two. We created a total of 8 sample boards. I'd suggest adding a 3rd day or limiting the samples to 2 of each product for a total of 6 sample boards over 2 days. Nancy has such a wealth of information to share, I'm sure it's hard for her to try to edit, clearly wanting to give her students as much information as possible. These product lines are an investment and many lines cannot be purchased unless you have had some training. If you are a decorative painter and are thinking about expanding your service offerings, I highly recommend a class with Nancy Jones. Check out her website for her class schedule.