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Dionne Woods

Published:

 

All I’ve ever done in my business is recycle, repurpose and give new life to something that was once treasured. It’s my goal to breathe new life into things so that they may once again find their place in someone’s heart. For years, I have been taking old, discarded furniture and turning it into works of art that spark joy and inspiration. I never thought of myself as particularly innovative; it’s just that I have a tendency to push myself to explore. I want to discover new worlds, new realms. I want to always innovate. 

I’ve been called a pioneer in the furniture artistry world, which feels very kind and generous for someone to say, so I am grateful for the compliment. I’ve never been one to paint using one color. My norm was a minimum of two colors and quickly grew to six, eight, even 12 colors on one piece. Then, I found that the chalk and clay paint I loved so much practically blended on its own with the application of water from a spray bottle. I know, right? I sprayed water on wood furniture. Basic went to functional art in a very organic way for my work. I began to look at my makeovers as another opportunity to create art. 

It means that I’ve learned in my lifetime, all 46 years of it, to take risks with my creativity. We are not promised tomorrow, so I must trust my heart and pay attention to the nudges it sends me. The hard part is to avoid resisting that calling. But when I do listen and give in, the anxiety and frustration ease, and my heart fills with joy! 

After my new paints, Bohemian Brights for DIY Paint, were launched, I wanted to shock my audience and grab their attention with the colors. I was used to painting on a white canvas and discarded furniture, but I needed something my audience had never seen before. A dress meant I could do anything I wanted, and if I didn’t like it, I could simply throw it in the garbage or recycle the fabric — like turn it into pillows. Even better? If I did like it — if the risk turned into a reward — then I knew I was onto something. Something very clever and exciting for The Turquoise Iris.

 

 

Over and over, I kept hearing a little voice whisper, “Paint the dress, paint the dress, paint the dress.” I resisted it for a while (I paint furniture and canvas, remember?!), but one day I bought a wedding dress at a thrift store on a whim, just to show my new colors to the world. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed every bit of the process. 

What started out as an opportunity to promote my brand-new paint line turned into something much greater than a quick promotion. Without taking risks and going against the grain to paint a wedding dress, I would not have discovered my newfound love and form of expression. I’ve always been a lover of dresses — any and all of them — but a wedding dress symbolizes a bride in her own form of expression. It’s such a big undertaking for a bride to choose just the right wedding dress for herself, right? We make it an event, with our most trusted friends and family coming along to help us find “The Dress,” the one that represents the bride in the way she wants to be seen. What could be more expressive, more unique, more customized than a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted gown?

As an artist, I enjoy painting on just about any sort of canvas, including hats, as of recently. Other than the occasional denim jacket or pair of overalls, I had never painted on fabric before. The white silky canvas made my heart race, and I found myself nervous with anticipation and excitement about the potential. As much as I would like to say that I am a consummate professional when it comes to painting anything and everything, I am still learning which fabrics I prefer to paint on. 

I can’t say that my process is the pinnacle of best practices for painting on wedding dresses, but I do know that I’m taking chances and learning as I go. Here’s what I learned I enjoy: trains over no train, poof over flat embroidery, flowers over a simple style, white over ivory. The Bohemian Brights paint line features six available colors with a built-in topcoat, so I knew that I wouldn’t have to seal the fabric unless I just wanted to add an extra layer of protection. I recommend looking for something similar if you’re interested in painting a dress.

 

In life and creativity, there’s freedom in losing yourself and finding yourself both.

The first step in painting a dress is to begin by wetting your fabric, whether it’s cotton, satin or polyester. I sprayed water with my fine mist bottle, called the Water Girl, from my paintbrush-and-tool collection with Paint Pixie. When the fabric was almost dripping with water, I started brushing on my colors softly with my brush, the Caddie. The bristles are 4 inches long, so they provide a very smooth, soft approach to applying the paint to the delicate fabrics. I wanted the colors to overlap in order to give the fabric a soft, blended, watercolor-like feel. 

As soon as I began doing this, nothing else mattered. I lost and found myself in the process.

When doing this yourself, I recommend to continue overlapping your colors, trailing the colors down to the bottom of the fabric. Here is where you can really play with the effect you’re looking for and create a rainbow or ombre effect. This layer will be the background of the art. Keep the fabric wet while applying the paint, so the colors blend more smoothly together. The tricky part is painting the entire spread of the fabric, so having a card table of sorts to drape your dress over is very helpful. (I found that I really need a bigger studio!) 

The brushes that I used for the flowers were a fan brush, a small round brush and a 2-inch wash brush. Because I was going for a more abstract look, I made it a priority to keep the water bottle in my hand and continued misting the paint to keep it wet while I painted. This made it easier to manipulate the paint throughout the fabric. 

These details are where one’s artistic instinct, identity and personality can really shine through. I recommend painting a trellis, a garden or anything that feels familiar and beautiful to you. 

To dry the painted wedding dresses, I apply heat using my heat gun and add a topcoat, like Scotchgard, to the fabric. When I am working on cotton dresses, once I finish, I toss the dress into the dryer on high heat for an hour to set the paint.

I now have a collection of skirts and hats that I am painting as well as 10 wedding dresses that are waiting to be painted — one in black satin! I think this will open up an opportunity for all of the unworn, unused, sad old wedding dresses hanging in the back of people’s closets and on racks in the thrift store. They, too, can be repurposed. Perhaps they might be turned into a prom dress, a party dress or even a summer day dress. Who knows what can be accomplished with a little hemming, cutting, sewing and painting?

The greatest difference between artists and everyone else is our constant desire to be creative and take risks. Listen to that small voice inside you that pushes you outside of your comfort zone because it knows that you are destined for greatness.

 

 

For more on BloomTV, go to: www.BloomTVNetwork.comBloomTVNetwork on Instagram; and BloomTVNetwork on Facebook.

 

All I’ve ever done in my business is recycle, repurpose and give new life to something that was once treasured. It’s my goal to breathe new life into things so that they may once again find their place in someone’s heart. For years, I have been taking old, discarded furniture and turning it into works of art that spark joy and inspiration. I never thought of myself as particularly innovative; it’s just that I have a tendency to push myself to explore. I want to discover new worlds, new realms. I want to always innovate. 

I’ve been called a pioneer in the furniture artistry world, which feels very kind and generous for someone to say, so I am grateful for the compliment. I’ve never been one to paint using one color. My norm was a minimum of two colors and quickly grew to six, eight, even 12 colors on one piece. Then, I found that the chalk and clay paint I loved so much practically blended on its own with the application of water from a spray bottle. I know, right? I sprayed water on wood furniture. Basic went to functional art in a very organic way for my work. I began to look at my makeovers as another opportunity to create art. 

It means that I’ve learned in my lifetime, all 46 years of it, to take risks with my creativity. We are not promised tomorrow, so I must trust my heart and pay attention to the nudges it sends me. The hard part is to avoid resisting that calling. But when I do listen and give in, the anxiety and frustration ease, and my heart fills with joy! 

After my new paints, Bohemian Brights for DIY Paint, were launched, I wanted to shock my audience and grab their attention with the colors. I was used to painting on a white canvas and discarded furniture, but I needed something my audience had never seen before. A dress meant I could do anything I wanted, and if I didn’t like it, I could simply throw it in the garbage or recycle the fabric — like turn it into pillows. Even better? If I did like it — if the risk turned into a reward — then I knew I was onto something. Something very clever and exciting for The Turquoise Iris.

 

 

Over and over, I kept hearing a little voice whisper, “Paint the dress, paint the dress, paint the dress.” I resisted it for a while (I paint furniture and canvas, remember?!), but one day I bought a wedding dress at a thrift store on a whim, just to show my new colors to the world. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed every bit of the process. 

What started out as an opportunity to promote my brand-new paint line turned into something much greater than a quick promotion. Without taking risks and going against the grain to paint a wedding dress, I would not have discovered my newfound love and form of expression. I’ve always been a lover of dresses — any and all of them — but a wedding dress symbolizes a bride in her own form of expression. It’s such a big undertaking for a bride to choose just the right wedding dress for herself, right? We make it an event, with our most trusted friends and family coming along to help us find “The Dress,” the one that represents the bride in the way she wants to be seen. What could be more expressive, more unique, more customized than a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted gown?

As an artist, I enjoy painting on just about any sort of canvas, including hats, as of recently. Other than the occasional denim jacket or pair of overalls, I had never painted on fabric before. The white silky canvas made my heart race, and I found myself nervous with anticipation and excitement about the potential. As much as I would like to say that I am a consummate professional when it comes to painting anything and everything, I am still learning which fabrics I prefer to paint on. 

I can’t say that my process is the pinnacle of best practices for painting on wedding dresses, but I do know that I’m taking chances and learning as I go. Here’s what I learned I enjoy: trains over no train, poof over flat embroidery, flowers over a simple style, white over ivory. The Bohemian Brights paint line features six available colors with a built-in topcoat, so I knew that I wouldn’t have to seal the fabric unless I just wanted to add an extra layer of protection. I recommend looking for something similar if you’re interested in painting a dress.

 

In life and creativity, there’s freedom in losing yourself and finding yourself both.

The first step in painting a dress is to begin by wetting your fabric, whether it’s cotton, satin or polyester. I sprayed water with my fine mist bottle, called the Water Girl, from my paintbrush-and-tool collection with Paint Pixie. When the fabric was almost dripping with water, I started brushing on my colors softly with my brush, the Caddie. The bristles are 4 inches long, so they provide a very smooth, soft approach to applying the paint to the delicate fabrics. I wanted the colors to overlap in order to give the fabric a soft, blended, watercolor-like feel. 

As soon as I began doing this, nothing else mattered. I lost and found myself in the process.

When doing this yourself, I recommend to continue overlapping your colors, trailing the colors down to the bottom of the fabric. Here is where you can really play with the effect you’re looking for and create a rainbow or ombre effect. This layer will be the background of the art. Keep the fabric wet while applying the paint, so the colors blend more smoothly together. The tricky part is painting the entire spread of the fabric, so having a card table of sorts to drape your dress over is very helpful. (I found that I really need a bigger studio!) 

The brushes that I used for the flowers were a fan brush, a small round brush and a 2-inch wash brush. Because I was going for a more abstract look, I made it a priority to keep the water bottle in my hand and continued misting the paint to keep it wet while I painted. This made it easier to manipulate the paint throughout the fabric. 

These details are where one’s artistic instinct, identity and personality can really shine through. I recommend painting a trellis, a garden or anything that feels familiar and beautiful to you. 

To dry the painted wedding dresses, I apply heat using my heat gun and add a topcoat, like Scotchgard, to the fabric. When I am working on cotton dresses, once I finish, I toss the dress into the dryer on high heat for an hour to set the paint.

I now have a collection of skirts and hats that I am painting as well as 10 wedding dresses that are waiting to be painted — one in black satin! I think this will open up an opportunity for all of the unworn, unused, sad old wedding dresses hanging in the back of people’s closets and on racks in the thrift store. They, too, can be repurposed. Perhaps they might be turned into a prom dress, a party dress or even a summer day dress. Who knows what can be accomplished with a little hemming, cutting, sewing and painting?

The greatest difference between artists and everyone else is our constant desire to be creative and take risks. Listen to that small voice inside you that pushes you outside of your comfort zone because it knows that you are destined for greatness.

 

 

For more on BloomTV, go to: www.BloomTVNetwork.comBloomTVNetwork on Instagram; and BloomTVNetwork on Facebook.

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