Visiting The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court this summer, it was clear that all the onlookers- ourselves included- were irresistibly drawn to Annie Sloan’s stand, regardless of whether ‘paint formulation’ is something they had ever considered before. It was a rainbow of beautifully curated painted furniture alongside sold out workshops throughout the show, it has come as no surprise to learn that she is back for another installment at The Handmade Fair this Christmas.
A paint and colour expert, with unique formulations and decorative style, Annie launched her Chalk Paint back in 1990 with huge success; although it is only more recently that she has exploded in to the mainstream consciousness and placed her brand firmly at the forefront of current influential trends. We caught up with Annie to ask her about The Handmade Fair, the Seventies and what she’s doing when she’s not setting trends…
1. Annie, you have amazing world roots stretching from Australia, to Cuba, to Africa and back again. To what extent do you feel this background has influenced your sense of colour and your decorative approach?
It most certainly gives you perspective when it comes to styling and decorating a space. I see it as an incredible strength, which I am very fortunate to have.
2. When you were studying fine arts in the ‘70s it was very on-trend to be creatively experimental within the home, with macramé, bright colours and what is now commonly known as ‘up-cycling’ being the norm. What was your attitude to paints and interiors at that time? Did you intend to move in that direction with your work?
I was going to jumble sales when they were really great!! I got all sorts of fantastic things for my home. I had a stall on Brick Lane in the 70’s selling all kinds of second hand clothes and other items. It wasn’t a conscious decision to move into paint, up-cycling and interiors but I’ve always seen beauty in old things.
3. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
I’m learning to run like Mo Farrah!! My personal trainer is now focusing on my running technique as my stamina has improved over the past few months.
4. We know that your workshops in the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court this summer were the hot ticket of the event and your stand was a joyous sight of colour and energy – clearly it was an all-round success. What do you enjoy most about being part of The Handmade Fair events?
I think it’s the best fair I have ever been to. It’s very sophisticated and I think it reflects the wonderful Kirstie Allsopp. It’s an absolute honour to be a part of it.
5. We know that you don’t have a favourite colour but prefer to have favourite colour combinations; which are your favourite shades from your own range to play around with at the moment?
At the moment I have two different colour combinations I love. They are Olive and Arles and also Graphite with Original. I am using them on current projects and they look great!!
6. What 5 things can’t you live without?
My grand daughter Willow.
My sketchbook and pens- I take them everywhere.
I always need a little art and music in my life. I love Radio 4 and visiting Museums.
7. Aside from your own workshop at The Handmade Fair, who’s workshop would you most like to take part in this Christmas?
Floristry is something I’ve always had a passion for but I don’t really do enough of it so I would like to make a flower wreath in Kitten Grayson’s workshop.
8. If you weren’t working with paint and colour, what do you think you would be doing now?
I think I would probably have a market garden where I could grow and sell produce. I love spending time in the garden.
9. What’s your motto?
Trust your gut.
10. How do you and your family celebrate Christmas?
My boys are all grown up now but this year two of them are coming to South Africa with us for Christmas. My middle son Felix and his partner Lizzy can’t make it as they are having a baby, which is very exciting!!
Come and see Annie and the rest of the fabulous line up at The Handmade Christmas Fair at Manchester Central on 20th-22nd November! We’re throwing in an entry ticket discount code for you Bibelovers, so don’t miss out!
Simply use the discount code BIBELOT20 on the Handmade Fair website to get full day entry to the fair for just £20** (usually £25).
Book your tickets online early as spaces are limited and highly coveted! To whet your appetite until then however we recommend you head over to Annie’s YouTube channel for inspiration and tips on how to use her products and scrub up before the big day.
Sarika Thakorlal and Chloë Owens