A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a workshop with the one and only Annie Sloan at the Annie Sloan HQ, Oxford. It was a bit of a fangirl moment for me. After I got the invitation I reminisced about the days I would walk down to the Annie Sloan shop on Cowley Road in Oxford during my lunch breaks. I had just moved into my first flat, and had a few furniture projects on the go. After stocking up on Chalk Paint, brushes and metal leaf, I’d spend the rest of the afternoon clock watching until I could go home and get cracking. It was so exciting to attend the workshop with Annie herself.
I hope you enjoy this recap of the day, as well as the photos I took at Annie Sloan HQ.
What is Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan?
Annie created her Chalk Paint 27 years ago. It’s amazing because it can be painted on pretty much anything. No priming or sanding required. You can paint it on walls, floors, ceilings, metals, stone, concrete, kitchen cupboards, indoor furniture, outdoor furniture…you get the picture. You can also use it to dye fabrics. There is no black pigment at all in any of the paint, just pure colour. All the paints are designed to be mixed together so you can customise your own colours from the core range. There are 36 colours in the range, and endless possibilities for more.
Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan is now a world-famous paint, with 1710 stockists across the globe. All of these are small, independent shops. The owners and staff are all trained at Annie Sloan workshops themselves. The paint itself is manufactured in Oxford.
About Annie Herself
Annie has a really interesting background which you can read about on her website. She has published 26 books to date, and is enthusiastic about sharing tips and techniques with her customers all over the world. Her books and video tutorials are as informative as they are inspirational. Annie herself is extremely down to earth, funny, and honest. She manages her own Instagram account, and has a small team around her in Oxford who are just as passionate about the products as Annie is.
Walking into the Annie Sloan HQ in Oxford was like stepping into the pages of one of Annie’s books. I recognised pieces of furniture from her books, and every corner has something extremely pretty that had me snapping away happily with my camera. After chatting with some lovely bloggers over a cup of tea, we all sat down to listen to Annie. Not only that – we also got to watch Annie in action. She showed us several painting techniques, and also how to use her paint as a fabric dye.
We also learned how to use colours. The neutrals within Annie’s paint range have complementary colours, making it easy to find a palette that works together. This is something that I found particularly valuable. Most of the downstairs in my house needs complete redecoration (once we hopefully have an extension completed). I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing about how to pick colours for each room. Using Annie’s tips I know how to start now and have developed some pretty good ideas of what I want.
One thing I know is that I am going to use Annie’s gilding wax. I absolutely love gold, as you might guess from some of my other blog posts. The Annie Sloan HQ has beautiful gilded pieces. I love this chair, and the picture frame examples.
I also became a little bit obsessed with this bathtub.
The day had a relaxed atmosphere. There was lots of chatting, discussing painting techniques, and hearing about other people’s decoration projects. We learned a lot from Annie. We also got to create our own marble effect wooden box. First, Annie showed us how to use her paint directly on to the wood, and then how to create the marble effect over the top with wax and newspaper. I love how mine turned out.
I met some really nice bloggers too, all with beautiful homes and projects on the go.
We all came away with a project pack and some extra goodies from both Annie Sloan and Oxfam. Annie and her team had studied each blogger’s Instagram and then picked out two colours for each of us for our project packs. The two colours I received were Old White and Graphite, both of which I love. Incidentally, Old White was the colour I used to decorate most of my furniture when I first moved into my flat those few years ago, so they picked really well 🙂
The New Colour In The Annie Sloan range
At the workshop we were privy to some top secret information. Annie has been working with Oxfam on a new colour for her range. We were very lucky to get a glimpse of it before it was released. The colour is Lem Lem, a gorgeous green that you can see here. Annie spent some time with Oxfam in Ethiopia, who are working with women farmers to help them grow allium plants. The allium itself is the inspiration for the new colour. The name Lem Lem means ‘abundant and green’ and is the colour of hope in Ethiopia. Annie Sloan stockists all over the world are in support. A portion of every tin of Lem Lem sold goes from towards Oxfam’s project. Lem Lem went on sale this month.
The day was so enjoyable. I can’t wait to get going on some more home decoration projects. You can expect to see Annie Sloan-inspired projects over the coming months and years on this blog. I’m also going to show you the mirror frame that I gold leafed using metal leaf from Annie Sloan, once the living room is decorated.
Where To Find Chalk Paint By Annie Sloan
You can find out more on the Annie Sloan website. It also tells you where your local stockist is.
I’d love to hear what decorating projects you have on the go at the moment (or have planned!). Let me know if you’ve used Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan before, too.
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