Our own Turquoise Iris Journal Founder, Dionne Woods provides an exclusive on DIY Furniture Art and a look back at her developing design.
Innovation is the single most important aspect of any creative business. The ability to not only trust your creative process but follow through until you see results is what sets artists apart from one another. It’s strange to think of myself as an innovator. Most of the time I see myself as a furniture artist who loves helping others find joy and freedom through painting. But, when I look back over my career, I can see that I’ve been innovating since the beginning… Well, almost the beginning.
When I first started back in 2012 I was using latex paint, which I learned very quickly DOES NOT BLEND. I was also only using one or two colors at a time. My staging wasn’t terrible, but I learned over time what works and what doesn’t. After quickly growing bored of latex paint, I went through a phase of printing my artwork in gift wrap, then applying to my furniture and sanding it back for a rustic look. At the time, back in the days before Iron Orchid Designs, this was something no one else was doing. Back then I also bought peacock posters and applied them to my furniture, sanding off the shine. Next was a phase of buying new hardware and replacing all of the old.
Then, drips became my thing. A hashtag coined by then-17-year-old Shelby Tidwell, #DoTheDionne, started trending and then that was the new furniture fad. Around this time, the putty knife became my bestie and I used it to scrape and distress my work. The more colors I used on a piece, the more fun I had and the more attention my pieces received. Blending 6 to 8 colors became a challenge for me and that’s when I started doing live videos on Facebook, demonstrating how I used water to blend DIY paint.
One day, Debi Beard — my friend and owner of DIY Paint — challenged me to finger paint flowers on furniture. As soon as I started, they always sold quickly. I kept going until I found the fan brush! Talk about a game changer! I started hand painting my own flowers alongside the industry norm of adding transfers. These days I prefer hand painting over transfers.
Flowers have always been my favorite thing to paint! I try to push myself to use this theme in a new way as often as possible. I usually find the best ideas when I try to tackle an old subject in a new, and totally original, way.
I urge you to keep stepping outside your comfort zone and into the world of innovation. Try new things, make mistakes, learn what it is that feels natural to you. This is how you discover your own, unique creative voice.
See the full spectrum of Dionne’s furniture painting journey in the Summer 2022 issue of The Turquoise Iris Journal!