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David Ryan Rolling Meadows Illinois  Decorative Artisan of the Month

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Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes
504 East St. Charles Rd,
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Toll Free: 800-797-4305
Phone: 630-653-2400
FAX: 630-653-4671


Chicago's Decorative Arts: Newsletter for Faux By Kathy faux finishing faux school faux elearning


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Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques

Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques


Tell Us, Tell Us, Tell Us - We Are Listening

We invite you to GET CREATIVE, brainstorm, and send us your great ideas.  We are listening, no idea is too small.  Think outside the box, whether it is pre-mixed glazes that would make your life easier or maybe it is linking to your website.  Quick Inspirations was born along these lines, to keep artisan’s portfolios current and cost effective. 

Wow us with your own idea; let us know what would benefit you!  Oh, did we mention that there you could win $100 gift card from Faux By Kathy if your sensational idea was chosen?

M.L. Campbell Beyond Green

ML Campbell Wood Finishing systems decorative Water Borne products low VOC compliant productsM.L. Campbell is a leading product line in excellence, quality, and its environmental compliance.  For the past 20 years, M.L. Campbell has worked to stabilize their products for the health of the environment, artisans, and architects who work with the products.  They have a wide range or Water Borne products and low VOC compliant products that are Greenguard certified.  They are committed to always brining out new products and improving their products.   Keep your eyes open, at least two or three new products come out each year!

Joe Muck, the Technical Manager at M.L. Campbell, has a vast technical expertise which is apparent in his background and in his dedication to his customers.  Prior to his career he was involved with coatings for the majority of his life.  As he was learning the trade he moved from coatings over to the actual chemical side.  After working in the distribution end, he evolved into a role where he found himself working with customers.  At M.L. Campbell he is a great resource for his customers!  Joe states “we pride ourselves on that.  We go into the accounts and physically work with our customers, or if they have new projects we help lay out colors and see what they need.”  Joe Muck goes the extra mile and ensures that the customer gets the result that they set out to achieve.

ML Campbell WoodSong II™ Traditional Glaze Base decorative Water Borne products low VOC compliant products WoodSong II™ Traditional Glaze Base
An oil base glaze (tinting base) developed to create a look of depth and richness of color in a slower drying formula.

ML Campbell Azoton™ Water Borne Dye Stains decorative Water Borne products low VOC compliant products Azoton™ Water Borne Dye Stains
Compatible with all M.L. Campbell water borne stains and clear coats, our Azoton Water Borne Dye Stains are GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified.
ML Campbell Agualente decorative Water Borne products low VOC compliant products
Agualente is a GREENGUARD Certified, low VOC, non-yellowing, self-sealing, easy sanding, pre-catalyzed water borne clear coating for interior wood surfaces.

In addition to going out on site, there is a trouble shooting section on the M.L. Campbell website designed to help with questions as a learning tool.  This is a great place to go for possible problems that may not have been encountered as of yet. 

Faux By Kathy recognizes this outstanding product, and we carry a wide range of M.L. Campbell products.  We offer Agualente, Azoton, WoodSong, Water Borne Dye Concentrates and more.  If you have not already used them, they are definitely worth using on your next project! 

Quick Inspirations decorative Artisan design pack, quick decorative board samplesQuick Inspirations

January Sample Pack
Keep your portfolio up to date with high quality boards sent right to your door each month!  Each Quick Inspirations kit includes a 9 x 10 sample with a recipe for the finish as well as three 3 x 3 color waves.  What an amazing addition to your portfolio without the demands on your time!

Try a kit for only $27.50.  For the most cost effective savings order a 12 month supply at only $260 and receive a new Quick Inspirations kit delivered to your door each month.  Call now, we look forward to hearing from you!

From New Product to Favored Product

Susan Zolnik Kassel has been doing faux finishing for 15 years.   She has built up a wonderful clientele where she lives in Atlanta, Georgia as well as the surrounding suburbs.  Susan enjoys working with many techniques but her favorite is murals.  After the first five years of working part time, Susan finally opened up her full time decorative painting business, Zolnik Studio. 

Just recently, Susan was hired to do four finishes in a single residence.  The finishes were all creations from Kathy's most recent class which she calls Babs, Bronze Foil, Bella Fresco, and Chilean Pelato Pittura.  Susan was working on-site in a million dollar cabin in the north Georgia mountains, applying the Bella Fresco finish in the water closet and trey ceiling of the master bathroom when anxiety took hold.   Bella Fresco was new for her and it was not drying fast enough to make the job efficient or get the proper effect.    It was not working out as it had done in class.

“I was having great difficulty in the application because the product took so long to dry.  I sent Kathy an email and she got right back to me.  The Georgia humidity was changing how the product was drying.  Kathy advised that I should add more tint (Van Dyke Brown) to the Bella Fresco.  It was an easy fix to speed dry time.  Now I could work more efficiently and get beautiful effects.”  Susan was very impressed with Kathy’s quick response time and her willingness to help.  “Kathy called me on a Sunday after her recent surgery.  She had not even been back to work yet.  But her dedication to her students would not let me struggle alone.  Later in the week, when I had other questions, I was able to reach her.  I was very impressed that she had the time for me.  I was anxious about the job.  Most of the products in this job were new for me.  It was my faith in Kathy and her instruction that gave me the courage to sell new finishes on this high-end level that I had never done before.  After Kathy’s help with the Bella Fresco, Susan commented; “Bella Fresco may become my favorite product.  I actually stopped in the middle of the trey ceiling on a Friday and finished it Monday without a seam or lap line.  The Bella Fresco is a perfect background for hand painted work.  I painted a translucent willow tree over the Bella Fresco in the water closet using only Van Dyke brown and glaze.  Truly a dream finish.” 

Susan ran into another problem with the application of a foil.  It simply would not stick.  The foil was a “beautiful pattern foil.  It was exquisite on a smooth poly board but on the wall it looked like a bad metallic paint job.  When I called Kathy she said it would be from the orange peal texture from the base paint.  I had to get the foil size on more smoothly and thoroughly.”  Susan took a sponge roller and reapplied the foil size a second time rolling back and forth slowly and smoothly to get a very complete coverage.  It worked beautifully, the foil adhered and the final outcome was gorgeous. 

The final portion of the project for Susan was the "Babs" that the client wanted applied in the foyer.  The "Babs" finish is tinted Rough Texture applied over silver foil.  It almost looks like birch bark.  Using the board as inspiration, I painted 12' trees on the accent wall in the foyer and applied the silver foil and plaster creating 3 dimensional "bark".  They were very impressed.”  Susan was able to use techniques obtained in the class and with the new tools she “can create many new looks and open new doors in creativity.”

Would You Like to Be Artisan of the Month?Faux By Kathy Decorative Artisan of the Month

Have you ever wanted to be featured as an Artisan of the Month on our website?  Now’s your chance!  All you have to do to be considered is contact our office.  If you are selected, you will need to be available for a 30 to 45 minute phone interview and provide us with at least 10 pictures of your work, and a picture of yourself to be featured with your article. 

The increased visibility alone is worth it!  What have you got to lose?  Contact us today!

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