A Creative Stretch
Every so often a project comes along that stretches Brenda’s creativity. Refinishing kitchen cabinets requires her to be creative, but in different ways. Her creativity shows up in her eye for color and coordinating our refinishing work with your decor. But when we do the work on your cabinets we strive for consistency, not creativity.
So a project like our recent table top fabrication and finish is a nice change of pace. Mine is a supporting role in this story. I’m the “artist’s assistant.” I’m fascinated to see Brenda’s creative process when she’s challenged to create a work of art. And I thought you might enjoy the story of how this table top came to be.
Our clients had a space problem. Their glass-top dining room table overtook the room. Passage between the edge of the glass and the piano was tight. I could imagine how cramped it felt when filled with guests.
The plate-glass top sat on a metal-frame base. It was not attached and merely lifted off, with some effort. We suggested making a new, narrower table top that would sit on the same metal-frame base. MDF is a manufactured wood product smooth enough to make a new table top. It’s also heavy enough to stay in place. We took measurements and talked about a color palette to fit our clients’ decor.
I cut the MDF to size and did prep work: priming and painting. Brenda’s initial idea was an organic blend of colors. She began with a metallic foil treatment. Foil gives a look similar to gold leaf, but the metallic layer is much thinner. After the foil, Brenda began blending layers of color.
Some creative ideas develop according to plan. Other times Brenda gets to a point and realizes the result will not be what she had in mind. This project was one of those times. She made the decision to start over. Out came the black paint.
The color and texture showed through the paint as Brenda rolled it on. The result was an unexpected turn in the creative process. She pulled out her faux finish tools and coaxed the art from this fortunate meeting of paint, color and texture. It was unplanned. But it looked good. We asked our clients to take a look.
They agreed that it looked good. But they didn’t think a mostly black table was what they wanted. Brenda had a alternate plan in her back pocket. It was bold. It was different. She presented her idea: a red table with gold squares and black lines. She found several square ceramic tiles and laid them on the table to illustrate her concept. Our clients thought her idea would give them a table they like.
We painted the table over again, with red this time. Brenda measured, laid out and taped the squares. She applied the foil. We saw it coming together. We just had to get the lines right. Brenda made her calculations for the position and spacing of the lines. Two of the lines went to a metallic green color. Black and green spatters finished out the composition. Of course we protected it all with the same durable clear coat we use on our kitchen cabinet projects.
The Moment of Truth
Creative projects often bring doubt for the artist. Do I stop now or do I add a couple more flicks of color? It looks good here, but will it look good in the dining room? We were holding our breath a little as I carried the table top in and lowered it on its base. It looked good to me. Brenda stood taking it in. I waited to see our clients’ reaction. That’s all that ever matters. They were pleased. Brenda and I let out a small emotional sigh.
We are back to working on kitchen cabinets this week. The challenge to create something unique and creative is good for us. It’s a creative stretch we need from time to time. I truly enjoy seeing Brenda work through her creative process. Her talent still amazes me.