The following is a guest blog written by Sarah Schwartz from Sarah and Ruby, a California design studio specializing in hand painted domino-style sheet wallpaper.
As a boutique wallpaper and design studio, we value skilled artisan work. All of our wallpaper is made by hand. Our block printed wallpaper is meticulously imprinted with hand-carved blocks using centuries-old techniques. Our domino-style wallpaper is hand-painted one sheet at a time, making each individual piece unique and full of nuance and depth. To us, no machine can substitute for the hands of a well-trained craftsperson. Our artisans make our wallpaper truly sing. But making the wallpaper is only half of the equation.
The other half is that our wallpaper needs to be thoughtfully installed. After putting in all of the human energy to make a beautiful product, it would be a shame if it were not beautifully hung. So we always recommend that it be installed by a professional. These are the artisans that bring our product to life.
Wallpaper hangers? Artisans?? YES! Aside from the obvious technical skill of making all of those seams disappear, professional installers give considerable thought to every project. Before even beginning a job, the installer will consider where and how to hang the paper to get the most visual impact. This is particularly important for our hand-painted wallpaper, as each sheet is individually painted and there can be color variation from piece to piece. A professional installer will lay out all of the pieces prior to installation and arrange them for “shading”, ensuring that the color transitions work for the overall space.
With handmade goods there is a lot of variation inherent in the making process, and while these variations make the product unique and beautiful, they can also create challenges for installation. For instance, when a block print is made by hand, it is virtually impossible for the print to align seamlessly and the print edges can often be irregular, causing the pattern to imperfectly align. This is no problem for the professional installer! On a recent install, paper-hanging gurus Heidi Wright Meade and Amy Anderson hand-mixed some paint to match the design and then expertly touched up the wallpaper at the join. The result, of course, was sublimely seamless!
Our hand-painted wallcoverings are also made from unique materials requiring some thought as to which type of paste to use (there are many kinds of wallpaper paste!). Professionals select the appropriate formula to maximize the longevity of the install.
Expert paper hangers apply a well-honed set of skills to make the install both visually and technically successful. A skilled installer is essential to our work, and the industry is in need of more people! If you know of anyone who loves beautiful wallcoverings, a career as a professional wallcovering installer may be worth exploring. Check out the Wallcovering Installers Association as well as this business marketing guide to getting started in the business.
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