This year I participated in the inaugural Annie Sloan "Paint to Donate", an initiative created by Jemma of Shed Eleven, an Annie Sloan stockist in NSW. The aim was to clean up Australia and help those in need - by saving unwanted furniture from landfill, painting it, then donating to local not-for-profit organisations. Participation was voluntary and we could chose who we wanted to work with, whether it be on a small or big scale.

My project was to work with the community of Wembley to create a beautiful window display of painted furniture for the Vinnies Store on Cambridge Street. Vinnies (the St Vincent de Paul Society) assist people experiencing poverty and inequality, and work to shape a more just and compassionate society. In these hard times, I feel this is an important cause to support. 


I reached out to fellow furniture artists and the Wembley community via my social media and a local Facebook group, along with an article in The Post newspaper. There was a great response, with everyone grouping together to donate items to be upcycled and looking out for freebies. We had painting parties in my shop studio which were loads of fun. A few people also gifted lavender from their gardens, as we had a French Lavender theme for the collection, which added a lovely touch to the window display. 


Working on this project was an amazing experience, I even discovered things along the way - how to make bronze wax, adding a transfer to a mirror, and learned about reupholstering. And also how to upcycle faster - I can't believe how many pieces we got competed in only a few weeks! There was a good mix of items - bedside tables, stools, crates, candlesticks, signs, pots, little drawers, a chair and mirror. 

The collection went into the windows on Monday 7th August, for Keep Australia Beautiful Week. Sue, who works as a professional merchandiser for Vinnies, did an amazing job of styling the windows, adding complementing décor and outfits for the mannequins from the stock they had in store. The staff and customers loved the experience, as it was something different and exciting for the store. 


My goal was to raise $1,200 through sale of the upcycled items and I'm pleased to report we went just above that - with everything sold by the end of August, totaling $1,250. This money goes directly to helping the people of Perth. 

A huge thank you to everyone involved, I couldn't have done it without you! Special thanks to Vinnies managers Sue Wilson and Angela Garden for giving me the opportunity to collaborate. Annie Sloan Australia was very pleased to follow the project, it's the type of community work they love to see. It will be a pleasure to come together again with a project like this for Paint to Donate 2024. 

September 15, 2023 — Rebecca La Marca

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