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What's new in various product categories; monthly update.

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In Support of Decorative Painting

It can be inexpensive, easy, and appealing to young people.

by Priscilla Hauser (January 16, 2006)

(Note: Priscilla is writing in response to Bob Ferguson's article, "What the Industry Needs," published with the 1/02 issue of CLN. To read his complete article which commented on numerous issues in addition to decorative painting, click on "Benny Da Buyer."

Bob's Thoughts.

"You say that the two categories need new designs that attract younger customers. In the case of cross stitch, I believe you are right, but in the case of decorative painting, I don't think anyone is there yet, and the younger people are still very much afraid of doing the kind of things their mothers and even their older sisters did just a few years ago.

"The entire industry still tries to make it too complicated to paint and, much like the custom picture-framing industry that tries to keep its status as an exclusive thing available only to "those who can afford it," there is a good old girl's network that teaches painting as a studied art form and not one of simplicity.

"Of course there are a few exceptions, but one can only do the one-stroke method on certain things without then launching into the more complicated and boring 'techniques' routine that turns off those younger consumers."

Priscilla's Answers.

You are absolutely correct when you say cross stitch and decorative painting need new designs that attract younger customers. I believe if you look closely, you would see that this has begun to happen.

There are many young people who love to paint. Not only for the gratification (I believe you call it instant gratification) that it brings, but also because it enables them to create gifts and home accessories that are often too expensive to purchase.

I beg your pardon, painting is not expensive. The cost of paint on today's market is one of the best values the stores have to offer. For example, artist brush prices have dropped dramatically. Absolutely any surface can be decorated and surfaces are available in any and every price range.

I had to laugh when I read "there's a good old girl's network that teaches painting as a studied art form and not one of simplicity." Art in any form can be and is taught at entry level, beginning level, intermediate and so on. Certainly, there are networks that teach more advanced levels of painting. What are you in reference to when you say the "good old girls network"? Are you speaking of the Society of Decorative Painters? I'll be glad to provide you with detailed information correct information about that organization, if you desire.

It's true that Donna Dewberry has done a great job with One Stroke. Who ever said that more complicated techniques were boring and that they turn off younger customers?

The scrapbooking industry has done wonderful things to bring new and young people into the craft and hobby industry. I will have the great joy of teaching with paint at one of the scrapbook conventions, "Paper, the New Canvas." I will be using paint in unique ways and I think painting in this form for the scrapbookers will offer those new designs and opportunities you speak of.

Decorative Painting, Cross Stitch, Decoupage will always be staples. It is up to us who work and design in this wonderful industry to keep new ideas before the public.

Most Sincerely,

Priscilla Hauser
Founder of The Society of Decorative Painters
Teacher of Arts and Crafts for more than 40 years
Not a member of The Good Old Girls Network

(Editor's note: Bob is right that painting is not the influential powerhouse that it once was. Priscilla is right that when consumers become hooked on painting they can be a major boon to a retailer's sales. So what does the category need to regain its position in the industry? Email your thoughts to CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)



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