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Jelena Pticek: Upcycling Inspo from Annie Sloan’s Painter in Residence

The incredibly talented Jelena Pticek tells the Preloved community about her upcycling career, the new techniques she’s been using, and where she sourced her inspiration for her latest pieces. Jelena was recently selected to be one of Annie Sloan’s Painters in Residence. She completed four beautiful pieces for the project, and you can view them over at her blog:

upcycled dresser

A while back I found myself single after having enjoyed a two income lifestyle for many years. The new situation forced me to become creative with how I decorated my small condo. I had to find a way to balance my strict budget with the desire to live in a uniquely decorated “cookie-cutter” space. I sourced some old furniture and decided that I would paint it. I loved the process right from the first brush stroke, and before I knew it, I’d traded my 9-5 career for a profession dedicated to upcycling.

This career is now stretching into its 7th year and I could not be happier. My work is getting noticed internationally and I believe it is because of the love and passion I put into it every single day.

upcycled cabinet

Throughout the years I have had the opportunity to update many tired pieces of furniture, turn old and forgotten plates into clocks, and create lamps from tea cups and salt and pepper shakers. I have made many mistakes, but what still keeps me going is that, which each new upcycled item, my imagination gets richer and my desire to experiment and try new things stronger.

When it comes to furniture makeovers I always consider paint and colour options first. Paint is the simplest and in most cases the easiest way to change an item and give it new identity. Paint can be the beginning and the end with astonishing results, but it is most definitely not the only way.

upcycled cabinet

A couple of weeks ago I started experimenting with a technique that is relatively new to me; it involves collaging and decoupaging. The inspiration for this came from my recent trip to Croatia where I spotted and purchased a skirt that was made of different pieces of fabric that were all sewn together and dyed. At that point I didn’t know that that very skirt was going to change the way I work and see things.

patchwork skirt

Materials I use in the decoupaging process vary. I tend to use canvas paintings and fabric remnants that give the surface a new and interesting texture. I have also used paper and cross stitched cloth. What I find interesting is how the paintings I use do not have much aesthetic value when on their own, but once applied to the piece of furniture, adopt a new role and add a different dimension to the piece. This new line of furniture that is currently coming out of my studio also comes with a written message on it. Each of the pieces will have either a saying or a slogan on it, and this adds a touch of quirkiness and creates a contrast due to the old fashioned nature of the paintings.

words on cabinet

I am not sure how long this phase will last, but I am currently enjoying it tremendously! At the same time I am looking forward to see what or who will inspire my future work.

You can see more of Jelena’s wonderful work by visiting her website or on her Facebookpage!

Jelena Pticek

Jelena Pticek

Community User

Jelena is a Canadian artist who specialises in upcycling furniture. She was recently selected to be Annie Sloan's Painter in Residence, and is always on the hunt for inspiration for her latest pieces.