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Allison Chapman says she loves being creative. So much so that if something catches her eye, she sets out to recreate it herself.
The Westville, N.S. woman says a lot of her skills were developed while working with her father as a teenager. They would spend time stripping paint and sanding furniture. Then, in her late 20s, Chapman decided to go back to school to take the cabinet making class at her local Nova Scotia Community College, where she says she gained most of her knowledge.
After graduation, Chapman registered her own business and started sub-contracting herself out using her father’s woodworking shop. Instead of just paint stripping and sanding for him, she put her newfound skills to disassemble, repair, paint strip, sand, stain, finish and re-assemble various furniture items. She also builds items from scratch.
“I mostly enjoy sticking to the refinishing and repairing,” says Chapman.
So, for the last year and a half, Chapman has operated Allison’s Fine Furnishing, where she specializes in furniture refinishing, repairing, and offering custom-built home décor and hand-made items.
When she has the time, Chapman says she likes to try to make wooden art, especially wooden mosaics. This is where she really gets to use her creativity as she tries to recreate things that catch her eye.
Making these mosaics, she says, is more like a hobby. She sells them at art shows and markets from time to time or directly on her Facebook page. She has also made a few custom mosaics for customers.
Besides refinishing furniture for people, the most popular thing she makes seems to be her mountain mosaics.
Her main focus, however, is refinishing and repairing furniture. This is her full-time endeavour.
The furniture she repairs and refinishes belongs to customers. But occasionally she will refinish and sell her own pieces.
To work on her pieces, Chapman says she sources the chemical materials, such as lacquers, stains, and paint strippers, from a company in Halifax. The wood she uses to build with or that she uses in her art is a combination of rough lumber bought from local mills. Occasionally, she will get it from the hardware store or use recycled wood.
Chapman says the most interesting thing she has made was a coffee table she refinished for a friend. The friend had requested a mosaic to replace the previous inlay and it was then sealed in an epoxy resin.
“It was very beautiful and the first project I made using epoxy resin,” says Chapman.
When trying to decide what she will make next, Chapman says sometimes her inspiration comes from something she has seen on TV, or in a photo. Or her inspiration could come from a colour scheme she thinks looks beautiful. Then, she sets about trying to recreate using a mosaic.
However, most of her mosaics were spur of the moment creations.
She says people that really like her art sometimes ask her to recreate mosaics using specific colours.
In the future, Chapman says she would like to continue doing what she is doing when it comes to her business.
“It is small and simple,” she says. For now, she enjoys working alongside her father in his woodworking shop.
“I suppose someday I’ll be all on my own. That’s as far as my plans go for now,” she says.
Anyone wishing to see Allison’s Fine Furnishings, can do so through her Facebook page. This is where she posts the items she currently has for sale. Here, you can also see the before and after photos from her furniture makeovers.
“I post pictures when I remember to take before and after pictures,” she says. “I am often so eager to get jobs done that I forget about snapping the before photos.”
She can be found on Facebook under Allison’s Fine Furnishing.