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From Habitat magazine - issue 09

Artist Marcia Scott uses an unusual yet practical canvas for her colourful artworks.

Marcia Scott
Stool artist: Marcia Scott on one of her creations.

After two decades of creating artworks for walls, Marcia Scott decided she wanted a new type of canvas. “I wanted something that would be simple and functional and have lots of space for decoration,” says the Hamilton artist and mother of two young children.

She came up with the concept of a stool which, at 500mm tall, also works well as a little table. “I like to think of them as artworks for the floor.”

The sturdy design was perfected with the help of a local draughtsman. All four side panels slot together, and two of them also slot into the top. Two strong narrow straps lock the whole assemblage into place.

The panels are laser-cut by a local joinery firm, and undercoated and sanded by Marcia, and then the fun begins!

What begins as an image in Marcia’s head will be transferred to her work book, with notes and sketches specifying which colours and patterns will adorn each panel. Almost every stool has a different pattern on each of its five panels; some versions are bursting with contrasting colours and patterns, while others are texturally busy but have the same colourway all over, so appear more sedate!

The panels of each stool are visually grounded thanks to a base coat of one solid colour; her characteristic rich patterns are created by painting through stencils she cuts from cardboard.

Stool art
While many of her stools are one-offs, Marcia works with some stockists to create a particular colourway and pattern exclusively for that store.

Detailed plan notwithstanding, the design will often change once she starts work and sees how it’s coming together.

“I might decide to use two or three different patterns on one panel instead of just one, or maybe whack in some upholstery nails to jazz a stool up.”

While many of her stools are one-offs, Marcia has also worked with some of her stockists to create a particular colourway and pattern exclusively for that store, and she repeats those as orders come in.

She says she loves all colours (“but I don’t really do yellow!”) and being able to work with testpots of Resene paint means that she can have dozens of options on hand at any one time.

“I especially love teals and taupes and chocolates. They’re awesome colours because they’re rich and interesting in themselves, but they still work beautifully with other colours.”

It’s not unusual for Marcia to go through 25 or more testpots in a couple of days, so she’s a regular visitor to her local Resene ColorShop.

She happily admits that the colours she has at home are in no order whatsoever. This means the excitement of rediscovering long-forgotten colours, and the irritation of “spotting the name of the colour I need... only to find I had at some stage added a wee bit of something else to tweak the shade slightly!”

Life is busy, and finding time and space to work on the stools can be tricky. As well as a preschooler and a child at primary school, Marcia has a part-time job; and her ‘studio’ is a combination of the garage, the kitchen table and the outside table. But her unique blend of flexibility and focus makes it all possible.

“I’m a real ‘now’ kind of person – if I suddenly get an idea, I just can’t help myself, I just have to execute it ASAP. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t!! Then I wait for the next wave of experimentation to wash over me.”

Marcia’s colourful stools are sold through retailers nationwide: Eon Design Centre, Auckland; King and Teppett, Hamilton; Staple Furniture, Gisborne; Madder & Rouge, Wellington; Redcurrent, Christchurch; In The Pink, Queenstown.

words: Alice Leonard
pictures: Mark Heaslip

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.