In about 1993 I was shopping in the west end of London and ‘window gazing’ in an arcade off Picadilly. I noticed some very attractive pen pots with hunting scenes. I was amazed at the high prices being asked for such items. I decided to have a go at reproducing the pen pots. I made several and some letter racks and covered them with prints. I didn’t know about découpage at that time. As a surprise birthday present, my son enrolled me in The National Guild of Découpeurs based in USA. They informed me that there was a Guild of British Découpeurs. I promptly joined in 1994 and got further involved in this fascinating art becoming President of the Guild from 1997 till 2002.
Whilst I have always enjoyed doing various art related activities. I think découpage was a useful contrast to my career as a London Firefighter and provided an ideal, non stressful alternative. I remember well attending my first GBD. meeting. I took a couple of pieces I had done but left them in my car, not having the confidence that they were good enough to show to others. I have attended five NGD. Conventions in various US. cities and enjoyed not only the many workshops but also the numerous friendships that were forged at these wonderful events. I am privileged to still maintain many of these friendships to this day. The generous sharing of découpage knowledge and techniques by these talented US. découpeurs have enabled me to gain enormous satisfaction from this challenging, fulfilling and enjoyable art form, which still holds as much fascination for me to day as ever it did.
Amongst many memorable occasions that découpage has has provided me with, most notable was being invited by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to take a ‘Beginners Course’, on behalf of the British Guild, which proved particularly rewarding because as a schoolboy I remember the V & A. as being my favourite of all the London Museums. I have twice been privileged to attend ‘Découpage Italia’s’ annual Convention being invited to both to take workshops and join their judges in accessing work submitted for certification. On both occasions I was very impressed by the quantity and high quality of the découpage I saw and by the friendly and welcoming attitude of the Italian découpeurs.
Over the years I have been very fortunate to have met some wonderful découpage artists from many countries and I continue to keep in touch with many of them and enjoy exchanging views and opinions upon découpage and other associated art forms.