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Lesley Hogg’s interest in fabric painting started many years ago, but increasing dissatisfaction with fabric paints that were available led to frustration. The paint were in awkward containers, and did not give good coverage. Most people would have just thrown their hands up and tried something else, but not Lesley!
Lesley turned to hubby, Ray for help and advice and soon a range of fabric paints were mixed that did just what she wanted.
From there on there was no turning back and it became not only a passion, but also a way of life. Because Lesley was so confident in the new paints, she decided, “This must go into the market place“. Their range of ”Creative Image Paints” was then launched through haberdashery stores country wide. Reaction initially was sluggish, but Lesley and Ray decided to add attraction to the paint by offering a weekend free session to teach people how to use the paints. They realized that a lot of people are reluctant to try a new craft because they believe that they “are not artistic”, which is totally untrue people just have to be taught the right techniques.
A key element in Lesley’s teaching is the layering and colouring techniques (shade and shape) used in classes. This way, the feathers of a bird do indeed look like the feathers, and the fur of a cat looks just like the fur of a cat!
Soon the groups attending the classes were getting bigger and bigger as students were telling their friends about the Hogg’s and their unique way of teaching. What began as a monthly free lesson, progressed to a daily session of six to ten women. As soon as students realized that the process was far easier than they envisaged, they were back for more.
Students find that no drawing skills are necessary, as pictures are traced through a lightbox (a key element in the process) directly onto the fabric. The inherent colour appreciation of the student is then translated into pictures of animals, flowers and other designs-an endless list.
As students become more proficient, their needs also become more demanding, with the result that the range of paints has now also increased to over 90 colours. These include plain colours, pearl colours, fluorescents, glitters as well as glue.
As Lesley’s student numbers were increasing, and coming from increasingly further a field, the Creative Image Craft Painting Studio Franchise was formed.
These studio's are supplied with everything necessary for the running of successful classes. The franchisee is given intensive training, covering both the running of classes as well as the running of a small business, help with the design and layout of their new school, access to a mailing list for marketing purposes, fully prepared lessons and designs, stock, lightboxes, stationery and if course, most importantly, backup.
The concept has proven to be so popular, that to date 60 franchises have opened up around the country, as well as in Mauritius, with each franchisee having their own group of enthusiastic students. When we visited one of the studio's, we met a group of ladies enjoying a morning class. Each was doing a design of their own, and the results were really impressive, considering that not one of the students had previously considered themselves to be “arty”.