Dresser LOTUS – Part 1 – Looking for Modern ‘Oriental’ Style in Furniture

I apologize some 2 billion people in South-East Asia for the word ‘oriental’ as it is no longer politically correct and sounds ‘colonial’, but I needed this term to geographically place the style I was going to achieve for my next piece of furniture, the ‘Lotus’ dresser. The alternative names could be Buddhist, Meditative, Eastern, Mandala, but none of those words actually fitted as good as ‘oriental’ which sounded more universal to me.

My daughter Izabela had decorated her room to something like the eclectic oriental style and she had two solid pine chests of drawers – small and large. My task was simple – decorate the furniture to the style of the room. I knew I needed some kind of an Eastern ornament, ideally gold, some red accents, and probably a dark background. For reference, I picked an on-line stock art image depicting the Thai Art lotus pattern. I only needed to simplify this form and convert it into vector work so that it could be printed out, cut out, and used as a stencil. When I looked at the numerous folds and mouldings on the drawers to be painted, I understood that a self-adhesive stencil is out of the question on this project. I was left with only one option – old fashion hand painting using an analog brush. Luckily, it was the middle of the Covid pandemic lockdown, I was furloughed from my job, so I had plenty of time for this meditative work. You can see the initial visuals below.

I did the design work as usual in the Illustrator programme. It was basically drawing the front elevation of the dresser to scale, tracing over the jpg lotus image with vector lines, and setting the graphic to the right colour, proportion, and position.

Someone said that preparation is everything. I agree so I always sand my furniture down before painting. I usually use a large orbital sander. Edges and small elements are best done just by hand sanding and if there is no access to details then a liquid sander is a solution. I bought and use Polycell Liquid Sanding. I have no experience with other brands yet so can’t comment which liquid sander is best. I have noticed the Polycell product is hardly available nowadays, but people also use a substitute product Klean-Strip Quart Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser, so you can try this one. I decided that all internal faces would not be decorated but left as they are in a timber finish.

Check out my next post to see how the painting worked out.

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