Elise Parker, founder of The Painted Brush & Co. has just set up an amazing shop in the old Bank of New South Wales building which was previously the Grange Gallery, on the corner of Victoria and High Streets, Eaglehawk.
When we visited Elise in early July, the gallery shop had been open for just over a week and the response had been amazing. It’s better than what Elise had expected.
Elise has fostered a love affair with timber and furniture design from an early age. She was enthusiastic about her woodwork class at high school and this passion continued into her adult life. She remembers designing and building bits and pieces in wood, and using her mum and dad’s leftover house paint to decorate her creations.
“The bug got me and I didn’t stop. I just kept going”
Before moving to Bendigo, Elise was studying in Melbourne to become a
primary school teacher, but plans changed as life took a turn. During that time, Elise’s husband introduced her to hard rubbish and they started going out every weekend unearthing some amazing pieces. Elise started painting furniture to make some extra money and although it took twelve months to sell her first piece she was hooked.
These days Elise sources old furniture from op shops and auction houses as well as eBay and Facebook. When she goes to Melbourne she always does a bit of a search and stops off at multiple places to buy items. “Auction houses are definitely one of my favourite places, you can pick up some really great bargains”.
Elise has been in Bendigo for five years now, living in Eaglehawk, and loving the community spirit. She took a big gamble and put all of their savings into starting her business stocking furniture paints and
finishes and selling them online. “It sort of spiralled out of control. They say it takes three years in this industry to get somewhere and I did it in under six months”.
“The business became quite large very quickly”
Elise had been looking for over two years for the right space to house her business and when the old bank building came up for lease she jumped at it. She had always envisaged her business to be in a warehouse styled space and the bank was perfect – it was meant to be.
Elise is extremely selective in the pieces that she paints and only has a few items in the gallery at any one time. She paints to showcase the products and unleash her creativity “Restoration with creative license”. Work from other local furniture artists in different styles are showcased in the gallery displaying the many techniques and products that are available. Elise also showcases a selection of other artists throughout the studio.
“I’m very forthcoming with my knowledge…I like to teach and I like
to see somebody creating something”
Elise plans to offer workshops in a variety of formats so that everyone has an opportunity to learn about the products, techniques and discover their creativity. These will include group based introduction workshops, one on one and social gathering paint & sip workshops. There’s lots of plans for the future.
If you are considering having a go at the art of furniture painting, Elise has this advice:
“Go for it. It’s only paint. It can be removed”.