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Local retailer set to train with DIY guru
chalk paint
Lauren Camarata, pictured here with Annie Sloan in 2014, will once again meet the Chalk Paint creator when she travels to England to learn new and unique painting techniques from Sloan firsthand. - photo by Photo Contributed

Considered by many to be the leading authority on color, decorative paint and DIY makeovers, Annie Sloan is the woman who started the painted furniture revolution. This summer, Old French Trading Company owner Lauren Camarata will be travelling to England to train one-on-one with the painting expert, learning new and unique techniques from Sloan’s very own book of tricks.

Sloan, who will be hosting the week-long event in Oxford, is a prolific author and has written over 25 books on paint, color and décor. During her tenure as an author, she created Chalk Paint in 1991 after finding that there was nothing on the market specifically for furniture. Since arriving stateside in 2010, Chalk Paint has changed the course of the DIY industry, and there are now several social media sites specifically devoted to showcasing the thousands of projects completed with her brand of paint.

Camarata, whose business is the local retailer for Chalk Paint, has been involved with the product since 2011 after discovering how simple it was to paint with.

“Chalk Paint has a very unique set of properties that make it readily adhere to any surface you can find in your home or outside,” said Camarata. “You can paint cabinets, dining tables, bedroom furniture – all without priming, sanding or stripping.”

Camarata has managed Old French Trading Company in partnership with Vintage Market, a home furnishings retailer in downtown Turlock. The paint has flourished there for the past five years, bringing both business and a unique brand to the area.

Now, Camarata is one of 16 retailers chosen to spend a week in Oxford, England learning all aspects of the Annie Sloan Interiors brand, with a focus on painting techniques, fabric and design and décor applications. In order to be selected, Camarata submitted her name and shop to Sloan and it is her belief that she was selected because of her knowledge and experience with Chalk Paint. Joining Camarata on her nine-day stay will be retailers from all over the world, including Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Holland and Denmark.

While in England, Camarata and the other attendees will focus on learning new painting techniques, such as the Japanese painting process known as Shibori, used to dye fabric. Though Camarata has had the opportunity to meet Sloan at numerous paint conferences, this is the first time she will be able to learn from the color expert in such an intimate setting. She hopes to learn various color applications and new techniques for using the paint, she said, and is eager to bring what she learns back to Turlock with her.

“Spending a week with Annie, and learning directly from her, is an enormous opportunity to not only paint alongside her but to learn about color and why it matters in our home environments,” said Camarata. “I look forward to consulting and offering solutions to each customer who comes in our shop. I think I’m going to be able to expand what the customers will see when they come in, but also be able to offer new and innovative workshops where I can teach customers these special and unique techniques and processes.”

Once or twice a month, Camarata offers workshops that feature Chalk Paint and instructions on Sloan’s methods. She teaches everyone from beginners to advanced painters creative ways to use the paint for beautiful results in the home. Workshop times and dates can be found at or on the Old French Trading Company Facebook page.