Monday, July 11, 2011

An Artisan Inspiration: Alpha Workshops

Every once in a while, you run across an individual or company who did it right and for admirable reasons. Alpha Workshops is one such company.
The Alpha Workshops first came on my radar five or six years ago. Founded by Ken Wampler in 1995, "The Alpha Workshops is the only program in the United States that expressly trains people living with HIV/AIDS for work as decorative artists."* Alpha Workshops is also a non-profit design studio that is renowned for their hand-painted wallpapers, custom decorative painting, Venetian plaster and decorative finishes. They actually hire those they have trained.

6 foot tall leaves, carved and gilded, hanging in the Lifetime TV Technical Studios in NYC

Located in the Chelsea area of New York City, the studio offers a 10 week Basic Training course to six to ten people with HIV/AIDS. Many of the  trainees have no design or related work experience and come from a range of educational backgrounds. 

The Alpha Workshops logo

Their portfolio is impressive, having installed projects for the New York mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion, the ballroom at the Prince George Hotel, eBay, Jones Apparel Group and Origins cosmetics.  

Behind the scenes at Alpha Workshops- 
the various steps in creating wallpaper: 

Gilding, in the studio and on location:

Marbling on the table top

Verre eglomise (reverse-painted glass) in the Lifetime TV Technical Studios

Here are a few of their beautiful, textured and painted specialty wallpapers:

In the spring of 2011, Alpha Workshops teamed up with the esteemed wallpaper company, Thibaut, to present their machine-made Artisan Collection, costing significantly less than the handmade papers. The royalties will support Alpha Workshops activities.

Each one is gorgeous; I'd be hard-pressed to choose a favorite!

For further information, call 212-594-7320.
Alpha Workshops Studio School: Leonard or Randi

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  1. I am overwhelmed! What a brilliant collaboration...thank you so much for bringing this to our attention!

  2. Very interesting post, Ann!
    Thank you so much to give us all this detailed information, I've learned something!
    Best wishes for a sunny, not too hot, week and many greetings from Périgord,

  3. What Theresa said!! Great project!

  4. What a great program! The wallpaper is beautiful! Happy Monday! Angela and Renee

  5. Dear Ann,
    just came across your post on the Thibaut facebook page...
    fabulous post..
    and you are such a creative person yourself..
    love Thibaut, btw...

  6. Annie,
    Thank you for your kind words and informative article! If you have plans of being in New York please let me know so that I may arrange a tour of our studios and classrooms. Thank you again for your support of The Alpha Workshops!
    The Alpha Workshops
    Sales and Marketing Manager



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