This is me at the heart of the most lovely family business, designed and created by the Iron Orchid Design sisters.

Jonathon & IOD family at the Elgin London Sept 2019

Here I am sitting on the sofa, with the beautiful Josie Celio and Sally Griswold, two gorgeous women who love all things vintage and DIY and, like me, grew up transforming second-hand finds into beautiful things for their home. Together they have created a wonderful brand of products – moulds, stamps and transfers – that showcase their own vision and passion for DIY transformation and also help hobbyist and professional painters find easy, creative ways to make heartfelt gifts and personal looks for their own home.

To Josie’s right, (your left as we look at the photograph) is Maddy, one of Josie’s daughters who also works in the business doing awesome administration and between them they absolutely spoilt me, looking after me and all their guests (a select group of existing and prospective UK stockists) SO incredibly well at a gorgeous informal September soiree held at The Elgin in London’s stylish Maida Vale.

Delicious burgers at The Elgin Maida Vale for IOD party

I was delighted to be asked to be part of their design team earlier this year and have loved playing with their existing designs – the IOD barnwood stamp I used to transform my workshop steps at The Loft in Caistor, birds, branches, blossoms decor stamps for a Chinoiserie style cabinet, using Saltwash to make wall art tiles with Cubano stamp and a teaching project in Germany where I combined a Saltwash barnwood top with the Midnight Garden transfer on a ombre one brush blend. I’ve linked all the projects in case you missed them and want to catch up on what’s always been possible with Iron Orchid Designs. And as I’d never met the girls, I was even more thrilled to be invited to headline this intimate evening with a select group of the UK’s most creative upcyclers and furniture refinishers pictured below.

Guests mix and mingle and IOD launch

So lovely to put faces to names of social media friends from the furniture painting world!

The event was utterly charming, hosted in a beautiful building, The Elgin that was very ‘us’ making the perfect for a creative event like this. Lots of interesting pieces, reclaimed and salvaged furniture and artwork, exposed beams and brickwork, low level ambient lighting and roomy loveworn nutty brown leather sofas for us to sink into sipping cocktails and putting the furniture painting world to rights.

Catching up over cocktails Jonathon Marc Mendes and Sally Griswold IODJosie and Jonathon put the furniture painting world to rights!

Because I’ve done so much traveling with my paintbrush in hand to demonstrate, teach and talk all over the world, I’m used to having schedules to meet and lists to tick off, but Josie and Sally are just so incredibly laid back and relaxed, with their experience of big family gatherings and generosity as hosts they really put everyone at their ease. I think everyone absolutely loved following their Instagram stories during the day and then finally watching Josie demonstrate how to use decor stamps to transform her brand new pair of Dr Martin boots!

I am a bit more of a traditionalist, so I was extremely grateful to pro painter Jules Waldren, from nearby vintage and paint shop Forget Me Nots for coming to the rescue at such short notice, painting and providing some furniture to the venue for us to demo on. What a super star!

Jonathon demos IOD at the Elgin with Sally and Maddy from IOD looking on

This intimate evening with the Iron Orchid Design sisters was the perfect place to launch their new autumn collection. The girls’ passion for their incredible products and the beauty and intricacy of their designs really wowed their audience as Josie revealed the beautiful new peacock design Pavo. Other new designs include Lady of Shallot – glorious blousy roses as well as Butterflies which all have so much potential and left everyone rather spellbound at the possibilities and keen to find out more.

Josie from IOD

Jonathon captures the ink on paint prints of IOD

If you’d like to see some more of my London trip and live video from the evening event you can catch up on my IOD Instagram stories. As billed, an evening with Iron Orchid at The Elgin, provided the perfect opportunity to introduce stockists to the new UK distributor Mandy Crossland from Chic Interiors in Wigan (pictured below).

Mandy and the IOD sisters

There was so much buzz and excitement about the range, the business opportunities and the wonderful people behind the brand and I feel really honoured to be part of it. I got to meet loads of wonderful people I’ve admired from afar and catch up with old friends as well as spend some time with my family in London and visit Focus 19 at Chelsea Harbour which you can also see on my stories. I even got to print my own piece of William Morris Wallpaper!

A notable thank you to these two beautiful and talented people above. Monika and Tom from 84 Square in Paignton for their creativity and kindness in sharing these wonderful photographs. Separately and together they do amazing creative things and are very much worth checking out.

Finally, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Josie, Sally and Maddy for inviting me to be part of such a special event. It really was a wonderful evening and an absolute pleasure to meet you. Here’s to seeing great things happen for you and your business in the UK. I look forward to trying out the amazing new inks when I get back in the workshop.

Just search my blog or Facebook page for my IOD inspiration. Join the Iron IOD Creative Tribe group to become part of the creative community.

You can find everything you need to know about Iron Orchid Designs right here.





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