1 causing distress or worry or anxiety; "distressing (or disturbing) news"; "lived in heroic if something distressful isolation"; "a disturbing amount of crime"; "a revelation that was most perturbing"; "a new and troubling thought"; "in a particularly worrisome predicament"; "a worrying situation"; "a worrying time" [syn: distressful, disturbing, perturbing, troubling, worrisome, worrying]
2 bad; unfortunate; "my finances were in a deplorable state"; "a lamentable decision"; "her clothes were in sad shape"; "a sorry state of affairs" [syn: deplorable, lamentable, pitiful, sad, sorry]
- present participle of distress
Distressing in the decorative arts is the activity of making a piece of furniture or object appear aged and older, and there are many methods to produce an appearance of age and wear. Distressing is viewed as a refinishing technique although it is the opposite of finishing in a traditional sense. In distressing, the object's finish is intentionally destroyed or manipulated to look less than perfect, such as with sandpaper or paint stripper. For example, the artisan often removes some but not all of the paint, leaving proof of several layers of paint speckled over wood grain underneath. This becomes the "finished" piece.
Distressing has become a popular design style and decorative art form. The artisan attempts a rustic, attractive, one-of-a-kind appearance or vintage look. The final appearance is often called the patina.
Distressing can be applied to a variety of surfaces and materials such as wood, glass, metal, plastic and paint. The Shabby chic style has made both distressing and antiquing popular.
Antiquing is a more involved form of distressing where the artisan intends to not only age a piece, but also create an antique appearance.
In addition to distressing the finish, the artisan may reapply historical paint colors, antique-like faux finish and crackle varnishes. They might also apply period accent details, such as antique knobs on dresser drawers.
Several methods involve glazes in which colors blend into crevices to give an antique appearance. The antiquing process is time-consuming and normally requires many steps to obtain the appearance of an aged and worn finish.
In the mass-produced furniture market, it is common for 'distressing' to include faux woodworm holes. These can easily be distinguished from real woodworm holes (as might be present on a genuine antique) as faux woodworm holes will usually be all of identical diameter and vertical into the wood. Genuine woodworm holes, on the other hand, would be of varying diameter and usually not perfectly vertical.
TechniquesThe artisan may deliberately sand, dent, and scrape the finish off of furniture or object. Wood can be hammered softer, or dimpled, bleached, pickled, stained or repainted with crackling paints and varnishes. Antiquing paints and varnishes are available at craft stores or can be mixed at home. New layers of paint can be watered down before they are applied to allow the wood and other layers to show through or to look more like white washing. Layers of paint of varnishes can be sponged on to create an uneven pattern. After any new paint or layers are applied, the corners and features can be painted slightly lighter or sanded down as desired to appear worn. In addition, the following antiquing techniques can be used:
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