Guest post by my husband David Murrow
It took us three years and more hurdles than you want to know, but Paint a Scarf finally has its patent.
Gina and I invented the world’s first upright, multi-position fabric painting rack. We were awarded US Patent 10,137,726 on November 27, 2018.
The patent is important if we ever decide to expand or franchise our business. (Our planned nationwide expansion is on hold)
We didn’t set out to be inventors. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Paint a Scarf could not exist without our patented painting rack.
Here’s how it came to be:
Like most silk artists Gina learned to paint on a rack that lays flat. The rack is supported on a table, and you work hunched over the silk. It’s a pain in the neck (literally).
When we began dreaming up Paint a Scarf in 2012 we quickly realized our living room and deck would only be able to accommodate 4 painters if the racks were to lay flat.
David: So why don’t we stand the rack upright?
Gina: We can’t. The paint would run and blend together.
Gina was skeptical, but intrigued. So she took one of her racks and leaned it up against the wall. She started blending colors on the silk. In about 30 minutes a gorgeous scarf appeared! We had discovered a painting method that was quicker, easier and “funner” than any other system she’d ever tried.
So she sent me out to the garage with some measurements and a stack of PVC pipe and said, “Invent!”
Version 1 (2013) of the rack was a round-corner rectangle supported by a single, non-detachable leg. It worked OK but it was tippy, and the legs kept the rack from lying flat for transport.
Version 2 (2014) had detachable legs (we still have these in Alaska) but it was still tippy, especially on uneven ground. It relied on rubber bands to hold the silk suspension hooks, and these were constantly breaking.
Our “Eureka” Design
Version 3 (2016) was the giant leap forward. We squared and extended the corners, shortened the legs and introduced a separate prop leg. Version 3 folds completely flat and can be used in five different positions: upright, flipped, flat (like a table) kneeling (like a table with one leg down) and on its side. We also introduced hook and loop (Velcro) so the silk can be tightened as you paint. This is the design we still use in Alaska.
Version 4 (2018) is a minor upgrade, using fewer connectors and a solid rectangle architecture to stiffen the frame. We use this design in Arizona.
Version 5 (2020) will be made of aluminum and will feature lasers and warp drive (just kidding).
Our patented painting rack is what makes Paint a Scarf so unique. Upright painting is easier on the body and more sociable. It takes up less space. Being able to flip the rack helps the paint blend. Tabling and kneeling make it easy to apply salt. (Painters with disabilities also appreciate the table position).
So the next time you come to Paint a Scarf, ask to see our patented painting rack.