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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Magic Wand Murals

A Spotlight on Nancy Illman
Nancy Illman has been painting interior murals for 25 years, and sees it as a healing modality.

“I do reiki and I paint walls, and in my mind, the two practices are closely aligned; they’re both ways I can enhance people’s enjoyment of their life. People think of art therapy as a creative method of expression, used as a therapeutic technique. Most people don’t realize, however, that there is tremendous therapeutic value in commissioning (custom) art, especially when that art transforms an intimate living space.”

Illman works with clients of all ages, but the projects she’s most passionate about are immersive murals on a child’s bedroom walls, because, she says “in most cases, the bedroom is the only space over which a child has any sense of dominion.”

“Executives have offices, chefs have kitchens, but a child generally spends their day in spaces controlled by adults, whether that is the classroom or the playing field, and then retreats to his room, where he will read, do homework, listen to music and entertain friends. It is also his private space in which to fall asleep, dream, wake up and get ready to face each new day.”

“Giving a child the opportunity to articulate their most heartfelt desires and to see them realized upon their walls is incredibly empowering.” she says. “I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that this experience and the room that results—can define a childhood. “ Illman calls her business Magic Wand Murals because it is the instrument, through which a child turns their private space into the room of their dreams, merely by uttering words, which is similar to how magic works.

“When I was four,” Illman recalls, “my parents purchased our family home. Soon after, my mother hired an interior designer. I was sitting at the kitchen table, drawing in a sketch pad with pink and orange crayons, and my mother complimented my artwork, saying it would make a beautiful wallpaper; she said we’d show it to the decorator. Later, when I got up from my nap, and joined their meeting, already in progress, I was devastated to learn that my ideas would not be integrated into my bedroom’s design. The two grown-ups chose a yellow and white gingham with a glossy white grapevine overlay, and over the next decade, my resulting sense of indignity and disappointment faded along with the wallpaper’s yellow ink.”

Years later, her mother went through the motions of consulting her a second time, as she pored over another book of wallpapers and selected a design that did not reflect her taste, with the rationalization that Illman would soon be headed off to college. As a result, Illman’s room became an even less pleasant space in which to dwell.

“So, my plea to parents is this: please, don’t be like my mother,” implores Illman. “Give your child the opportunity to collaborate with me on an amazing bedroom that they will feel great about and love to be in!”

To contact Nancy Illman, call 513-259-4842, email [email protected] or visit

July 2021


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