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21 May 2016

My Past Stenciling Experience - A Personal Odyssey

As I was going through the posts that I have created since 2007 (and most of them were taken off the blog), I came across several posts which showed my past experience with the stencils before I start designing them for Stencil Girl Products.

Three posts were originally published on February 10, 2008 (Stencil Talk); March 12, 2008 (Stencil Talk II); and April 26, 2009 (Spray Paint Stencilry). I combined them into one post here and edited to make it more current:

I just wanted to talk about my humble beginnings with stencils - nothing fancy or fabulous to show you today. I was busy trying to get things done for several long distance trips as I was sorting and cleaning out the boxes and boxes of art supplies today. I finally found the stencils that I have been trying to find for several weeks. It was my first set of cardboard stencils (over 50 years old!), and I had wonderful memories of stenciling during my childhood.

Also, on another large table, I was going through piles and piles of stuff, and I came across a large manila envelope. It was my father's and I had forgotten that I inherited his collection of stencils dating back to late fifties - early sixties (~1958-1963). Several of the stencils came from a stencil manufacturer, Stenso, and I found its interesting history written by Jeffrey Levine in Larabie Fonts' website.
Front & Back of the Package - Note the price!!

And I also spent quite bit of time in my father's workshop, staring at the black stenciled last name. My father stenciled it on his square workbench, and it is still there. He also stenciled our last name on the trash cans as well.

And I found another artwork in the basement - I did it when I was a senior at my high school back in 1974. I actually created and cut the stencils for this artwork - the petals, leaves, and the vase.
The whole thing was done with tempura paints. I wish I could say that I did the whole thing by myself - the art teacher was not a patient person. He did the shading and the shadows on the vase.
Eleven years have passed by before I did the stenciling again. In 1985, my mom wants the decorative border stenciled in the living room, so I did that on two side walls (photo of one wall above). And I suggested stenciling on the door frame, too (photo below). The oil paint sticks and stiff stencil brushes were used in both projects.
And it was not until the fall of 2007 did I do more stencil work - in a class with Michelle Ward (spray paint techniques) at Valley Ridge Art Studio and later at home. A year later (2008), I started getting more serious about incorporating stencil techniques in my work.
Since some of the stencils can be very expensive especially the ones used for automotive paintings. One day, I was food shopping and I saw a laundry basket with holes of various sizes, and I fell in love with it so I bought it to be used as stencils (only $4.99!!)

I cut the side off with a box cutter - it's very soft but one does need to be careful when using a box cutter.

Inside of straight cutting, I scored the lines around the edges and then bend the edges down- they come right off.

An improvised stencil completed and ready to be used as stencil or template. I used this template to draw the circles in one of my journal pages (full page on the right side and close-up on the left side below).
About a year later (April 2009) I was taking Mary Ann Moss' on-line class, Pure Experimentation - Stencilry. The class already started three weeks later after I registered for it. For two days, I watched three weeks' worth of videos.

Although I was not able to hear what she said, I figured out the techniques just by watching. After watching the videos for too long, I decided to get up and get started despite the record temperature outside here in northern NJ (it was 96 degrees!).

I happened to have black foam core boards, and two buckets of spray paint. I can't remember where I put my stencils so I settled for the improvised stencils that were cut from the laundry baskets. Plus, I found the punched metal sheet in the garage.

I turned the foam core board over and did another background.

To make a portfolio for my future collage pieces done with stencils, I cut one piece and then cut it half. I should be using duct tape, but instead I used the packing tape with barbed wire. I love it!

It's pretty simple and sort of plain compared to other students' work, but I do plan to add more layers later in the near future. Here's the inside:

Today (May 21, 2016): By looking back, I can see how much I've grown and have amassed a good amount of experience and basic skills for stencil work. Over the years since the above posts were published, I have develop stencil design techniques on my own. They provided me the foundation for the design work that I did for Stencil Girl Products since the time I was at Penland School of Crafts back in 2010. In the near future, I will be writing more about how I came up with the stencil designs done for Stencil Girl Products. Stay tuned!


Unknown said...

Hi! Where did you find the laundry basket with holes of various sizes? I love it too! ")

Andrew said...

Hi Linda!

I bought it eight years ago at a local supermarket, and it's no longer available. I couldn't find it on-line, so my suggestion is to continue to look for it in various stores other than the supermarket.

Unknown said...

Okay, thank you! And thanks for such a quick response! :D