I've had a blast playing with these new designs - check out some of the work I've been doing and then, if you're interested, scroll down for more background and history on the patterns I've included in these stencils.
The background behind these designs come from my life-long and deep-seated fascination with other cultures. I’ve been blessed to have many opportunities to travel and most of my artwork and product designs are influenced in some way by places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit or by other parts of the world that inspire me. My inspiration for this month’s stencils comes from Mali. I love the variety of African tribal symbols and I also have a fascination with textiles in general. Quite a few years ago, I discovered Bogolanfini – usually referred to as mud-cloth, which perfectly merges both of those subjects.
The word bogolanfini can be literally translated to “mud-cloth.” (Bogolan means something made by using mud and fini means cloth.) This traditional Malian art, central to Bamana culture, has two main parts in the process of creation. First, men weave the cotton cloth strips which are then sewn together to make the surface that will be decorated by the women using a complicated resist process that includes plant extracts and mud. The designs painted on the cloths are beautifully graphic, but also have symbolic significance. Young women learn this visual language from their mothers over the course of many years. The motifs that make up this language of symbols are usually abstract or semi-abstract representations of everyday objects. When they’re used together, they can be the visual expression of a song, share a message, or represent an historical event.
The Bogolanfini that we see in America is often made for tourists – usually it’s a little less refined and often features only a single pattern and / or color on the cloth. Authentic mud-cloth usually has multiple different patterns and can also incorporate several colors. I’ve referenced some traditional patterns and symbols to create these stencils but designed them to try and make them work for the way that I like to make art and to be more easily used for cards or tags, art journal borders and backgrounds, or to make collage fodder or even embroidery patterns. Some of the symbols that I’ve represented in these stencils include a spindle, a farmer’s sickle, wealth and luxury, a woman’s cushion or pillow, “brave and fearless,” and several others. Some are purely decorative, but all were inspired by actual samples of authentic Bogolanfini.
Because these patterns are so heavily associated with textiles, I’ve used them to make stenciled fabrics, turned one of those fabrics into an embroidery pattern and stitched over it (that will eventually get used as part of another project,) used them with air-dry clay to make flat, lightweight tokens that I can use in my work, as well as handmade clay beads, and also lots of different types of collage papers. I’ve used these elements in several projects, including a handmade mini art journal (about 1-1/2” x 2-1/2” pages) where I stenciled the fabrics and tape on the cover as well as all of the pages inside the book so that the backgrounds are all ready for me to add more layers. I also combined some of the fabric, papers, and clay elements in a mixed media piece, and the project for my video lesson that’s available only to StencilClub members features lots of stenciled papers for collage.
I’m so excited to finally be able to use and share these new stencils – I hope you love them and if you aren’t already a member of StencilClub, make sure to sign up by August 14th to get them shipped to you on the 15th (and to get access to the video mini workshop that includes a downloadable PDF!)
Looking for even more background and inspiration? You can check out the intro video I filmed for StencilGirl where I show and talk about the stencils, samples, some inspiration, and even more ideas for using them.
It's been a while and my poor blog has been neglected, but that doesn't mean things haven't been just as busy, if not more so, than ever!
Today I want to highlight my latest free tutorial on the StencilGirl blog as well as two upcoming online class opportunities (which will be my last classes in 2021.)
First up, 5 Step Collage Fodder... with stencils!
In my latest Paint & Texture column on the StencilGirl blog, I'm sharing how I used paint with my stencils for 5 quick and easy steps to collage fodder. I'm also showing how I used my resulting pieces to complete this fun mini art journal spread.
Second, I have a stand-alone live online class coming up this Saturday, October 23rd. Wrap & Roll is happening in partnership with my local store, Artistic Artifacts. The pre-class video is already done and archived in group, but there's still time to join in for the class!
Registration will be close before the live class begins on Saturday. If you can't make the live but are interested in the class, be sure to sign up - the videos will both be archived and available indefinitely, but as of right now there are no plans to allow signups after the class has begun. There are lots of fun ideas and techniques, so I hope you'll join us! Class is Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm eastern time.
Last but definitely not least, I'm excited to be one of the participating artists in Gratitude Junk Journal 2021! This is a great opportunity to join in and learn from 14 different artists as we share how we document things we're grateful for in our art journals (plus, you'll learn how to turn an ordinary notebook into a fab junk journal!)
Here's a peek at all of the amazing artists participating in this year's class:
And... a little sneak at the project that I'm sharing in my lesson (which is almost an hour long!)
Need a little extra incentive? The course is only $69 to start, but if you sign up between now and October 31st, you can get 20% off when you use the code JOY2021 at checkout.
I'm excited to have two fun announcements to share today!
First up, I'm thrilled to have three more deeply etched rubber stamp sets from PaperArtsy now available... EGL19, EGL20, and EGL21.
EGL19 is my Build-A-Collage - Birds set... I designed this with the idea that you could have all of the elements you need in a single stamp set to create collaged ATCs, cards, tags, or mini journal spreads. Or you have some quick and easy elements that you can mix in with other projects (like my tutorial projects that were part of this release.)
I spent a few hours stamping on a variety of papers and then coloring and cutting them out, and now I have a little container full of pieces that I can draw from and quickly add into my projects. I used those prepped pieces to make three ATCs in just 30 minutes!
My EGL20 set is my "Tribal Patches" set and was inspired by beaded and embroidered Kuchi patches from Central Asia, Banjara patches from India, and Hmong stars from Thailand. I thought it would be wonderful to have those beautiful patterns and the sense of detail without the bulk for when I want to work in a journal or other flat projects.
EGL21 is the last set for this release and it's my Labels & Numbers set. This is the latest addition to what I call my "Gwenified" basics... super versatile shapes and images that can be used in lots of ways but with my own personal flair added in. I love just having a whole bunch of stamped and cut labels at the ready and, as you can see, I went a bit nuts with the samples for this set!
I also have two projects combining all three sets and each of them has a photo tutorial over on the official release post on the PaperArtsy blog.
That's it for the stamp release... I hope you're as excited to use these as I am! And don't forget to head over to the PaperArtsy blog for the full release with more background on each set, more photos, and the two project tutorials.
Next up is the announcement for my latest online workshop, Bits & Pieces. This will be a live online class in partnership with Everything Scrapbook & Stamps, so if you're interested, make sure to sign up in advance... you can watch the class on replay if you can't join live (as often as you want!) but registration will close before the live begins.
Bits & Pieces will be held on Saturday, August 7th at 1pm eastern time.
(Or, go straight to registration.)
Just popping in with a heads up that my most recent quarterly Paint & Texture column on the StencilGirl blog is live today! This month I'm sharing how you can use printmaking and stencils for quick, easy, and deceptively simple layered mixed media art.
Products from this project...
It seems like just yesterday that I was typing up the post announcing my last stamp release in February and at the same time, it feels like it's been forever that I've been waiting to share; this round of stamp designs was done and submitted for production in early December of last year. But it's finally time to let this particular cat out of the bag!
This month I'm thrilled to be sharing a few super versatile new sets in my new release with PaperArtsy - an alphabet and vintage transportation tickets and accents along with, at long last, peacocks!
You can see the entire reveal post with more photos of the samples, lots more background information, and a project tutorial over on the PaperArtsy blog. But in the meantime, here are a few of the things I've been working on to prepare for the big reveal.
First up, a few projects using EGL16, my new hand-drawn Art Deco inspired alphabet and number set (with a great frame that works to create a monogram with any of the letters or numbers or that you can use as a design element.) I really wanted to show how you can create with just this set and still have some great versatility for making different backgrounds as well as titles.
Next up is a group of stamps that I'm extremely excited about... EGL17 features 12 designs; seven of which are based on vintage or antique tickets from around the world. I pulled some of my favorite vintage and antique tickets from my collection of ephemera, specifically from countries where I've visited and ridden a train, bus, or subway, and drew my own versions. Yes, you read that right - all of the designs, down to the tiniest letters and numbers, are hand-drawn.
I wanted to draw my own versions to customize them and put my own hand in each element of the set. To complement the tickets I included five accent stamps - two are registration type marks that you can layer on your tickets in a different color of ink. I added some floral elements as well which I thought would be fun embellishments on or overlapping the tickets or great elements used on their own.
Think travel scrapbooking or travel journals, bullet journaling, mixed media, bon voyage cards, and more.
Here you can see just how realistic the tickets look when they're stamped! I also used them to make my own set of jumbo reinforcement-style stickers to create accents for some of the sample projects in this release. Those might be one of my favorite things that I've made so far.
Next up, EGL18 - peacocks! I know those who know me are probably wondering what took me so long... 17 other stamp sets before the peacocks made their appearance! But I wanted to do the idea justice; I'm glad I waited.
This set is based on Indian woodblock designs with my own patterns and twists added in. As you can see here, I've used them for mixed media artwork, an embroidered embellishment (which will likely end up on a journal cover,) and also a heavily embroidered and beaded piece that I turned into a brooch.
To wrap up the samples for this release I combined all three sets on these two mixed media Art Cards and put together a step-by-step tutorial (which is over on the PaperArtsy blog) to walk you through how you can create this type of project yourselves.
You can translate the steps and techniques to handmade greeting cards, tags, art journal pages, or even scrapbook layouts.
I'm thrilled with this release and the versatility of the designs as well as how well they mix in with my previous stamp sets and also with my stencil designs. I can't wait to incorporate these into upcoming workshop projects and to continue to create and share. Of course I'm doubly excited to see what you all create with these new stamps! So make sure to tag me with your creations so I can see.
In the meantime, be sure to hop over to the PaperArtsy blog for my full release post as well as the tutorial for the Art Cards using all three of the new sets.
Products from this post...
POSCA Pencil - 36 Count Colored Pencil Set
It's that time again... my quarterly Paint & Texture column is up over on the StencilGirl blog. This month I'm using my Boho Faces stencil with paint and stitching to show how thread (and a few beads, of course,) is a great way to add texture to your artwork. Head on over and check it out! I've got a free photo tutorial showing how the painted and embroidered face focal point came together.
And if you like this project, you may also be interested in my next Live online class, Make a Statement - it's this Saturday, April 24th, at 1pm Eastern time (but you can watch the archived version at any time as long as you register in advance.) The samples are mixed media statement jewelry, but you can just create the components and use them for other projects if jewelry isn't your thing. Hope to see you there!
Products for this tutorial:
Boho Blends - Embossing Powder from Gwen Lafleur & Emerald Creek
$5.99 - $16.49
It's Topflight Stamps 4th birthday! I'm joining in the celebration along with a group of fabulous designers to share handmade birthday cards that showcase many of the unique products available at Topflight Stamps (including my stamps and embossing powders!) I hope you'll enjoy my cards and tutorial and then continue to hop along with us to see the variety of fantastic products from this talented bunch. (And make sure to stick around to the end to find out how you can win a gift card.) Updated... winner is on the bottom of the post!
If you're following in order then you should have arrived here from Rachel Greig's blog, but if not - no worries! Get the full list of participants and links to their blogs at the bottom of this post.
For my contribution I've used my stamps from PaperArtsy and my Boho Blends embossing powders from Emerald Creek to make a pair of mixed media birthday cards.
I put together a little tutorial to show you how I made these and which products I used to achieve the various effects. Ready to get started?
Step 1: I started out with Neenah Extra Heavy folded cards and used Lavinia Acetate Circle Masks along with Prism dye ink from Hunkydory and a blender brush to put down three circles of ink on the front of my card.
Step 2: I traced the Lavinia masks onto plain copy paper and cut out the circles to create masks for my stamps (the acetate masks will work too, but they're a bit thicker and so it creates a bigger gap between the stamp and the edge of the circle when you stamp over the mask. The thickness of the acetate is perfect for inking, though.)
I laid the paper masks over top and matched them up with the inked areas, then used designs from my different PaperArtsy stamp sets, stamping repeatedly, to fill the inked circles with pattern. (The set in the photo is my EGL10 set - Japanese Patterns. I also used EGL11 - Suzani Florals as well as my new EGL13 set, Botanical Illustrations.) I stamped with a combination of the Prism Dye Ink Pads as well as Hero Arts Ombré pads.
Step 3: I took the Prism Glimmer Mist in Glamour Gold and instead of spraying, I opened the bottle and used the tube for the sprayer as a skewer and drew rough outlines around my circles with the gold ink.
Step 4: I used bits of washi tape along the edges (two of the designs by Tracy Evans for AALL & Create) and then cut circles from the Colorful Circles washi from l'Encre et l'Image and adhered them onto the card (I used a glue stick since handling them during cutting takes away a lot of the stickiness.)
Step 5: For each of the cards, I chose one of the frames from my new EGL14 (Ornate Frames) stamp set and stamped on watercolor paper with embossing ink and then used some of my Boho Blends embossing powders to heat emboss the images. (For this piece I used Kano Green and Moroccan Sun.)
Step 6: I added sentiments to the birthday cards by using a small alphabet set to stamp my words, then I cut out my frames and edged them with more Prism ink (I used Smoked Paprika here) and then adhered them onto the card with Hunkydory Finger Lift Double-Sided tape.
Step 7: To finish, I added some self-adhesive rhinestones (Hunkydory Diamond Sparkles Glitter Gemstones - Gold Sparkles) onto the main frame to highlight my stamped sentiment and then just used a regular pen to scribble borders and add a few marks.
Voilà! Completed mixed media birthday cards. I love the look of layering ink, stamping, embossing, and washi tape all mixed together to highlight the celebratory sentiments and I'm excited to have these ready and waiting for the next time I need a birthday card :)
I hope you enjoyed both the cards and the tutorial... here are a few more close-ups so you can see both of the completed cards.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday celebration without prizes! Topflight Stamps is giving one lucky winner a $100 Gift Certificate to the store!
But wait, there's more. Each stop on the hop has an additional $25 Gift Certificate up for grabs for some lucky commenter. For a chance to win, make sure to visit every stop on the blog hop and leave a comment by March 29th. Winners will be announced on the Topflight Stamps blog on March 31st.
Updated with the winner - congratulations to Mary Herman!
Please contact me or Topflight Stamps to get the code for your $25 gift certificate.
If you want to follow along and see all of the posts in the hop (and comment on each to enter to win one of the gift certificates!) here's the list of participating designers:
I'm excited to share that today I'm releasing three new rubber stamp sets with PaperArtsy. This release includes EGL13 (Botanical Illustrations,) EGL14 (Ornate Frames,) and EGL15 (Tribal Fish.) Flowers, Frames, and Fish!
All of the stamps in these collections came from my sketchbook and were inspired by my travels, a few treasured items in my apartment, and my love of flowers and foliage.
Below you can check out my samples with each of the new collections and then head over to the official release post on the PaperArtsy blog to get more details and background for each set.
There's also a tutorial for a project that features all three stamp sets - although these may not seem like they go together, I had this concept in my head from the moment I began designing them and I'm thrilled with how well it worked in practice.
You can head over to the PaperArtsy blog to see more details for each project and to get the full tutorial.
Shop the new stamps...
I'm excited to share that I'm the February 2021 designer for StencilClub by StencilGirl!
My Feathered Tribe collection of stencils is available exclusively to members of StencilClub. It comes with three stencils - a 9" x 12" with three birds perched on branches with flowers and leaves, a 6" x 6" stencil with three funky patterned feathers, and a 4" x 4" stencil with four different patterns in a grid with arrows.
As a lifelong bird lover, (inherited from my mother and her parents,) I love to incorporate birds in my artwork. For this set of stencils I paired them with global and tribal influences from my travels - both real and imaginary.
You can check out my introductory video to learn more about the inspiration behind each stencil and see some of the samples I created with them (also shown in photos below.)
This collection is only available to members of StencilClub, but if you join before February 15th then you'll start your membership with this set (and also have the ability to purchase any previous set - more than 10 years' worth!) And while I think it's one of the greatest deals around with fantastic stencils from different designers every month, membership is always month to month - you can cancel for months you know you won't use and join again for the ones you want, or just stick around indefinitely! There's also a fantastic private Facebook group with lots of ideas, swaps and collaborative projects, and fun tips and support.
As a member of StencilClub you'll get all three stencils plus an accompanying project with a video lesson, a downloadable PDF and printable, and 20% off regular stencils from StencilGirl. All of that for just $25 a month!
For this month's collection, my video shows you an easy way to make painted collages using stencils. Here you can see the samples for the project and accompanying lesson:
I've also been having a blast working on other projects with my new stencil designs. First and most simple of the bunch, I made a background that shows how the 4" x 4" stencil can be rotated and repeated for a cool patterned design.
Next I used bits and pieces of each of the three stencils to make size 3" x 3" mini collages. I really like how you can get so many looks by using only a part of the stencils.
Lastly, and probably my favorite so far, I used the small songbird design from the top of the 9" x 12" stencil as an embroidery pattern. I embroidered it and added some seed beads, then stitched it into a nature-themed artist book that I'm working on.
I'm looking forward to continuing to use these in my work as well as seeing and learning from what club members do with these.
If you're not already a member of StencilClub but want to get your hands on this set (along with the video class, PDF, and printable that come with it,) head on over to StencilGirl - make sure to sign up before February 15th to start your membership with this set. (And if you can't join now but want to later, once you're a member you always have the ability to purchase past sets.)
I have a new mixed media / art journaling tutorial available today! Today on the StencilGirl blog I'm sharing a step-by-step photo overview of how I created this art journal page, including an amazing textured grid in the background. It's full of fun tips and techniques and I'm excited to also be showcasing a few of my latest stencil designs in this project. I hope you'll stop by and check it out!
Products from this post...
Royal & Langnickel Watercolor & Gouache Paint
Dina Wakley Media Journals
$15.99 - $21.99