Wednesday, September 30, 2020

UpCycled Picnic Tray

 This post ran on StencilTalk, the StencilGirl blog on September 30, 2020

Hi! Linda Edkins Wyatt here, sharing how I took an old, dilapidated serving tray and transformed it into an adorable, vintage-looking picnic tray! I used paper that I designed using all five of my Lemurian Garden stencils, which was then cut, carefully arranged, glued, and sealed on the tray to give the effect of a heirloom quilt.

The serving tray that I started out with looked pretty sad: it had holes on the surface and in the corners from wear and tear, but the frame and legs were still solid. I had tucked it in a corner and thought, "It's still functional...someday I'll fix this." When the StencilGirl theme of Home Decor came up, I knew it was time to breathe new life into the old tray.

The damaged serving tray—before its transformation.

I thought about painting it and stenciling on top but decided that I'd try a pieced paper patchwork effect instead of painting directly on the tray. I have spent much of my life around quilts and fabric, but this time instead of using cloth and stitching a design, I decided to use paper for the quilted effect.

I had a beautiful sheet of paper that I made as a sample for the July 15 debut of my stencils. I scanned the painting, then made printouts from my color ink jet printer. (Click HERE to see my full post about the stencil debut.)

I started with a big sheet of white watercolor paper and added my Lemurian Stencils in pastel colors.

Here's the final painting that I scanned and reprinted on paper:

In this allover design, you can pick out the leaf, tulip, lily, spiral and pansy stencils.

First, before I could beautify the tray, I needed to fix the holes in it. I filled in the holds with DAP Plastic Wood. After the fill dried, I sanded it smooth.

Next, I "auditioned" various prints and solids to go with the paper I made from my Lemurian Stencil Collection. I decided on some pink vintage prints and a polka dot from The Graphics Fairy.

I alternated squares of my printed Lemurian Garden paper with vintage pink and white patterns that I downloaded from The Graphics Fairy.

I cut the papers into squares, thinking I would do a simple checkerboard effect. My inner quilter said that the checkerboard was boring, so I got brave and cut each square into triangles, then arranged those pieces in a pinwheel design, reminiscent in color and design of a favorite childhood quilt.

The paper squares were cut into triangles for a pinwheel quilt design.

Once I decided on the pattern and colors, I began gluing them onto the tray with Liquitex Matte Medium.

When I measured the squares of printed paper, they fit perfectly on the tray. Somehow when I sliced the squares into triangles and created the pinwheel design, the shapes ended up smaller, and I was left with a white strip down the middle! I debated how to fix the problem.

Washi Roll to the rescue! 

Similar to sushi rolls, I had just made some paper "washi rolls" as a Stencil Club trade. Artist and StencilClub member Wendy Baysa has a really good youtube video on how to make Washi Rolls. I had made three rolls--I traded one 3" x 28" roll and saved two for myself. As luck would have it, or maybe because I'm a creature of habit, the colors went beautifully with the pinwheel pieces and they were just the right width. The hard part was deciding which roll to use on my tray. I loved the one with the green bunny, but the one with the black and sepia Julie Balzer stamps had more punch.

The Washi Rolls above were made with several layers of StencilGirl designs with both acrylic paint and archival ink, plus collage and stamps. I used paper from a vintage piano roll, reinforced it with with deli paper, cut it into 3" x 28" strips, then stamped, stenciled and collaged them.

I bravely cut the roll and glued it in place. I loved it! would I waterproof the tray? After all, what good is a serving tray if you can't clean it? I didn't intend to eat directly off the tray, but I did want to be able to rinse it off or wipe it with a sponge or antibacterial wipe without damaging the tray.

The "washi roll" was just the right width to cover the white gap in the middle of the tray.

I tested some pieces of the stenciled paper with some of Seth Apter's Vintage Beeswax embossing powder. I put on a thin layer of matte medium, sprinkled the Vintage Beeswax liberally, zapped it with the heat gun, and magic happened.

The colors darkened a little, and the test paper now had a beautiful shine. I gathered my courage, held my breath, then embossed the whole tray section by section.

Here's a close-up of the tray. You can see the Lemurian Pansy in turquoise on the bottom left, and the Lemurian Tulip in pink on the bottom right:

With the addition of the matte medium and embossing powder, the whites had taken on an ecru color, the brightness was toned down and had an aged feel. The tray took on a vintage 1930s vibe and it reminded me of  an old fashioned picnic tray. 

With that idea in mind, I decided to make a matching picnic plate. This time, since I was working with a circular shape, I chose a circular quilt pattern. I downloaded a template from the internet, and cut little petal shapes out of my leftover paper, arranged them carefully, then glued them down to a paper plate I had covered with pink polka dot paper. Again, when the pattern was finished, I covered the plate with matte medium and Vintage Beeswax and heated it until the powder melted.

Since I made the plate from paper and glue, it is a prototype, and I will not use it for dining. But it would make beautiful design for a dinnerwear set, wouldn't it?

Inspired by the picnic mood and the Lemurian Garden theme, I took the tray to my nearest outdoor spot: Tudor City Park, a beautiful out of the way area of Midtown East that overlooks the United Nations. The quiet, peaceful park on a beautiful summer day was a perfect setting for my upcycled picnic tray and plate!

Monday, July 27, 2020

New Age A-Z: StencilGirl Art Journal Collaboration

Back in December 2019, artist Tina Walker posted an idea for a group project: an art journal using the alphabet. Each person would choose their own theme and the only real rule was that we use StencilGirl® products along with our other art materials. At first I was baffled about what theme to choose, but the light bulb went off in my brain as I realized that it was the perfect way to synthesize all of my years of reading about, and practicing, alternative healing and energy concepts.

My interest in things alternative started over 25 years ago. I had suffered from debilitating panic disorder--I was more than stressed or occasionally nervous. It was like the feeling of losing your child in a crowded store, or the panic when a plane is in a storm's turbulence. The fear didn't peak then subside--it peaked and stayed and stayed and stayed for hours.

I had to stop working. I could barely eat. I spent days in bed, in the dark, medicated and groggy. I missed my seven-year-old daughter's summer theater production because I simply couldn't leave the house. Fear of extreme heat was a trigger, so I had a some agoraphobia. I had the air conditioning so high my family was shivering, but freezing was the only way to stay calm. I discovered--as I bravely drove through the Midtown Tunnel one summer afternoon--that pharmaceutical medications for panic disorder didn't work. They also had side-effects I couldn't live with. After reading an article on reiki, I went for treatments, which led to rediscovering myself as an artist and practicing, in addition to reiki, xi gong and meditation.

The block in a circle is the Antahkarana healing energy symbol done in fabrics. The surrounding Japanese symbols are from a stencil designed by Jill McDowell.

A friend mentioned the book "Indigo Children" to me, and that further sparked my interest in New Age concepts. That interest continued over the years, and I found books by Lee Carroll and Monika Muranyi fascinating.

This Indigo Child illustration uses a stencil by Judy Wise.

I decided to call my book "New Age A-Z." I combined concepts from different New Age paths. Some of the pages are general, and others, like the X page, deeply personal. For X, I chose Xanthic, meaning yellowish, because during one of my first reiki treatments, my reiki master asked what was my favorite color. I replied "yellow" so she said "go home and paint yellow." That simple idea led me down the artistic path that I am now on. It gave me permission to be me, rather than try to paint what other people considered the right colors, subjects or styles. I had shied away from using straight out of the tube colors, such as yellow, for fear of being considered unsophisticated and artistically immature.
Shades of yellow, my favorite color, and a tapestry stencil make up this special page.

I started my A-Z New Age journal by making my own journal from 140 pound watercolor paper. I hand-stitched the binding and constructed a book with 6" x 9" pages, and the cover slightly larger. The cover background is made from recycled teabags, with a white tapestry stencil over the teabags, and a golden angel figure on top. It is accented with some gorgeous lace, and the tie closure has some of my own handmade tyvek beads.

On each top corner, I stenciled the letter of the alphabet for that page using an art deco alphabet stencil designed by Gwen Lafluer. Rather than working methodically from A-Z, I worked on each page as inspiration struck.

Some letters were easy, like A for angels or E for earth. Some were challenging, like X for xanthic, and Y for Yawee, an ancient name for a doctor who is pioneering studies in energy healing and macro-entanglement.

Here's a few of my favorite pages. Some are bold and simple, some are muted and subtle, some have notes written on them explaining my ideas and thoughts.

A golden rooted, blooming flower grows out of the Earth

Gaia, or Mother Earth, with a crown of leaves

The background of a geometric Earth-shaped stencil was overprinted with leaf and thistle stamps for a very organic look.

Freehand circles, spirals and joyful shapes were overprinted with a favorite shape--the paisley. A loosely painted flower adds to the joyful feel.

A feminine, pink and gold portrait represent Mrs. Takata, who brought reiki to the Western hemisphere.

A favorite stencil, Lacy Lotus, done in pink and white forms the background for the bold, loose flower, and vibrates with positive female energy.

Here's my video of the whole book.