Monday, November 12, 2018

The Stencilfied Journal Project

Back in May 2018, artist Tina Walker posted an idea about a Facebook group she was starting. The idea was to use StencilGirl stencils in a creative way, take chances, and try unusual materials. When I first tried stencils in my mixed media work, I discovered that I had a lot to learn. Way back in elementary and high school, I had occasionally used a stencil, but the effect was hard edged and, well...boring. After taking some mixed media classes, watching videos, and exchanging tips with other artists, I am now a stencilholic.

Starting on June 4, Tina posted the weekly prompt for the group. We could interpret the prompt any way we wanted, as long as we used Stencilgirl designs, and each week we shared our journal pages in the private Facebook group. The following week, we publicly posted our projects to social media with the hashtag #thestencilfiedjournal. We started with 16 prompts, but so many people loved the project that Tina added an extra eight, for a total of 24.

Here's my complete set of 24, along with the corresponding prompt card:

This journal page hung outside my window, 15 stories up, in the middle of NYC.

The leaf is on the right top. It was glued to the page with matte medium, then stenciled over with white and yellow paint.

Least favorite color? Royal blue.

Holes were poked with an awl and scissors. They were highlighted with gold embossing powder and hot pink silk.

My daughter created this page using her favorite color, and without any input or interference from me.

This journal spread documents my daily commute. I get on the subway in midtown NY at the Chrysler Building and travel to 149th Street in the Bronx, where I transform from a wife, mother, and artist to a healthcare worker. It also illustrates the recent change in my work location and job title. The spirals illustrate the subway tracks, the face are the hundreds of people I am in contact with every day, and the butterfly (middle right) indicates transformation.

After hanging out my window for weeks, there was very little wear and tear on the page. Only the bottom right corner was worn away from rubbing on the nearby brick. I added a beautiful StencilClub fluer de lis designed by Gwen Lafluer and some blue dots to illustrate the rainstorms that the page survived.

The journal cover fell apart after the soak in coffee. I tried gluing it back together, but it was never quite right, so I eventually made a new cover.

On top of the magenta clog print, I added a vintage image of a woman, a Nathalie Kalbach floral stencil, and my own hand-carved  spiral dot stamp, plus the word "dare" from a Gwen Lafluer Deco alphabet stencil.

The under layer has lines, numbers, and handwritten words documenting significant years in my personal history. I painted over much of the background with white gesso, then added my own hand and a favorite quote by Kaitlyn Walsh.

The used envelope is on the left side. Peeking through the envelope window is some "scrappy" fabric that I made from leftover fabric and thread scraps.

The blue color and tile-inspired stencils reminded me of a pool. A swimming figure from a magazine photo was added, along with more paint and colored pencil to give the feeling of waves.

Art is magic, and the embossing powder adds even more of a magical feeling to the page.

Stars were made from staples on yellow sticky notes, and white dots were punched from index cards.

Nine and ones were my numbers of choice, because they're my birthday numbers.

My daughter stenciled the words in just the right places.

Beet juice gave the pink color, and chlorella powder, mixed with water, made a beautiful green.
There is some beet juice in the background and chlorella green, plus indigo and sepia ink.

Many sizes and colors of washi tape was added to a background of white stencils on recycled teabags. Gold embossed stencils were added, alnong with an old postcard of Mata Hari and some decorative coins.

Last but not least, I decided to create a new journal cover to replace the one that fell apart when I dipped my journal in coffee. Fortunately the pages were stitched together and were okay, aside from some coffee stains up the spine and some indigo ink that was not permanent.

For the new cover, I cut some heavy cardboard a little larger that the length, width, and thickness of the pages. I used my own fabric (designed by me and printed at Spoonflower) for the binding and cover, and salvaged a piece of grunged, stenciled, and embossed paper and from the inside flap of the old journal. The new cover melds the pattern mixing of my own fabric designs with my textural stenciled work.

The Stencilfied Journal project has been one of my favorites. I "met" new artists in the group, I thought outside the box, I tried things that seemed crazy but I pushed myself to take a chance and did them anyway. Not only did I grow as an artist, I also made a lot of beautiful art that I love and am proud of.