Saturday, April 12, 2008

Flights of Fancy



Perhaps it's the arrival of spring, but birds are everywhere on the Internet. I confess to being part of it  -- I have birds on the brain! Since I made so many bird stamps, I thought I'd try to make bird stencils as part of Michelle Ward's GPP Street Team's 19th Crusade. Perhaps not the brightest idea I've had.



I must admit upfront that I am hip deep in preparations for The Bar Mitzvah Boy's big day. Lists seem to be constructed by the Sorcerer's Apprentice. For everything I cross off, three more things appear. And my homey, low-key, do-it-yourself celebration is reaching fever pitch. What to do? Art therapy, of course!

The first dilemma was where to get a stencil burner. Calls to the local craft stores yielded nada. In a fit of instant gratification, I ripped apart a tissue box and cut some crude stencils with my Exacto knife. They sort of worked  in combination with my stamps (see below) but I wanted more. And since my spare time is shrinking to nothing, I decided that the "more" had to come NOW. No sooner had I made that decision then I noticed my neighbor throwing out a glass picture frame that had the image torn out from behind it. Kismet!



So off I went to Michaels Arts & Crafts to check out the stencil aisle for myself. As it turns out, the youngster who took my phone call was a bit too literal. The tool is called a stencil cutter and she didn't make the connection. Ah, me.

Home at last, I set to work. The thick stencil plastic took great patience and a slow hand to melt. I wonder if there is a better material out there? My first birds were too complicated and my brush pouncing technique gave undesirable results. I went back and burned away the details leaving me with just an outline. Much better. (See first two images.)

Still, I wanted to try something more ornate. I copied the iris (results below) from my Dover Art Nouveau stencil designs. Pretty, but too small to have much impact. And the bumpy melted edges made for poor monoprinting, one of my favorite techniques. (Sometimes I stencil just to get monoprints!)



I decided to do something much larger. Not having photoshop, I didn't feel confident in trying to cut a stencil of The Bar Mitzvah Boy. But there was a cool stencil of fish. And The Boy is a Pices, so that's kind of appropriate, no? Once the fish were stenciled, inspiration struck. My curlicue stamp would be perfect for water! It didn't turn out too bad, but I wish I had created a background first. At least I'm satisfied enough to give all my attention to the bar mitzvah until Michelle cooks up something new and irresistible in May. Until then, I'm going to trade Bloglandia for Barmitzvahland. I'll be the one hip deep in poached salmon -- speaking of fish!

12 comments:

michelle ward said...

JeriAnn - so many terrific pages!!! Thanks for taking us through your stencil journey. They all look great!! Don't you love having your very own designs?! Happy to know you found the cutter/burner. That blnak stencil material is kinds thick and leaves funny stringy things in the melting process. I tend to like plain old acetate, sometimes called transprency for copiers....even the kind for ink jet work. It's thinner and you can move faster. Thanks again for sharing with the team! Good luck with your Bar Mitzvah!

LostLuggage said...

What a story....seems all to common these days as I too had an "incident" with a Michael's employee yesterday...

Love the pages you made! If you don't have any acetate, try here:
http://www.dickblick.com/zz232/04a/

Have a great week!

Stardust said...

Cool stencils...I've got to get caught up a bit so I can join the Crusades. Years ago I made a few stencils using the plastic that came inside packages of bacon. I used an exacto knife to cut them. I'm not sure of the thickness of the material you were trying to burn with your new cutter, but the bacon inserts might be worth a try. You won't be out anything if they don't work.

Kimbo said...

Hi Jeri-Ann. Love your birdies ! Thanks for your visit and your comment !I tried out the Plaid thick stencil blanks but have to agree with Michelle that plain old acetate is better ! They make a much cleaner burn line ! No little stringy thing !
Cheers,
Kim

Cath Sheard said...

Ooooh, excellent. Looks like you have really got into it :-) Love the fishy page.

eb said...

wow - look at these pages! - and love the stencil stories - I too ended up using transparencies cut with my exacto knife - worked fairly well - the main thing is keeping it simple...

thanks for your visit!

xox - eb.

ArtKat said...

Thanks for sharing your "stencil journey"! Your stencils are great, especially the fish! I used clear (sort of frosty white) mylar for some of my stencils, it was thin and cut or burned easily. Have a wonderful Bar Mitzvah celebration! :)

carolyn said...

I never knew you could burn stencils.
I've been meaning to carve some on some EZ-cut stuff I have kicking around.
Cool results!

Stephanie said...

oh yes, I am enjoying all the birds too. The fish are really wonderful, floating over and under...

Good luck to your son on his Bar Mitzvah! and you of course in gathering and crossing off all those lists....

Sarah aka Flo said...

love the fish!

and good luck with the Bar Mitzvah

Ursula Clamer said...

WOW your pages are amazing and I love your stencils. You have such a great way with words, I love your story too.

PLO said...

Yay for birdies, yay for Spring! Now, if it would just warm up here, I could be stencilling birds as well.