Saturday, May 3, 2014

Revisiting an old stencil project

Years ago I went to Art and Soul in Asilomar with some art friends, including Roberta, Sally, Nancy, Rosemary and Char.  Did I miss anyone?     The first workshop I attended was the one by Albie Smith.

She led off the day by showing some previosly made art journals to give us inspiration.     It was a huge class and we were jammed close together.    We started by making background papers, one after another.  I chose my color scheme based loosely on one of her samples that attracted me, and was out of my comfort zone.   Albie had supplied the materials, so that made it easy to proceed with everyone having the same papers and paints available.   I think it was paste paints we used for backgrounds.

We had to lay the papers out all over the floor in this big room so they could dry and then we could work on the backs of papers.       After both sides were painted we had access to a wonderful stash of stencils.    Working with colored gessos, we pounced our stencils, washed them off in the sink, and went to find another one.       She encourages us to over stencil.   She also had some really good stamps we could use ( like the big leaves shown here).      It was a madhouse and I felt very pressured to get things done so we would move on the folding and making the book and doing the binding.      

When I got home I added my own cut stencils and some of my friend Jackie's that we traded back and forth.     She made a collection of goddess figures. She cut ;them in small, medium and large sizes.    I made the elephants and the religious figures in assorted sizes..

Since stencils are so big on the art scene right now, I thought I'd show this as a reminder that it's nothing new - it is just evolving by clever marketing and involving the internet art groups.  They have caught on to making it more interesting by offering so many ways to use them and so many different looks can be produced using the same stencil.   I'm glad they are back and HOT!    I like using them.     Now that I look back at this handmade book,  it makes me want to create another one some way, without doing the binding.   The stitching and binding look pretty good, but I found the painting and stenciling the most fun.     I stayed with a limited palette and like the sort of batik like jungle look.
Not all of the pages were so busy, I used the busier papers for the covering for each signature in the journal.  There were four signatures consisting of three folded over sheets of painted paper inside each one.   I forget the terms for the structural details.     We had to work so fast to get this all done in one day, I didn't really learn what I was doing, I just did it in a rush.     That was a lot of work, but the results were awesome.  To see everyone's books out on the table at the end and to see how different each one was - such a good experience.    

Some of these photos were taken at the workshop.   I understand Albie is not teaching right now.    Check her blog to see what she is up to now.    Soon as I got home I ordered colored gessos from her source and also a bunch of stencils.     I was so glad she shared the supply information so we could find them.


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