Earlier this week I wrote a book review, with the chance to win copies of this book (there is still time to enter). You can see that blog post here: Stencil Craft Book Review and Giveaway.
Since I am an elementary art teacher, Margaret is also going to share a fun project to do with little children.
1. What is your art background?
I have a BFA in Painting and Fibers from Miami University of Ohio, with further study at The Center for Book Arts, NYU and SVA.
2. What advice do you have for someone who is just getting started using stencils?
The easiest way to get started is to start playing around with found stencils. Collect leaves of different sorts, paper doilies, sturdy ferns from a florist, tape, Avery sticker dots. Make compositions with them on paper—a sticker dot for a moon, a fern for a tree, doily lacy for clouds in the sky, painting tempera paint with a brush or sponge in and around the found objects. This will give you ideas for stencils to cut, too. Maybe you’ll decide you need a howling wolf stencil in your moon and tree composition, and have to design and cut it out!
3. What do you like about stencils?
I like stencils for their reusability. I have some bird and paw print stencils that I cut out years ago that I have used to print holiday cards, tea towels for gifts, and totes for sale. And in my job as a costume painter for Broadway shows, I use and reuse stencils all the time: a texture that might have been originally cut to be the shadows on a fan coral might be found in a floral border in one show and in the texture of flying monkey wings in another show.
4. What other kinds of art do you enjoy?
I like prints of all sorts, especially stencils and wood and lino cuts. My current favorite artist is the Japanese artist Yoshitoshi, from the Edo period, for his wonderful characters, narrative, and design.
5. What advice do you have for an art teacher who works with young kids?
A fun project for very young kids might be this Four Image Narrative project:
Cutting stencils with a craft knife is out of the question for the very young artist, but they can cut with scissors, and so this might be a way to introduce them not only to stencils and also to making an edition of something, in this case, a printed book. This book has a decorated cover (using masking tape as a stencil) that can have a title printed in the border, and four stencils depicting the life cycle of a caterpillar: a caterpillar, a branch, a cocoon on the branch, and a butterfly.
The four part story could also be a seed growing into a little flower, four stages of the moon, paw prints in the snow, a snow man being built (or melting, for that matter!). The kids can augment their design by drawing inside the stenciled shapes, or adding explanatory text. This little chapbook can be bound with a ribbon, and can be made in multiples. The students can number and sign the edition on the back or inside the cover.
This not-too-sticky painters tape can be used to tape off a brushy acrylic border for the cover of the chapbook.
Little fingers can easily cut out this caterpillar shape, hold it and brush off the edge of it to leave a white caterpillar shape than can be drawn into.
The chapbook can be bound with ribbon or string, and the stencil cover titled and decorated further.
The edition of the little book is indicated inside the front cover, signed and dated by the individual artist.
Kids can include words in their narrative as well, or make their picture book a wordless one.