StencilGirl - USArtQuest Blog Hop

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Welcome to today's stop on the StencilGirl blog hop using some awesome products from USArtQuest! I've been a fan of their products for a long time, so for this project I was really excited to play with some of their product lines that I'd never used before.

I've been in a collage / bookmaking frame of mind for a while now, so today I'm sharing a collage that I think will eventually double as a book cover.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Final Collage - Gwen Lafleur This was actually a lot of fun to pull together... here's a quick little overview so you can see what products I used and how I made it.

I started with a 9x12 canvas board and used matte Perfect Paper Adhesive to collage pieces of various papers onto the background, knowing that I was going to be working on top of them. Then I got to work with the USArtQuest Dicrofibers and my iron to make myself a palette of fused fiber "papers."

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur I'll confess - when I first opened up the package of supplies and saw the bag of fibers, I was a bit stumped! Fortunately we also had a dvd that showed lots of different techniques and then I was intrigued! Once I tried it, I was hooked.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Dicrofibers - Gwen Lafleur You can see above how the fibers fuse to create a solid surface. They're super glimmery, plus I added in some mica flakes for a little extra oomph.

Once I had several colored sheets, I went ahead and started using my Intersections stencil by Michelle Ward and a Stabilo All pencil to trace shapes from the stencil onto my fused fibers and then start cutting them out. I used the stencil again as a placement guide as I started placing the pieces onto my collage - I adhered them with Great Tape - which is really pretty great!

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Start Collage - Gwen Lafleur Here you can see more progress - I also added in a bit of Quinacridone Burnt Orange paint, and I also started using some of the awesome Mini Prills to add a different texture to the page - I used glossy Perfect Paper Adhesive for those and it worked great!

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Half-way point - Gwen Lafleur I just kept going like that until I had filled it in so that I liked it, but it still didn't feel quite done to me, so I went through my small stencils looking for something to add as a focal point. I decided to use the Classic Retake Feather stencil and mask by Rae Missigman. I traced the outline and cut it out, then used Archival Ink and a blending tool to stencil on some of the details.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Dicrofiber Feather - Gwen Lafleur I used some more Great Tape to adhere it on top, and voila! It was finished. Here are a few close-ups so you can get a better idea of the texture of the different elements.

StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Collage Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl-USArtQuest Hop - Collage Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I really liked playing with the Prills - I knew I was going to love those as soon as I saw them, but the big surprise was the Dicrofibers - I'm going to have to get some more of those because they're really cool! A huge thank you to USArtQuest and Susan Pickering Rothamel for sending us such fabulous products to play with!

Don't forget to visit all of the other creative team blogs this week for even more inspiration!

Monday
 ‎
Tuesday
Gwen Lafleur <-- You are here!
 
Wednesday

As always, you can also visit StencilGirl Talk every day to make sure you see all of this week's fabulous inspiration!


Classes with Dina Wakley at Papercraft Clubhouse

I was lucky enough this year to go back to Connecticut in May to spend a weekend taking classes with Dina Wakley at Papercraft Clubhouse. She came to teach in May 2014 just before I moved to Chicago and I got to go then and loved it so much that I couldn't resist going back for more!

First up, I'm a notorious over-packer for artsy weekends. This time, I think I did a pretty good job! Since I'd taken classes with her before, I had a good idea of what I would and wouldn't use.

Packing for classes with Dina Wakley in ConnecticutAll of Dina's paints and brushes, of course! Lots of stencils, art journals, ink pads, stamps, etc...

I flew out on Thursday to be there for class on Friday morning, but in order to get a half-way decent price on my flight I had to take a super early plane out and stop both ways. For some reason, that particular weekend was way more expensive than usual! Figures, right? But this was the view out my window from my 6am flight out of O'Hare. Gorgeous!

6am Flight from O'Hare for Dina Wakley ClassesFinally I made it to Hartford and picked up my car (I got one for like $10 a day! Score!) and headed down to Westbrook to do some shopping... had to beat the crowds, right?

Class started on Friday morning and since I was staying with Tracie (thanks again Tracie!) I got to go with her early to pick up Dina and help get the classroom set up. I was surprised that Dina remembered me from last year with all the people she meets! Anyway, Friday's class was called "My Face Book" and is her in-person version of her online class "Facing the Facts."

My Face Book with Dina Wakley Demo - Gwen LafleurWe learned lots of different techniques for drawing faces including basic face mapping, techniques for making it artsy, using non-traditional tools, and all kinds of fun things (and she gave away some of her demo pages at the end of class - I got to take home the one she's holding in the picture above! It's hanging in my studio :)

My Face Book with Dina Wakley Demo 2 - Gwen LafleurHere are some of the faces I did in class (we did about 10 to get us started on our #onehundredfaces journey.)

My Face Book with Dina Wakley 4 pages - Gwen Lafleur

My Face Book with Dina Wakley Page 3, 7 - Gwen LafleurAt the end of class we all went around and showed a few of our pages from the day. It's always interesting to me how we all see the same demo, learn the same technique, and have mostly the same supplies and yet everything comes out so different! I had a lot of fun with this class.

Saturday we had two classes: Random by Design and Watercoloring with Acrylics. In typical me fashion, I forgot to get any pictures of the demos in either of them (it's not just when I'm teaching!) In Random by Design we were learning different design principles and techniques behind Dina's seemingly random page placements. This was very cool and I love all four of the pages that we did.

Random by Design with Dina Wakley P1 - Gwen Lafleur
Random by Design with Dina Wakley P1 - Gwen Lafleur

Random by Design with Dina Wakley P2-3 - Gwen Lafleur
Then in the Watercoloring with Acrylics class, we learned how to mimic watercolors with our acrylic paints. This was super fun too... and of course, I loved these pages as well!

Watercoloring with Acrylics with Dina Wakley P1 - Gwen Lafleur
Watercoloring with Acrylics with Dina Wakley P1 - Gwen Lafleur

Watercoloring with Acrylics with Dina Wakley P3-4 - Gwen LafleurAfter class on Saturday, a group of us went to a Chinese place in Old Saybrook for dinner and good conversation. I was pretty excited that they had Walnut Chicken on the menu. I haven't had it forever and it's delicious! Their recipe added soy sauce to the walnut sauce - it was a nice twist!

Walnut Chicken Saturday Night Dinner

Finally, Sunday morning we had a shorter class called "Creature Feature" where we learned different techniques for putting animals into our work.

Creature Feature with Dina Wakley - Gwen Lafleur

Creature Feature with Dina Wakley 2 - Gwen Lafleur
First up, we learned how to take a picture of an animal (a photo or whatever we wanted) and turn it into a painting. I just used the fox that Dina gave us since I thought he was pretty cute and I wanted to use her new copper paint.

Creature Feature with Dina Wakley P1 - Gwen LafleurThen we learned this one - another riff on the technique of taking a really messed up or overdone page and turning it into something awesome with some paint, transfer paper, and a Stabilo All pencil.

Creature Feature P3 with Dina Wakley - Gwen LafleurThis last one is probably my favorite page from the whole weekend... I absolutely LOVED the deli paper we made in this class to do this page - I've been using it since I got home too. (Must make some more!)

Creature Feature P2 with Dina Wakley - Gwen LafleurThat was it! After everyone cleared out I brought my suitcase in from the car so I could re-pack. Once that was done, Patty and I went over to Christy's for the obligatory pancake for lunch (they're delicious and the size of the plate!) Wouldn't you know it? They had bacon pancakes. (They were so good I got it again when I went back last weekend!)

Bacon Pancakes at Christy's

Finally it was time for me to head back to the airport. Another connection in DC (I almost never have to connect going to and from Hartford. bleh!) And finally, this was my view on the way home at about 11pm.

Landing in Chicago after Dina Wakley ClassesSo there you go! I'm so glad that I was able to go... I had so much fun. I learned a lot, had a great time seeing friends and familiar faces, and of course, I always enjoy being able to shop! (I'd say we need a store like that in Chicago, but then I wouldn't have such a good excuse to go back so often! Although I'm sure I would anyway... lol.) Hopefully I'll get to go back next year for round three :)


This Weekend's Classes at Papercraft Clubhouse

Believe it or not, I'm coming back to my sadly neglected blog to post about something in a timely manner! (Don't get used to it... lol.)

A few posts ago, I shared photos and descriptions of my latest classes that I just taught this last weekend at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, CT. This time I made an effort to get more photos of my classes (which I'm typically pretty bad at remembering.) I did great the first night, then I went downhill very quickly!

Friday night we had Stamp Carving 101 which was lots of fun. We learned basic carving skills and started out with simple geometric stamps, then learned multi-part stamps, words, and repeating stamps. Everyone did amazing work, and everyone I talked to seemed pretty happy with their stamps. As I said, I did a decent job of getting photos (fortunately, Tracie also took a few, so I'm doing a quick post edit to add those,) but I still missed a lot of people! Here's a fun one of the class kit everyone got:

Stamp Carving Class Kit - Papercraft ClubhouseAnd one of me doing a carving demo (photo credit for the above and next photos to Tracie:)

Me Teaching Stamp Carving 1Here are a few of the class:

Stamp Carving 101 Class 4 - Papercraft Clubhouse
Stamp Carving 101 Class 4 - Papercraft ClubhouseClaudia did some super cool repeating stamps:

Claudia - Stamp Carving 101 - Papercraft Clubhouse You can barely see Deb and Patty hiding in here...

Stamp Carving 101 Class 2 - Papercraft ClubhouseTracie got a slightly better shot of Deb and Patty:

Stamp Carving 101 Class 5 - Papercraft ClubhouseHere's Peej with the first of her awesome "wonky" stamps...

Peej - Stamp Carving 101 - Papercraft ClubhouseDonna was pumping out stamps like a pro!

Donna 1 - Stamp Carving 101 - Papercraft Clubhouse
Donna 1 - Stamp Carving 101 - Papercraft ClubhouseWendy, Carol, Wendy, and Tracie...

Stamp Carving 101 Class - Papercraft ClubhouseI ended up missing getting a good shot of Wendy, but you can see her back and some of her fabulous stamps!

Wendy - Stamp Carving 101 - Papercraft ClubhouseMe doing another demo and showing different ideas for using hand-carved stamps in your journal:Me Teaching Stamp Carving 2I got so caught up in class that I forgot to take more photos :( But everyone had awesome stamps! I think we have some new stamp carving addicts now.

Saturday morning started with the obligatory stop at Starbucks... I don't drink coffee, but I love their Vanilla Cream - it's not usually on the menu, but I always order it anyway - it's hot milk with vanilla and whipped cream. I have them add two pumps of caramel, and sometimes I throw some cinnamon on top. It's awesome. We had a sassy lady at the register... Tracie (who knows almost all of the employees there, it seems!) told her that I was coming to teach so she made us matching cups for our drinks.

Matching Drinks at StarbucksSaturday morning's class was bookbinding. It was the biggest class and the hardest project, so it was a bit challenging! Everyone in class made their own codex-bound book using bookboard, canvas, and whatever paper they brought with them for the inside pages.

Bookbinding Class at Papercraft ClubhouseThis was not an easy class, but everyone did amazing! There were several people who at different points swore that they'd just ruined their book or said that they didn't think they could do it, but every single person in class walked out with a great, complete book and the naysayers all had to admit that it turned out awesome. At least half of the class also bought more bookboard to make more at home (I know, because I cut most of it for them! lol. I'm a full service instructor.) It was so fun to see the types of papers people used inside as well as how they were doing their covers. I couldn't take too many pictures since we did the actual binding as a group... but at least I got almost the entire class in the shot above.

Finally, we had a class making plaster animals from stencils. I had grand plans to take lots of pictures in this class and totally spaced it. Oy. But! Everyone had a good looking sculpture when they left, and I think everyone had fun too! (Except for the part where we traced the patterns and cut out the cardboard. That part always sucks, unfortunately! But it's worth it in the end, I hope!)

Once we finished up classes and got everything cleaned up and ready to go, I went out to dinner with Tracie and Patty. I was really craving the nachos at a local restaurant called the Cukoo's Nest. They call them Connecticut Nachos, and if anyone knows why or what makes them "Connecticut" nachos, I'd love to know! Either way, they're delicious... totally hit the spot!

Connecticut Nachos at Cukoo's NestSo that's it! My weekend of fun and fabulous classes at the Clubhouse has come to an end. I'm back home once again... hopefully I'll be able to get caught up on things before it's time for me to jet off again!


June Classes at Papercraft Clubhouse

I've been working on a bunch of different projects lately, including planning my next round of classes at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, Connecticut. I'll be teaching there on Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th - registration is open now!

Here are the classes I'll be teaching that weekend. Note that all students get a 10% store discount on the day of the class, and any supplies that aren't provided in your class kit will be available for purchase at the Clubhouse.

Stamp Carving 101, Friday, June 5, 2015, 6-9pm

Stamp Carving 101 - Gwen LafleurCome join us and learn to carve your own rubber stamps! Perfect for scrapbooks, cards, art journaling, and mixed media, hand-carved rubber stamps help you add your own unique mark to your work.  We’ll cover tools and supplies, drawing and transferring stamp designs, and of course, carving! We’ll make several stamps in class including geometric designs, repeating patterns, and word stamps. As a part of the class, you’ll get a stamp carving starter kit that includes a carving tool with blades and rubber. (If you already have carving tools and you tell them when you register they'll take $5 off the class; we’ll still provide the rubber.) There will also be sample designs for you to use, or you can design your own!    $40

Supplies You Need To Bring:

  • Cutting mat (glass is best if you have it)
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil, ruler and ball point pen

Getting Started with Handmade Books, Saturday, June 6, 2015, 9:30am-1pm

Getting Started with Handmade Books - Gwen Lafleur

Have you ever wanted to make your own art journal? Or a hand-bound scrapbook? Or just hand-made books in general? Then this is the class for you! We’ll be discussing the basics of bookbinding as well as different types of binding stitches, and we’ll use one of my favorite binding methods to make our own completed book in class. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is! We’ll talk about different ways to make your cover, and I’ll show you an easy way to wrap your cover with paper or fabric.  $45

Supplies You Need To Bring:

  • Basic Tool Kit: craft mat, paper trimmer, scissors, pencil, bone folder
  • 12” or longer ruler (centering is best, but regular will work)
  • 20 sheets of paper sized 9”x12” or larger (can be plain cardstock, watercolor paper, patterned paper, etc… whatever you want for the pages of your book)
  • Gel medium
  • Gesso
  • 1” flat paintbrush
  • 1-3 colors of paint for your cover

Optional: black gesso, washi tape, stencils (for the spine of your book,) embellishments for your cover, paper to cover your book (if you don’t want to paint,) a heavy-duty awl (there will be a few to share, but if you have your own you won’t have to wait.)

Below are two different versions of the book we'll be making together in class.

Sample Handmade Books - Gwen Lafleur
Plaster Sculptures from Stencils, Saturday, June 6, 2015, 2-5:30pm 

Plastic Sculptures from Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Get ready to take your stencils to a whole new level! We’ll be using stencils by StencilGirl as the basis for creating our own plaster animal sculptures. You’ll be surprised at how fun and easy it is as we work with cardboard and plaster to create our masterpieces. I’ll show you how to use a stencil to start the process, as well as how to go from there into making a pattern to turn it into a 3-D piece. We’ll make and decorate one sculpture in class, but you’ll go home with enough plaster to make more.  When signing up, please choose whether you’d like to make a seahorse, an elephant, or a bird.  $45

Supplies You Need To Bring:

  • Basic Tool Kit: craft mat, paper trimmer, scissors, pencil, bone folder
  • Sharp, heavy-duty scissors (like Tim Holtz)
  • Water bucket or cup with an opening that’s at least 4” wide
  • Flat paintbrush (1/2” to 1”)
  • Detail paint brush
  • Apron (optional)
  • Glue (Aleen's Tacky Glue or something similar will work)
  • Supplies to decorate your sculpture including: paint in the colors you’d like for your animal, any stencils or stamps you’d like to use, beads, liquid pearls, etc…  I will have stencils, stamps, and a few other goodies to share with the class.

These little guys are hard to photograph, but here are individual photos of the three options for class:

Plaster Bird Sculpture from Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Stencil-Sculpture Elephant Final 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Seahorse Sculpture by Gwen LafleurI'm so excited for these classes - they should be lots of fun! I'll have class samples in the store next weekend for classes with Dina Wakley for those who want to see them in person.

Hope to see you there!


Sequined Art Journal with May StencilClub

Just popping in to share a project that I have over on StencilGirl Talk using the May stencils from StencilClub. This was a fun month, and I love how my sequined art journal turned out! May StencilClub - Sequined Art Journal 2 - Gwen LafleurIf you want to see more, head over to StencilGirl Talk for more photos of the finished book, as well as some details on how I made the cover.


Gelli® Printed Mini Art Journal

Just stopping by to share that I have a new post up over on StencilGirl Talk today - a mini art journal that I made with stencils and the new 4" and 6" round Gelli® plates (plus my 8" round plate) from Gelli Arts®.

Gelli Printed Art Journal - Gwen LafleurThis is a fun little 16-page 6"x9" journal and all of the inside pages are made from a single piece of paper! Head on over to StencilGirl Talk if you want to see all of the inside pages and get more details about how to make your own.

(Note: I  received permission to use the Gelli® and Gelli Arts® trademarks, which are owned by Gelli Arts® LLC.)


Inspiration Wednesday Week 8

In an effort to not get so behind in my posting, I thought I'd pop in and share my pages in my inspiration journal from this week's Inspiration Wednesday video with Donna Downey.

This week was a lot about texture, and I went ahead and followed along with Donna to get some darker colors on the page.

IW2015 Week 8 - Gwen LafleurI used a bit more green and kept mine a bit more opaque than hers, but I really liked it. Donna used thin wooden letters on her pages, but I didn't have any of those. What I do have is a TON of old chipboard letters - this was from a set of old Heidi Swapp letters... they were pink and came in a box and you had to punch them out of a square (so you get the negative too) - the squares were like 3", so I liked both the size and the lightness of them for my pages.

Here's the view with the inclusion flipped over:

IW2015 Week 8b - Gwen LafleurI went ahead and used the same word as Donna - "becoming" because it resonated with me right now. I added some more text below, but I did it in a darker color. I tried it in white first and it was too much contrast for me.

Of course, I have some kind of allergy to monochromatic pages. I liked it when it was done, but I was dying for that pop of color, so I turned to my trusty Liquid Pearls  and added some of my signature dots. Then I wanted to do something to outline the letters a bit, but I didn't want color to stand out anymore than it already did, so I used black opal and dark chocolate Liquid Pearls and did some scribbling around them.

IW2015 Week 8 Letter Closeup - Gwen LafleurI think you can see it okay above, but it's even cooler in person. I loved this. I'm going to have to do more of this embedded chipboard lettering for sure!

And with that, I'm off to enjoy a beautiful weekend!


Documented Life Project: March / April 2015

Wow... I've been meaning to get this post up for weeks and it just kept slipping! But I'm finally getting around to knocking stuff off of my to-do list, and here we are - the last six weeks worth of art journal pages for The Documented Life Project. Again, most of these were posted on Instagram / Facebook, but I like to get them all in one place :)

Without further ado, my pages for March and the first half of April. The theme for the month was mark making and doodling, and the first week was to incorporate doodling as a layer. I did most of my doodling with Liquid Pearls and then added just a bit of pen work (there's a little journaling hidden in there too.)

DLP2015 - Doodle Layer Element - Gwen LafleurThe next week was to use mark making to create borders of some kind. I was at my parents' house after spending a weekend taking classes with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer up in Connecticut, so I kind of slapped this one together using a leftover gelli print from class, and then I doodled on some scallops and then added a baggage sticker - ephemera from my week! It's not my favorite page, but it's good enough.

DLP2015 - 5 Mark Making Borders - Gwen LafleurThe March 21st challenge was using something I'd made as a focal point - I was still at my parents' house, so I pulled out some colored pencils and a sheet of book paper and did a kind of doodled sketch inspired by a bird that Julie had shared that I really loved (and she was inspired by someone else!) I think I'll play with this motif some more... I have a few ideas that are on that never-ending to-do list. (My mom loved this one when she saw it, but she thought it was a Christmas ornament. Ha!)

DLP2015 - Doodle as Focal Point - Gwen LafleurMarch 28th was a challenge to use a custom element. Since we were still talking mark making, I pulled out some hand carved stamps and then added some hand lettering on top (and crossed my fingers that I didn't jinx our weather!)

DLP2015 - Make a Custom Element - Gwen LafleurWith the April 4th challenge, we switched to a new theme: exploring inks and paints. The first one centered around watercolors, so I got out some Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus watercolors along with Golden QoR watercolors and used them to do a mini version of one of the exercises in week 2 of the Paint Mojo eCourse with Tracy Verdugo. (I signed up for the course last October and, of course, I'm just now getting around to it. I'm almost through week 3! lol.) I like this one a lot. I used the 6x6 stencil from last October's StencilClub kit for the center of the dream catcher.

DLP2015 - Watercolors - Gwen LafleurAnd finally, the most recent challenge (April 11) was with acrylics. Since this is something I use all the time I wanted to make it a little more interesting for me personally, so I used acrylics to paint a pattern for the background, then stenciled a face on top and used more paint to add some highlights. I'm actually liking this one a lot too - it goes with my new obsession with faces that I succumbed to during Julie's classes (I know this has been a *thing* for a while now, but I didn't think it was my thing, so I'm just getting on board.)

DLP2015 - Acrylics - Gwen LafleurAnd that's it! All up to date again. Hopefully it won't take another 6 weeks before the next round-up :-P