Previous month:
May 2015
Next month:
July 2015

StencilGirl - USArtQuest Blog Hop

USArtQuest - StencilGirl Blog Hop Banner

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!

Gwen Lafleur <-- You are here!

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!