Mixed Media Shadow Box - Seascape

Things have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to work on much art, especially art that's just for me, so I'm pretty excited that I managed to finish the demo piece that I started in my Mixed Media Shadow Boxes class back on May 3rd at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, Connecticut.

Here you go - it's a seascape featuring a (mostly) handmade fishy!

Mixed Media Shadow Box - Ocean Scene - Gwen Lafleur

The box itself is decorated with stencils, paint, cool sequined and metallic trims from India, sari yarn, and of course, the old drawer handle on top!

Mixed Media Shadow Box - Ocean Scene Side 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Shadow Box - Ocean Scene Side 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Mixed Media Shadow Box - Ocean Scene Top - Gwen Lafleur

Here's the back, using my new Art Deco Borders stencil.

Mixed Media Shadow Box - Ocean Scene Back - Gwen Lafleur

On this piece, I accessorized the front of the box with some sea themed goodies - I took store-bought jewelry components and beads and completely revamped them to use here.

Mixed Media Shadow Box - Ocean Scene Front Angle 2 - Gwen Lafleur

And of course, a close-up of my fishy! He was based on a wood cut-out, but I modified that as well :) I cut parts of the wood, and then I used Aves Apoxie Clay as the basis for constructing the rest of it (as well as for most of the rest of the assemblage that I did on this piece.)

Mixed Media Shadow Box - Ocean Scene Closeup - Gwen Lafleur

I'm super happy with how he came out! It was really fun to make, and it's one of my favorite pieces in quite a while :)

Finally, If you haven't already heard, I'm excited to be going back to the Clubhouse in June for three more classes (June 16-17.) You can see the events on my Facebook page, or check out the class pages on my website.

Friday:

Mini Mixed Media Medallions  10am-1pm

(if you like my shadow box, or wanted to take that class but missed it, you'll love this class! It also uses the Aves Apoxie clay as a base for creating super fabulous embellishments - or even statement pendants!)

Mini Mixed Media Medallions - Gwen Lafleur

Boho Art Journaling 2pm-5pm

Boho Art Journaling - Class Preview - Gwen Lafleur

Saturday:

Of Angels and Icons 10am-5pm

Mixed-Media-Angel---Gwen-Lafleur

Space in the classes is filling quickly, so make sure to call soon if you're interested in joining us! Also, if you have questions about the classes feel free to message me, leave comments, etc...

 


Huge Shop Update!

Hi all! I try to keep the salesy stuff on my blog to a minimum, but I realized that I haven't posted about my shop since it opened and there have been a LOT of new goodies added, including a huge update this week.

I'll keep it short and sweet with lots of photos :D 

In keeping with my global eclectic boutique theme, I've added goodies from India, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, Turkey, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Japan... maybe more? 

For those who missed it, here's a snapshot of April's updates:

New-in-the-Shop---April-8-2017

Woodblock stamps, Banjara tassels, adorable buttons, ceramic Chinese opera masks, Japanese washi tape, Turkish nazar charms, beautiful sari appliques...

What's-New-in-the-Store---April-15-2017---Gwen-Lafleur-Studios

Czech glass elephant beads, lots of German Dresden, new sizes of vintage Afghan Kuchi patches (I absolutely can't get enough of these!) plus some of my essentials like my stencils from StencilGirl and Aves Apoxie Clay.

Finally, here's this week's huge shop update:

What's-New-in-the-Store---May-25-2017---Gwen-Lafleur-Studios

Handcrafted nichos from Mexico, Emerald Creek embossing powder, Florentine papers, 70 styles of washi tape (seventy!) plus intricate Chinese paper cuttings, lots of stunning Indian sari trims (sold by the foot so you don't have to buy more than you need,) and I just debuted a brand new collage and embellishment pack called Birds of a Feather that includes Dresden, lots of trims, hand-printed papers, and a few other treats.

With all of the fun new goodies I've added in the last month, I also updated the shop navigation so you can browse the whole store, but also shop by product type or by theme. I don't know about you, but I'm super excited about all of these new products - after all, I'm my own best customer ;)

Enjoy, and let me know if you have questions or requests!

 


It's Time for an Artful Adventure!

Hi all, I'm super excited to share that I'm a surprise guest instructor today in Nathalie Kalbach's FREE online class, Artful Adventures! We're celebrating the release of her new book and taking a Stroll through the Hood where we find inspiration based on fun prompts to help you look at your surroundings in a new way and interpret them in your art.

ArtfulGuestTutorialMay24

My prompt was "cracks" and I've put together a 20ish minute video tutorial showing you how I interpreted my inspiration for the day and turned it into a fun piece of abstract art.

Here's just a little peek at my project:

Cracked Pavement - Mixed Media Sneak Peek - Gwen Lafleur

I don't do pure abstract pieces a lot, but I really had a lot of fun playing with different products and techniques for this one, including a  few that might surprise you! Head on over and check it out! If you're not registered for the class, jump in and sign up - it's free! There's already a ton of great inspiration and lots of fabulous tutorials, with more to come. Hope you enjoy it!

 


Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class Recap

I wanted to post a little recap of the Mixed Media Shadow Boxes class I taught two weeks ago at Papercraft Clubhouse in Connecticut. It was such a fun day, and I was overwhelmed by how many people came out on a Wednesday during the day for a workshop!

Here's a quick photo of my samples of what type of project we were going to do:

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Shrines - Class Samples - Gwen Lafleur

We had six hours, and we did some dimensional stenciling on the inside and outside of our boxes, we worked on creating a sculptural focal point (which most everyone made themselves!) and we also had a lot of fun embellishing the whole thing.

I did actually remember to take a few photos this time (I'm terrible about remembering to take photos during class!) and fortunately Patty also took several.

Here are a few candids I took of class members, hard at work:

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class in Progress 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class in Progress 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class in Progress 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class in Progress 1 - Gwen Lafleur

A few more from Patty...

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Classroom Antics - Gwen Lafleur Studios

She also got a few of me during demos throughout the day:

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class Demos - Gwen Lafleur

Also a fun shot of our goody table where I spread out some of the embellishments, tools, and stencils that were available for the class to use:

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class Goodie Table - Gwen Lafleur

And, of course, there's all of the amazing and creative artwork that everyone did! I remembered to take pictures at the end, but I MISSED ONE! I'm so upset! There's also a gorgeous seahorse / ocean themed box that I somehow missed photographing (please send a photo so I can add it to the gallery!)

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Class Project Collage

I added a student gallery to the class page (scroll down) so that you can see each individual project and, if you'd like you can click through to a larger version. They were all unique, creative, and so beautiful! I was very impressed by what everyone did and how each person put their own style into their piece.

A few shots with friends throughout the day... me with the uber-talented Fran...

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Fran and I - Gwen Lafleur

Then Jill and I - (hi Jill!)

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes Class - Me and Jill - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, a fun little selfie with me, Patty, Kim, and Fran:

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes Class - Me-Patty-Kim-Fran

It was such a wonderful day and a great class where I think I learned just as much as the students! I've been working on finishing up my demo piece from class, so I'll share that in the near future :)

In the meantime, I'll be back at the Clubhouse in June for three more classes (June 16-17.) You can see the events on my Facebook page, or check out the class pages on my website.

Friday:

Mini Mixed Media Medallions

Mini Mixed Media Medallions - Gwen Lafleur

Boho Art Journaling

Boho Art Journaling - Class Preview - Gwen Lafleur

Saturday:

Of Angels and Icons

Mixed-Media-Angel---Gwen-Lafleur

Space in the classes is filling quickly, so make sure to call soon if you're interested in joining us! Also, if you have questions about the classes feel free to message me, leave comments, etc... 

 


May ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens

It's ATC time! This month's swap theme was Mermaids and Sirens, and I slid mine in just under the deadline and got them in the mail with no time to spare. They just made it to Connecticut for tomorrow's swap! Whew! 

Here are my cards:

May 2017 ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens - Gwen Lafleur

Because I was running behind this month I decided to make a masterboard as the base of all of my cards instead of doing them individually; normally that's where I spend a lot of my time when I work on these.

 

ATC Masterboard - Gwen Lafleur

This was my first time doing a masterboard for ATCs, but I think I'll do it again sometime! It was lots of fun and I like how the cards ended up having a unified look, yet they were each still different.

Here are close-ups of my nine cards:

May 2017 ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens Cards 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

On the left I made a frame with patterned paper and wrapped it ribbon and added embellishments - all from our kit. On the right, I cut out two different collage images and layered them with ribbon, patterned paper, and some cool flattened metal beads, also from the kit.

May 2017 ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens Cards 3-4 - Gwen Lafleur

On the left of this one, there was a grungeboard sand dollar diecut in the kit that I painted and accented with Stickles, then I used a cutout collage image with some Dresden, patterned paper, and a strip of rhinestones. On the right, I used patterned paper with some lace stickers, thin Dresden, and some jewels and a charm from the kit. I framed the image with a chipboard frame from my stash that I painted and accented with glitter and some acrylic crystal thingies.

May 2017 ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens Cards 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

Left, just a cutout image on the background with some gold wax and a corner sticker. I layered trims and beads and Dresden. On the right, some burlap trim, Dresden, and jewels from the kit. I just matted the cutout on patterned paper. Both of these were relatively quick and simple, but I really like how they turned out!

May 2017 ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens Cards 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

Above left, I framed the collage image with patterned paper, a bead trim, acrylic embellishments, and a gold paint pen. Then just a bit of Dresden and ribbon. On the right, I had another grungeboard diecut - seahorse, that I also painted and glittered, and I cut the mermaid from the collage sheet and wrapped her around so she'd be riding the seahorse. Again, more Dresden and ribbon, and the frame was chipboard that I heat embossed and edged in gold.

Last but not least...

May 2017 ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens Card 9 - Gwen Lafleur

This one was lots of fun... the three little mermaids came from one collage image, and I cut out the coral image from a different sheet. More burlap trim, blue Dresden, and a few rhinestones. I thought this one was super fun!

May 2017 ATCs - Mermaids and Sirens 2 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for this swap! I hope the group members who get one will like them, and I can't wait to see what everyone else did and which ones I get back! It's always so fun since we have such a great, really talented group :)

 


Gwen's Gems - Boho Stenciled Mandala

Hi all, I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with the May edition of Gwen's Gems! This month I made a mandala-inspired mixed media panel using a whole bunch of stencils and some fun, new-to-me products.

Boho Stenciled Mandala - Gwen Lafleur

As usual, there's a tutorial, so make sure to head over for that and more photos of the finished project. Enjoy!

 


March ARTifacts Art Journal Pages

So, I know that April is almost over... (seriously? how?) but I thought - better late than never posting my March pages from my ARTifacts journal! They've actually been done for over a week, so I'm only really behind instead of incredibly behind.

So without further ado, here's the title page for March along with my artsy goals for the month.

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur

For this page I used my new Art Deco Bookplates stencil along with the Acrylic MT washi tape, a very old rubon, alphabet stamps, and butterflies cut from my Beautiful Butterflies Collage Cut-Outs. Lots of paint pens, and deliberately bright colors! (I've been pretty dark lately...)

First full spread... lots of interactive elements!

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Pages 2-3 - Gwen Lafleur

The background uses Tattered Angels Natural Aging paints (love them!) and some old Basic Grey rubons. (I've been hoarding these for years - it was a big moment when I forced myself to finally use them!)

The left side has photos attached to a journaling card that flips up (attached with the Crystals MT washi tape,) and I used a scrap from a Spellbinders diecut as the tab.

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 2 - Gwen Lafleur
March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 2 - Gwen Lafleur

On the right, I have a VERY old stitched diecut from L'il Davis Designs and then I attached a tag with more washi tape - this is the Jakten pattern. There are more diecut scraps here, scraps of fiber trim, and a punched tab.

IMG_9955

On the back side of the tab I included one of the ATCs I got back from our swap.

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 3a - Gwen Lafleur

Here's the last spread for March - the background is paint and ink with tissue paper, stamping, rubons, stenciling with my Art Deco Sunburst Background stencil, and another butterfly from my Beautiful Butterflies Collage Cut-Outs.

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Pages 4-5 - Gwen Lafleur

On the left, I have a pull-out card with photos of my StencilGirl projects for the month tucked into a Chinese New Year envelope with Double Happiness foil stamped on it in sparkly red foil.

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 4 - Gwen Lafleur

the back side of the card...

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 4a - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, the right side of this spread has lots of hidden parts! The basis is a mini file folder that I attached with the Tadanori Yokoo Posters washi tape, and on top of that is a tag attached with Tadanori Yokoo Eye and Mouth MT washi tape and then I used a faux-rusted diecut from Spellbinders to frame a photo of my boho fishies. The background is stenciled with my Art Deco Sunburst Background stencil,

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Here you can see the different layers of this page:

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 5c - Gwen Lafleur

Here you can see it with the tag flipped up to reveal photos and journaling...

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 5a - Gwen Lafleur

Then with the folder open for even more - I did a lot of work on handmade elements for the opening of my online shop, and I wanted to showcase that here!

March ARTifacts Art Journal - Page 5b - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for March... I've already started printing out photos for April in the hopes that I can be less behind for the next month.

As always, all of my ARTifacts pages can be seen in this gallery on my website.

 


Deco Book & Box with Stencils, Molds, Resin, & Shrinky Dinks!

SG & ACP Blog Hop Header

Hi everyone! Welcome to day 2 of this week's blog hop with StencilGirl Products and Amazing Casting Products! I'm excited to be joining in since I love using molds and resin in my work, and using them with stencils was even more fun!

For this project I took some left-over packaging (it was the box from the ceramic Peking Opera mask that I used in a panel I shared last week,) and turned it into a decorated case for a mini handmade book. Can you tell where I used molds and resin with my stencils?

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - View 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I put together a little tutorial for you, including a fun technique I came up with using Amazing Casting Products mold making putty and resin with a few of my stencil designs.

First up, my new technique. I wanted to use some of my new Art Deco stencils (here I'm using my Art Deco Borders stencil,) but I wanted to work with a smaller size. So, I inked the part of the design I wanted to use onto a piece of Shinky Dink film.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I used an X-Acto knife to cut out the inside pieces. Since this was going to shrink a lot, and since it takes a fair amount of effort to cut through the film, I only cut out the details I really wanted to have show that were big enough to look good in a much smaller size.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Then I cut around the outside of the design with a pair of sharp scissors. I repeated this process using my Art Deco Medallion stencil, then followed the instructions on the package to shrink them in my oven. It did take a few tries reheating and uncurling the plastic for the medallion, but in the end, they both worked!

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Now that I had my stenciled designs in a smaller, 3D version, I could move on to the next step - making molds so that I could create multiples! (Please keep in mind that all of StencilGirl's stencil designs are copyrighted, so you should only do this for your personal use, or for use in one-of-a-kind artwork that you sell.)

I took my Amazing Mold Putty and made molds of both of my mini stencil designs.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Then I took some white casting resin and cast both molds. When they were cured (which only takes about 15 minutes!) I cleaned them up a bit and then they were ready to use!

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Before I started I had a few ideas for how I'd planned to use these, but once I got to this point I realized that the shapes I'd picked would fit together perfectly to make some really cool embellishments! I got out my Aves Apoxie Clay and mixed up a small amount to start connecting things together and then to start adding to the structure.

  StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

You can see above (middle photo) where I added thin ropes of clay around the edges as a border and then used it to start adding other bits onto the structure. I also put dots of clay in a few spaces and then indented the middles in order to create a space to add a jewel or pearl or something later on.

Next up, I painted it. I used gold and bronze metallic acrylic paints as well as a patina colored paint to make it all more cohesive. I also added a metal gear and a random piece of Turkmen jewelry and painted those as well so they'd all go together.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

You can see in the photo above right that I did end up adding some jewels, and also glued one of my embellishments to a scrap of Chiyogami paper so that you could see some of the color and pattern through the holes.

With that done, I set my new embellishments aside to dry and started working on the box. I taped off the metal corners and spine (it had a cool design I wanted to keep) and then gesso'd the whole thing.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

Then I used metallic gold and turquoise paints... you can see where I used my heat gun to bubble them a bit (I love the texture it adds!)

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Once the paint was dry, I used my Art Deco Sunburst Corners stencil and some gold embossing paste and added a bit of dimensional pattern to the cover of the box.

With the outsides of the box painted and ready to embellish, I started working on the inside. First, I stenciled a piece of blue mulberry paper with my Art Deco Sunburst Background stencil and bronze paint.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur

I tore those down to the sizes I want and then adhered them (inking the edges of the piece for the inside cover first.)

To embellish the inside cover, I decided to use another molded piece. This time I made a mold of an old vintage metal face that was sent to me from Latvia and then cast that with resin and painted it to look like the original piece.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 11 - Gwen Lafleur

The resin takes paint so well - it was actually almost hard to tell which was the original when I was done!

Once dry, I took my new embellishment and layered it with some other metal pieces and adhered them to the inside of the cover.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 11a - Gwen Lafleur

Next up, to embellish the back of the box, I taped off a section of my Art Deco Borders stencil so that I could just stencil the middle circle I wanted to use. I stenciled on deli paper with pigment ink and then heat embossed with a mix of Emerald Creek embossing powders.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 12 - Gwen Lafleur

I cut that out and adhered with matte medium. 

To finish off the inside of the box, I attached some different trims, then added a bit of gold dimensional paint.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 14 - Gwen Lafleur

Whew... that's done. Back to the outside of the box!

With my resin & clay medallions cured and dried, I could finish up the cover. I adhered the medallion with the Turkmen jewelry pieces to the front in the center, then used a Tsukineko irRESISTible Pico Embellisher to fill in some of the stenciled sections.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 13 - Gwen LafleurVoila! The cover is done!

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 15 - Gwen Lafleur

While that dried, I moved on to make the handmade book that would fit inside. I measured to see how big it could be, then cut down some pieces of Davey board and made a little 3"x5" book using the single-sheet Coptic binding. I painted the covers with a turquoise background paint by Matisse, then used a section of my Art Deco Bookplates stencil and some gold pigment ink to stencil the cover.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box Step 16 - Gwen Lafleur

I heat embossed the stenciled area with gold embossing powder, then adhered my other resin and clay medallion into the center and embellished it with some acrylic rhinestones.

When all was dry, I put the book into the box - all ready to have the pages filled and to be a fun display piece when I wasn't using it.

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside - Gwen Lafleur

Here are a few more photos and close-ups of the finished project so you can see some of the details:

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside with book - Gwen Lafleur

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside with book 2 - Gwen Lafleur
StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - Inside with book 2 - Gwen Lafleur

StencilGirl - Amazing Casting - Deco Book and Box - View 6 - Gwen Lafleur
There you go! I hope you enjoyed today's project and tutorial. Of course, this wouldn't be a blog hop without a  GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products
AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Amazing Casting Products!

SG & ACP Blog Hop Giveaway image

Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN! (One comment per person per blog please.)

You have until Sunday, April 23rd at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page and Amazing Casting Products’s Facebook page on Monday, April 24th.

 

Here's the lineup of blogs for this week - make sure you visit and comment on all of them to increase your chances to win!

April 19 

April 20 

April 21 


Gwen's Gems - Art Journaling with Canvas Corp Brands

Hi everyone! I'm up on the StencilGirl blog today with the April edition of Gwen's Gems, which also happens to be a collaborative post with Canvas Corp Brands!

This month I have a tutorial for this art journal spread using lots of awesome Canvas Corp Brands products (like a 7 Gypsies journal and papers, and some amazing Tattered Angels natural aging paints,) and using some of my new Art Deco stencils, of course!

StencilGirl-Canvas Corps - Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you head on over to see more photos and the tutorial. Also, there's a GIVEAWAY! Make sure you go to StencilGirl Talk to see the giveaway instructions. You need to leave a comment over on that post (not this one) in order to be entered to win. Enjoy, and good luck!

 


Art Deco Stencil Samples Round 2

Hi everyone! Ready for a few more samples using my new Art Deco stencils from StencilGirl?

I'll start with a pair of pretty classic Art Deco style jumbo ATCs. I took some old scrapbook journaling cards that are about 4"x6" and painted them, then stenciled and embellished.

Art-Deco-Stencils---Jumbo-Butterfly-ATC---Gwen-Lafleur

Art Deco Sun Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

The first one uses my Art Deco Sun Medallion stencil and then I colored it with a gold paint pen and topped it off with a Dresden medallion and a butterfly cut from one of my Beautiful Butterflies Downloadable Collage sheets.

Art-Deco-Stencils---Jumbo-Gold-ATC---Gwen-Lafleur

Art Deco Sunburst Corners Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

The second one was stenciled with both sizes of the design on my Art Deco Sunburst Corners stencil and then I heat embossed those with a gold mirror embossing powder from Emerald Creek. In the center I added another Dresden medallion (I really love those things!) which I glazed, and I used gold-foiled leaf MT Washi Tape on both ends. I finished it with Golden Gold Mica paste.

Next project... another spread in my 3"x5" mini art journal. This one was pretty simple... I used gold acrylic gesso on the background, then stenciled across the middle with my Art Deco Borders stencil. I used paint markers to just start adding layers of color in the background until I liked it, then added some journaling. Easy peasy!

Art Deco Stencils - Mini Art Journal Spread 1 Angled - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Borders Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

How about one more for today... this one was really fun and slightly unexpected to pull together!

Art Deco Stencils - Monogram Tag - Gwen Lafleur

This is the inside cover of a small 6"x8" handmade art journal. The patterned paper background was already there - that's the endpaper of the book, but it was still pretty plain so I added this tag. I had been cleaning off my stencils on it as I worked on other projects, and at one point I looked at it and realized that it had a pretty fun composition! So I started defining the images and added color with paint pens.

Art Deco Stencils - Monogram Tag Closeup - Gwen Lafleur

The stencils I had cleaned off on here were my Art Deco Flower Medallion and its matching Repeating Corner stencils. I added the circle frame from my Art Deco Alphabet stencil to a scrap of painted deli paper and put my initial in it to make a monogram, then cut it out and adhered it to my tag. I love how this one came out!

Art Deco Flower Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Flower Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Alphabet Stencil - Gwen Lafleur
That's it for today... I hope you're enjoying the projects!


My New Art Deco Stencils are Here!

I'm so excited... I have new stencils releasing today from StencilGirl! It's my Art Deco collection, and it includes ten new designs that I really love. I've been sitting on these for more than six months and I'm so thrilled that I finally get to share them! Without further ado...

Gwen-lafleur-artdeco-stencils-sq-graphic

All ten designs are in stock and ready to ship... you can find them in my online store (along with lots of other global eclectic mixed media supplies, like the Chinese Opera figure in the sample below!) or you can get them directly from StencilGirl.

Here are a few of the projects I've made with these so far... it's so fun to finally get to share what I've been working on!

First, this is a 10"x20"x1" mixed media panel - my Art Deco / Asian Fusion piece.

Art Deco Stencils - Art Deco Asian Fusion Panel - Gwen Lafleur

The center section uses the Art Deco Bookplates stencil with the Art Deco Sun Medallion Repeating Corner layered on top. The Peking Opera character is a fun little ceramic piece I found - so much fun to use here!

Art Deco Stencils - Art Deco Asian Fusion Panel - Closeup 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Bookplates Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Sun Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Lots more stenciling on top of collage in the background:

Art Deco Stencils - Art Deco Asian Fusion Panel - Closeup 2 - Gwen Lafleur

You can see peeks of the different designs on my Art Deco Borders stencil above:

Art Deco Borders Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

How about an art journal spread? 

Art Deco Stencils - Dream Art Journal Page Angled - Gwen Lafleur

This is in a handmade mini art journal (3x5, so the spread is 5" tall by 6" wide,) and uses both the 6x6 and 4x4 versions of my Art Deco Flower Medallion stencils. The title was done with my Art Deco Alphabet stencil - my first alphabet! It's hand-drawn, and I really love how it turned out!

Art Deco Flower Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Flower Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Alphabet Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

One more project for today... this uses my Art Deco Medallion stencil - it's goldwork embroidery (or an attempt, at least!) on iridescent silk - a piece of an upcycled sari.

Art Deco Medallion Stencil - Gold Embroidery 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Art Deco Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I hope you like the new stencils! I'm super excited about them, and I can't wait to see what everyone makes with them! I'll share more release projects over the next few days, and definitely lots more to come in the future :) Enjoy!

 


Open for Business!

Over the past several weeks, I've shared photos here and there of things I've been collecting with the intent to sell them. I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking - I'm super busy with all of the obligations I've already taken on, but this is something that I really felt driven to try and do. So I've jumped straight in to starting my own business. A small one. Very small. But I've thought many times over the years how much I would love to be a buyer since I really enjoy the process of seeking out unique items and getting good prices. (Not to mention having said items land on my doorstep!) While I love mixed media products made by big companies as much as the next person, not to mention raiding Blick during their sales, I've been sourcing a lot of my more unique items from outside the country for quite some time now. When it finally hit me that most people aren't willing or maybe not able to find reputable vendors in foreign countries and buy supplies directly from the source, the idea to open some kind of shop started to germinate. In typical Gwen fashion, thought and action weren't all that far apart...

Mixed-Media-Kits-and-Supplies-Category-Header

It's been a lot of hard work and late nights, not to mention shopping on a pretty small budget, but I finally launched an online store! It's not huge, and what's there is... odd eclectic. LOL. If you know my work at all, this shouldn't surprise you. If this is a success (and I'm hoping it will be!) I'd like to expand - I've already been researching vendors for the products I'd like to carry and my tax ID should be coming in the mail any day! But in the meantime, I've started with a kit concept based around themes and supplies that I love and use myself. I wanted to do something where I could include unique, hand-crafted items along with cool products from other countries that are either expensive in the states, or hard to order - especially in small quantities. (Of course, there are some not-quite-as-hard-to-get-but-still-fairly-unique-items too!)

Going Global Collage and Embellishment Pack - Gwen Lafleur Studios

This is my Going Global Collage & Embellishment Pack - lots of papers, trims, and fun embellishments in here (you can click through and read all about each element - what they are and where they're from.)

Every pack (so far,) has at least one sheet of hand-printed paper (printed by me, of course!) I really like the idea of not only using my woodblocks instead of just admiring them on the shelf, but making these prints accessible so that you don't have to go out and buy the woodblock yourself in order to use hand printed paper in your own artwork.

My favorite find by far, are these absolutely AMAZING vintage Afghan Kuchi patches that I managed to buy in a big job lot from a vendor in England. (You might have seen the project I posted Monday where I used one of these on my mixed media canvas.)

Going Global Large Kuchi Patches - Gwen Lafleur Studios

Of course, there are also peacocks. Lots of peacocks. An entire peacock-themed pack, in fact, along with several different individual embellishments. My absolute favorites are the sequined peacock sari patches that I discovered about two years ago, I think? They come in many sizes and styles and they're so cool. (I must admit, however... I do a lot more hoarding than using when it comes to these.)

Peacock Sari Patches - Gold Flower Tails - Gwen Lafleur Studios

Some of you have also already found my new collection of downloadable collage cut-outs. I have a hard time finding images that I can use in my collage work or in my art journals, so I finally decided to just make my own collage sheets. I scoured the web for public domain images that I like and would use, then edited them and cleaned them up so that they would print well. I figured that since I'd done all the work, I may as well make them available to others who might be running into the same issues!

Collage Cut-Outs Category Header
I could go on and on... I'm super excited about what's here. If all goes well, I'm hoping to be able to buy in larger quantities so that I can standardize things and expand my offerings. I'd also like to bring in products like washi tape, carry my own stencils, and there are plans to do my own rubber stamps as well. We'll see! Of course, I'm thinking I'm already so busy I don't know how I'll handle it if things go well (you know, demanding full-time job and existing art commitments?) But when has any of that stopped me before? Bring it on! LOL.

If you have requests, please let me know! Types of products you've seen me use or that are similar that you'd like to see... things in packs that you really want individually... do you want just paper packs? etc... No promises, but if I'm going to do this, I want to do it right!

In any case... check it out - I hope you like it!

 

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Gwen's Gems - A Boho Mixed Media Canvas

Hi all! Just popping in to let you know that I'm up today on StencilGirl Talk with the latest installment of Gwen's Gems. This month I went a bit crazy with different texture pastes and stencils to make a mixed media canvas centered around a vintage Afghan Kuchi patch.

Boho Stenciled Canvas - Gwen Lafleur

There's a tutorial along with lots more photos over on the StencilGirl blog, so make sure to check it out!

 


Boho Art Journaling - Elephants and Peacocks

Lately I've been working here and there on putting together one more half-day class to offer as an option when scheduling in-person classes (for now, at least... I'm sure there will be more later!) The original plan was to make collaged elements, but about half-way through my first sample the boho spin popped out of nowhere and insisted on becoming the theme for the workshop. I'm so glad I followed my inspiration on this - I love this new class which is now, quite appropriately, called Boho Art Journaling with Stencils & Stamps.

Here's the first sample - a boho elephants art journal page:

Boho Art Journaling - Elephant Spread - Gwen Lafleur

The idea for the class is that we'll learn a fun art journal background technique (which can be applied to panels, canvases, etc... as well,) and also make our own patterned papers that will then become part of a collaged element that's the focal point of the spread.

Boho Art Journaling - Elephants Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I love my boho ellies!

Boho Art Journaling - Elephants Close-up 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, I had to take it one step further and try this out with a peacock:

Boho Art Journaling - Peacock Spread - Gwen Lafleur

This particular shape is not one that I'd recommend attempting in a 3-hour class (unless one is a very fast cut-and-paster!) but I wanted to show some of the possibilities of the techniques.

Boho Art Journaling - Peacock Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I love adding different textures and dimension into my journal.

Boho Art Journaling - Peacock Close-up 4 - Gwen Lafleur

I'm really excited about the possibilities with this workshop, and I'm crossing my fingers that it gets scheduled! I'm planning on doing some more samples soon to show how this can be adapted for more styles and shapes (it doesn't have to be boho if that's not your thing,) and I'm excited to experiment more.

You can see more photos and info on the class page, and if you're interested in hosting this and / or another class, shoot me an email!

 


Stenciled & Wood-Burned Diptych Photo Frame

SG & WH Blog Hop Header

Hi all! I'm excited to be joining in with the StencilGirl / Walnut Hollow blog hop today! This was a very fun project for me as it gave me the opportunity to try something entirely new with my stencils. I knew as soon as I saw these decorator plaques from Walnut Hollow that I wanted to make a diptych and do some wood burning with my Versa-Tool.

Here's what I made - a diptych photo frame for me to display in my house - I love it!

  Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Gwen Lafleur

I've got a quick tutorial to show you how I made this piece. Ready?

First I started by stenciling each piece with my Decorative Medallion stencil using a light color of brown ink. I knew I was going to trace over this design with my Versa-Tool, so I wanted to make sure that the color I used wouldn't interfere with the beautiful burned wood color that was coming next.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next step? Get comfy... this part takes a while. I pulled up a chair and turned on the hockey game and patiently traced over the stenciled lines with the detail tip of my tool. I really wanted that dark brown color, and I love the way that it created almost a debossed effect as I worked over the design. You can clearly see the difference in color and texture as each section was burned. Beautiful!

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

You can also see a circle drawn in the center - I knew that I was going to cover up the middle with a circular element, so why waste time burning sections that would be covered up? This was my line to tell me where I could stop since it would later be hidden.

With the burning done, I didn't want to do any painting, so I coated the plaques with a glaze made from polymer medium, transparent yellow iron oxide fluid acrylic paint, micaceous iron oxide, and gold interference paint. (All from Golden.)

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

I have several ready-made colored glazes I keep in small bottles, so I used those to add a few touches of color to some areas of the design. (These were cobalt turquoise and pyrrole red, both mixed with polymer medium and nothing else.)

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I used some metallic waxes around the edges to frame the design and add a bit more depth. 

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Everything was still feeling very flat and "blah" to me (keeping in mind that more is usually more in my world,) and I glanced over at my palette and just randomly started peeling off sections of dried gold paint and sticking them around the edges of my plaques. It was working for me - it looked a bit like gold leafing, so I kept doing it and then sealed it.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

It was still all feeling like it was missing something, so I pulled out some molding paste skins I made several months ago and then didn't use. These were done from the Damask Borders stencil by Michelle Ward. (To make a molding paste skin, you just put molding paste through your stencil onto a non-stick surface like a Teflon of silicon craft mat, then set it aside on a flat surface and let it dry completely. The "skins" will peel off and work great as dimensional embellishments! I stored mine in wax paper until they were ready to be used. As always, make sure to clean your stencil immediately after using any kind of texture paste!)

Here you can see the steps I took to paint them - I wanted them to look kind of like metal, so I used several layers of paint and finished with a bit more wax.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I picked out a few other embellishments to use with my flourishes; some Dresden border trim, and some really cool vintage Turkomen jewelry findings. I adhered everything into place and let it dry.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

From here I got out some small hinges and mini screws and turned my plaques into a diptych by connecting them together:

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I took a few family photos and sized them in Photoshop, then printed them and used a large circle punch to shape them. I mounted those on some wood circles (I burned a pattern around the edge of them with my Versa-Tool that looks pretty cool!) I edged the photos with strands of rhinestones and then adhered them in the center.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur
Done? Of course not! I took some gold and brown beads strung on wire and adhered those around the circles - this helped cover up gaps between the circle and the plaques where there weren't any embellishments.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 11 - Gwen Lafleur

Okay, last step - for real this time! I took out some Liquid Pearls and added dots along my Dresden to bring the colors out from the center and into other parts of the piece.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 12 - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! C'est fini! 

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Just a few close-ups...

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I'm thrilled with the results :) I hope you enjoyed today's project! Of course, now is the part that I'm sure everyone is waiting for...

GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Walnut Hollow!

SG & WH Blog Hop Giveaway image

Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your
chance to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per blog please.)

You have until Sunday, March 19th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and Walnut Hollow's Facebook page on Monday, March 20th.

 

March 15

March 16 

March 17 

 


February ARTifacts Art Journal Spreads

It's time for the next monthly installment of the #ARTifacts 2017 art journaling project! (Details about the project and the first month's pages are in my original post.)

ARTifacts-Project-Banner---Gwen-Lafleur

February was a very busy month - lots of projects, lots going on! I managed to squeeze all of my photos into just three spreads, though. I did them more by theme this month instead of chronologically since that seemed to make the most sense.

For the first spread I focused on introducing my artsy goals for the month, then featured my February StencilGirl projects (stenciled and embroidered handmade book using Kraft-Tex, and another handmade book using ICE Resin coated stenciled papers for windows in the pages.) Coincidentally, the little handmade books inside embroidered book from the Kraft-Tex blog hop are the ones I'm using for my ARTifacts journals.

 

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

The tag pulls out of the little envelope to show pictures of the second project:


ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

The back of the tag has my journaling about the two projects.


ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 For the second spread, I focused on the projects that comprised my main goal for the month - pulling together the new classes I needed to flesh out my in-person class offerings, along with at least one sample for each class (as well as a new sample for an existing class.)


ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Here's just the left-hand page - I have kind of a folder that opens up to show all of the other class samples and the journaling. On the front are photos of the samples for the Of Angels and Icons and Mixed Media Floral Still Life classes.

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 2a - Gwen Lafleur

Here's the inside with more samples, including the new one for the Mixed Media Shrines / Shadow Boxes class (which I'm teaching in Connecticut this May if you missed it,) along with the Art Journal Design: Stamp, Stencil, & Collage workshop and the Mini Mixed Media Medallions class.

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 2b - Gwen Lafleur

The last page was just a quick overview of the art journaling I managed to get done from the Wanderlust class lessons. I keep getting further and further behind! Too much to do... I'm always happy when I can get anything done for this.

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 3 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for this month! Still tons going on even if I managed to squeeze the recap into fewer pages this month. I can't wait to see what the other ARTifacts participants were up to in February!

As always, you can see all of my pages for the entire year on the ARTifacts page on my website :)

 


March ATCs - In the Garden

It's time for another ATC swap! The theme for our group this month was "In the Garden," and it came with another fabulous kit to play with. I managed to work ahead enough that I didn't have to do all nine cards the night before they went in the mail, so that's a win for me!

Here's what I sent in for our swap this month:

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden - Gwen Lafleur

I dug into my old scrapbook supplies a bit to try and do some stash busting. Here are close-ups of each of the cards and a little description of what I used:

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

Both of these use dies from the Spellbinders Art Deco collection. On the left, I layered several cutouts from our collage sheets with patterned paper, ribbon, and adorable pieced bumble bees (Jolee's, I think? They were in the kit.) On the right, similar formula with a white paper leaf from the kit plus some flat-back adhesive pearls from my stash, liquid pearls, an adhesive pearl border, and scraps of a border punched from gold cardstock. Both were edged with gold wax.

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 3-4 - Gwen Lafleur

Above left is another frame from a Spellbinders die, flowers cut from patterned paper, ribbon, stenciled background, and the image was selected because her expression seems to say exactly how she feels about that hat. On the right, lots of glitter, a patterned cardstock frame from my stash (Pebbles, I think,) and a cutout layered on patterned paper. There's some stenciling in the background that's hard to see, but it's there!

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

Above left, collage cut-out layered over another collage cutout that worked as the background, plus flowers and trims from the kit. The top border was punched from gold cardstock. Top right - this might be my favorite one. I layered three collage images from the kit with ribbon and another punched border, and there's light stenciling in the background.

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

Top left, stenciling in the background that I went over with glitter glue, then a few collage cutouts and a "rusted" diecut from a Spellbinders set. On the right, stenciled background, punched border, another patterned frame, and a fun charm from the kit.

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Card 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Last but not least, patterned paper background, the frame is a printed chipboard diecut (Studio Calico, I think,) around a collage cutout and patterned background. I added flowers and trim and some Liquid Pearls.

That's it for this month! My cards are off and should be there any day... I can't wait to see what everyone else did and which cards I get back!

 


Fun with Printmaking

If you follow me on social media, I'm sure you've seen that lately I've been a bit obsessed with printmaking. I'm block printing, making my own "blocks" to print with, and I even dipped a toe into screen printing! Why, you ask? Well, more and more I want something really customized in my work, and if it's also a pattern that's unique or special, or even better, something I've designed myself? All the better!

I started by experimenting with some of my previously unblemished Indian woodblocks and tested out the best papers and paints. 

Printmaking - Testing Blockprint Papers - Gwen Lafleur

I'm really liking printing with rice and mulberry papers, and I've settled on fluid textile paints as the medium that works best for me (especially in this dry climate!)

From there, I tried printing on BFK Rives paper and then adding watercolor (and glitter, because I couldn't resist!) I LOVE how this turned out! This particular peacock woodblock is about 7-8" tall and it's absolutely fabulous.

Printmaking - Blockprints with Watercolor - Gwen Lafleur

Having determined that I really love making my own hand-printed papers, I decided to do something to allow me to work a bit more large-scale... I got some large sheets of craft foam and a big sheet of foam core and assembled my own jumbo printing mat. This gives me a lot more surface area to print on larger paper, or to print multiple papers at the same time.

Printmaking - Printing Station 2 - Gwen Lafleur

My studio is fairly small, but luckily I have the perfect little alcove upstairs where I'm able to set up a table and work. This is normally my sewing table, but for now it's a printing station! I lined up all my woodblocks along the ledge (which also doubles as a drying station.)

Printmaking - Printing Station 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I started churning out papers right and left - I was so thrilled with how they looked!

Printmaking - Blockprinting 1 - Gwen Lafleur

It didn't take long before I was experimenting with two-tone printing... it takes a lot longer since everything is printed twice, but it looks soooo good!

Printmaking - Blockprinting Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

From here, I decided to pull out some of my own stamp / block designs and print with them. (You can print with paint on a rubber block, but you need to scrub it out completely as soon as you're done!)

Printmaking - Hand Printing with My Designs - Gwen Lafleur

I think they look pretty good next to the ones from professionally carved blocks!

This encouraged me to start something I've been meaning to do for well over a year - I had all the stuff to make my own screens for screen printing and just hadn't done it. Finally, I buckled down and assembled a screen, then drew out a design, let it dry, filled it, let it dry, and then washed out the drawing so I'd have a finished screen. Once it was ready for printing, I got my inks and some rice paper and had a good time!

Printmaking - Screenprinted Lotus - Gwen Lafleur

I'm pretty happy with it, especially for a first try! I have the stuff to make about 5 more, I think, so we'll see what I do next :)

Finally, I decided that I needed to print some butterflies, but I didn't have any woodblocks and I didn't want to use commercial rubber stamps. So I found several woodblock designs online and used them as the inspiration to design and carve my own butterflies. The large one is about 4" across, and I used Eco-Karve rubber for the first time and I LOVED it!

Printmaking - My Butterfly Stamps - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, I had to do some printing with these beauties as well... 

Printmaking - Handcarved Butterflies on Mulberry - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, this last weekend I decided to do something that's been on my list for a while - I've long wanted to carve some large versions of different Chinese characters; I decided to start with "prosperity" and "double happiness."

Printmaking - Handcarved Chinese Character Stamps - Gwen Lafleur

I'm really pleased with how these turned out, and they print beautifully! I can't wait to try these with some red rice paper.

Printmaking - Chinese Characters on Mulberry - Gwen Lafleur

Whew! That's a lot of printing going on here... I think I've done close to 100 pages in just over a week. I'm excited to start using these in my work, and also to put these into some fabulous themed embellishment packs I'm making up to put in my shop (coming soon!) Of course, this has been so much fun that you can count on seeing much more printmaking from me in the future :)

 


Mixed Media Shadow Boxes / Shrines Workshop

Hi all! As you probably know, I've been working hard over the last few months to get new classes available to be scheduled for in-person workshops. I'm excited to announce that my first workshop of 2017 is now open for registration!

I'll be teaching Mixed Media Shadow Boxes / Shrines at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, CT. The class will be Wednesday, May 3 from 10am to 5pm (there's a 1-hour break in there for lunch,) and the class is $100 for the day, which includes the cost of the supplies I'll provide (clay, shared tools, a few other goodies...)

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Shrines - Class Samples - Gwen LafleurHopefully I'll see plenty of you there! I know it's a weekday, but I'll be in the area for an art retreat that weekend and Tracie was kind enough to invite me to teach while I'm there. As a little teaser, I'll also be back at the Clubhouse June 16-17 with more classes! (We're still working out details, but watch for another announcement soon!)

In the meantime, you can get all of the class details and lots of close-up photos of the samples on my website, or you can call the store at 860-399-4443 to register today!

Hope to see you there!

 


Wanderlust 2017 Weeks 1-5

This year I wanted to challenge myself to do another year-long class; the last two years I did Inspiration Wednesday (although I stopped in August 2016 and haven't yet finished - too much traveling the last half of the year!) but this year I wanted to try something different. I liked the idea of Wanderlust from Everything Art, since it looked like a good mix of teachers, techniques, and learning about different tools that I want to try. So I signed up and as the lessons have begun, I've been trying to keep from getting too far behind! 

The first lesson was from Kasia Avery (one of the hosts) and was kind of an introduction - this lesson is the title page in my book, which is a new 11x11 handmade art journal (I'm LOVING both the book and the size!)

Wanderlust Week 1 - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

My statement for the year is "to learn, to explore, to grow." 

Wanderlust Week 1 - Art Journal Page Close-up 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Another close-up with some of the layers and texture on the page:

Wanderlust Week 1 - Art Journal Page Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Week 2 was with Mary Wangerin and I really liked this one - it was kind of a mandala inspired project with a lot of layers and exploration.

Wanderlust Week 2 - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

If you look closely, you can see some hints of the many layers on this page:

Wanderlust Week 2 - Art Journal Page Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Some fun texture too :)

Wanderlust Week 2 - Art Journal Page Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Week 3 was with Wilna Furstenberg and I really enjoyed this one as well... I added a bit more color and pattern and made it more "me" (but we're supposed to do that, right?)

Wanderlust Week 3 - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

Close-up of some of the page elements... the flowers are all hand-painted with a detail brush and acrylic ink. I added stenciling on top.

Wanderlust Week 3 - Art Journal Page Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Week 4 was a break for catching up (I'm so glad they built those in!) Week 5 was back with Kasia again, this time just working on breaking the blank page and creating backgrounds, with a focus on maybe using products or techniques that we don't normally use. I made a few backgrounds, including this one that featured my neglected Gelatos:

Wanderlust Week 5 - Art Journal Background - Gwen Lafleur

I'm looking forward to finding some more time to get to work on the next sets of lessons. It's fun to have something I can do now and then that's just for me and challenges me to go out of the box, try something new, or look at a new perspective. I like it so far!

 


Art Journal Design: Stamp, Stencil & Collage

Over the last month I've slowly been working on filling out my list of available classes to offer to stores or groups interested in having me come teach in person. I finally finished up the sample and class write-up for the last one that I had planned for now; I'm calling it Art Journal Design: Stamp, Stencil, & Collage. This project is for an art journaling class where we make a simple art journal from watercolor paper and then decorate the cover and do 2-3 spreads. 

Art Journal Cover - Stamp Stencil Collage 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, it's not just any old random art journaling... this workshop is structured around learning fun mixed media techniques along with a series of design principles that I use regularly in all of my work. I'm sharing my secrets here! LOL. Of course, as the name suggests, stamping, stenciling, and collage will definitely be involved!

The cover has some principles and techniques, of course, and then the three inside spreads really get into the meat of the subject.

Art Journal Design Class - Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

You can definitely see by the sample spreads that we'll cover quite a variety of techniques and topics in class!

Art Journal Design Class - Spread 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I'm worried that we won't have time to do three spreads in class, but we'll see... I probably over-planned (surprised, anyone?) but I'd always much rather try and give you more in class than less!

Art Journal Design Class - Spread 3 - Gwen Lafleur

This one comes with a surprise inside...

Art Journal Design Class - Spread 3d - Gwen Lafleur

You can see more detail photos as well as course description on the class page on my website.

I've had a lot of requests to make classes available online as well, so if this is a class that you really want to take and it's not offered in person near you, let me know so I can add it to my list to make into a virtual class.

If you're interested in hosting a class, shoot me an email!

 


Gwen's Gems: Stenciled ICE Resin Papers in an Art Journal

Hi everyone, it's time for Gwen's Gems again over on StencilGirl Talk! This month I'm tackling a new technique that I've wanted to try for a long time... I used ICE Resin to coat stenciled papers (so fun and cool!) and then used those papers to make a handmade art journal with window pages and covers.

Stenciled ICE Resin Window Art Journal 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you head over to StencilGirl Talk to see the full post with instructions and more photos of the finished book!

 


Mini Mixed Media Medallions

I'm still at it, working feverishly in my studio as I try and finish up the samples for all of the prospective in-person classes I'm offering. The latest samples are for a class I'm calling Mini Mixed Media Medallions. I've used clay, metal findings, beads, and other goodies to make "medallions" (for lack of a better term) that can be anything from a funky statement pendant to an elaborate version of a Lover's Eye (or not so elaborate, but I like everything pretty over the top!)

Here are the three I made as samples:

Mini Mixed Media Medallions - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, I have individual photos and close-ups for each of them... I can't decide which is my favorite. Maybe this one?

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 1 - Gwen Lafleur

It would be a bit big as a necklace, but maybe on the cover of a book?

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 1 - Book Cover - Gwen Lafleur

This might be my favorite too...

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 2 - Gwen Lafleur

It could definitely work as a pendant - a very funky, tribal feeling statement pendant...

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 2 - Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

Last but not least, this one went through a rough phase, but I think I pulled it out in the end and I really love this one too:

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Maybe a book cover? More likely the focal point of a larger mixed media piece at some point in the future.

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 3 - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

There are more photos on the class page along with a class description, etc... (this class isn't scheduled anywhere as of right now, but hopefully it will be!) If you'd like to see this as an online class, make sure to leave me a comment and let me know (I'm keeping track of requests so I know what to work on first when I start putting together online classes.) If you're interested in hosting a class, shoot me an email!

 

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Mixed Media Floral Still-Life

I've been on a total creative roll over the last few weeks! So many ideas are running through my mind, and I've been lucky to spend pretty much all of my free time in the studio getting those ideas out of my head and into my art. 

One of the larger ongoing projects I've been working on has been making samples for the new in-person workshops I'm offering for stores or groups who are interested in having me come teach. The latest is a sample for another new full-day workshop - Mixed Media Floral Still-Life paintings, and I was actually kind of shocked at how quickly and easily this one spilled out and onto the canvas. I love how it came out, and I hope you do too!

Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Gwen Lafleur

Just a few close-ups of the piece:

Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

The focus for this class will be working with paper, acrylics, and mark-making to make our own beautiful floral compositions. If you want more info, you can check out the class page with more photos and description. If you're interested in hosting a class, shoot me an email!

 


Make a Stenciled, Embroidered Book with Kraft-Tex!

Hi everyone, I'm so excited to be joining in on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and C&T Publishing (makers of Kraft-Tex!) This week the creative teams are using stencils with Kraft-Tex... I can't tell you how much fun it was to stencil on this incredible product. It's so cool! I could keep talking, but why not just show you?

First off, here's what I made - it's a riff on a traveler's notebook style book cover with two book inserts; I made it with elastics to give me the ability to swap pamphlet books in and out of the inside, only I customized the structure to be more like an actual book.

Stenciled-Kraft-Tex-Notebook-Cover---Front-Bottom-View---Gwen-Lafleur-sm

Here's how it all came together...

I started with the brand new turquoise, pre-washed Kraft-Tex and cut a piece approximately the size of the spine and covers, then used some Archival Ink and my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil to put down a pattern on what would become the front cover of my book.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that Kraft-Tex is paper, but it has a lot of the qualities of fabric and leather, so I started the process of embroidering my peacock feather designs. 

  Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

A few tips for sewing on Kraft-Tex:

  • It feels like leather, but it's still paper. If you put the holes too close together, it will tear. (You'll probably want a designated Kraft-Tex or paper needle, for either hand or machine sewing.)
  • If you poke a hole in it and it's not where you wanted the hole, it will show - it doesn't disappear the same way it would on fabric. To outline each section of embroidery, I used a needle to pre-poke the holes for my back-stitched borders.
  • Use a needle with a hole that's big enough for your thread, but not unnecessarily big - you don't want too-wide holes because it will show.
  • It can be hard to pull the needle through - I wore Finger Gloves on my thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. This helped me grip the needle to pull it through as well as protect my fingers (I hate thimbles... I have a really hard time working while wearing one.) The other big help for pulling the needle and thread through - Thread Heaven - it takes some of the hand stress out of the stitching process.
  • Working with a design like this one with sections of color, work from the inside out. Re-use existing holes if you can when setting new stitches.

Honestly, all of that satin stitching probably should NOT have worked... lol, but I love how it came out! Of course, you do NOT have to stitch! You could stencil the design on as a pattern and then use paints, Liquid Pearls, markers, etc... to add in color and details.

When the stitching was done, I wanted to put some structure behind it to make sure that my stitches were secure, so I cut pieces of thin chipboard and adhered them to the back of my cover piece where the front and back covers were going to be.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I cut another piece of Chocolate Kraft-Tex the same size as my cover and clipped it to the back to sandwich the chipboard and give me nice inside covers in a contrasting color. (Mine wasn't pre-washed... I cut a chunk off of the roll and threw it in with a load of colors in my washing machine, detergent, fabric softener, and all! It's colorfast, so there was no bleeding. Then I took it out and laid it on the table to air dry.)

I pre-poked holes around the chipboard and back-stitched with gold Sizzle thread from Wonderfil to bring it all together.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

You can also see where I added some ribbon... I had the perfect piece of peacock feather patterned ribbon so I tucked the ends between the pieces of Kraft-Tex and sewed it into place as I stitched the border. 

After I finished the front cover, I poked the holes for the back and then slipped another piece of chipboard into the spot which would become the spine. I kept stitching until the whole thing was finished.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I punched holes where I wanted to insert my elastics and put in grommets, then added Tim Holtz elastics (2 kinds - one for the inside to hold the book inserts, one with only one end that would wrap around the outside as a closure.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I went back and stitched a few beads onto my peacock feathers as a finishing touch.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6a - Gwen Lafleur

You could leave the inside covers plain, but of course... I stenciled them! I used gold pigment ink through my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil and then heat embossed.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6b - Gwen Lafleur

With that, the covers were done!

Of course, next I needed to make some booklets that would fit inside. I measured my book - the height shouldn't be much taller than the distance between the holes where your inside elastics go. I kept the width about 1/4" smaller than the width of the cover. I cut and folded some papers - bristol and watercolor paper, and also cut and folded covers from Stone Kraft-Tex and Chocolate Kraft-Tex. Then I used my awl to punch four holes into the creases (you want an even number of holes for this method.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I used the pamphlet stitch and waxed linen thread to bind the books together. In total, it takes about 10 minutes to make one of these little books... quick and easy! I repeated this process for the second book so I could fill up both of the elastics I'd attached to the spine.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7a - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the fun part... embellishing the covers! Starting with the stone book, I once again stenciled with Archival Ink, this time using my Decorative Medallion stencil. Then I used Liquid Pearls / dimensional paints and Stickles and went over the top (this is another way you could do the outside cover if you don't want to sew.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

I added a sari applique in the center (I picked it out first and then matched the colors of the Liquid Pearls and the Stickles,) and a scribbled gold border around the edge.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8a - Gwen Lafleur

For the second book, I did something a little different to decorate the cover... I stenciled with Versamark ink, then with the stencil still in place, I went over top of it while it was still wet using bronze PanPastels.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

I sealed that layer with a workable fixative, then used the same process to embellish with dimensional paints and Stickles.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9a - Gwen Lafleur

I let everything dry... I just love how these turned out!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur

Slide your new journals into the elastic in the cover and you're ready to go!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10a - Gwen Lafleur    

I really like the stiffer, more structured covers, but you could totally follow this same process to construct your book and just leave the chipboard out. In that case, though, you'll want to make sure that the height of the books you make to go inside is a little shorter than the distance between the holes in the spine... without the chipboard, it would probably collapse it a bit to add that extra tension.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10b - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! A finished reusable notebook cover with your own custom books inside. I'm already using mine as an art journal :)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur

That's it from me... I hope you enjoyed the project and tutorial! Of course, now it's time for the best part of all...

 GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products

AND a $25 Gift Certificate for C&T Publishing!!

February Blog Hop GIVEAWAY image
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)


You have until Saturday, February 18th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and C&T Publishing’s Blog on Sunday, February 19.

February 15

February 16 

February 17 

 


Of Angels & Icons

Lately I've been working on putting together a list of class offerings so that I can try and schedule a few in-person teaching appearances this year. I've already added some existing classes to the list, but I've never taught full-day classes and I'm working on developing a few (along with a few new half-day classes) so that I can add variety and options to the list.

One of the new classes I'm going to offer is called Of Angels & Icons and it's inspired by a few things I love all mixed together. The first is Mexican folk art - I love the bright colors and the relative simplicity of the shapes and figures. The second are icons - I spent ten days in Russia last summer and visited a lot of Orthodox churches and cathedrals. I was incredibly impressed by the beautiful icons and the artistry and detail (and let's not kid ourselves... I love how ornate they were with lots of beading, gems, embroidery - they were stunning!) I took those two influences and mixed them with a touch of Indian / Asian flair and my own personal style.

I was super excited to work on the sample for this class, and I LOVE how it came out!

Mixed-Media-Angel---Gwen-Lafleur

Here are a few close-ups so you can see some of the details:

Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Her halo is based on a gorgeous diecut from Spellbinders, her wings are from the Fractured Angel stencil by Kate Thompson.


Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-1---Gwen-Lafleur

The heart is hand-made - I used clay, jewels, metal findings and paints and I love it!


Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-1---Gwen-Lafleur

I also hand made my own applique for the sample (making the applique isn't part of the class - sewing takes a while!) I used die-cut felt flowers from the Tim Holtz Tattered Flowers Sizzix die and the leaves were from another Spellbinders die set (did you know wafer thin dies could cut wool felt? I didn't, but they can... beautifully!) I spent WAY too much time adding all the stitching and a little beading, but I love how it came out. I even took my first stab at doing a fish scale technique with sequins. I'm thinking I'll do a separate tutorial on making your own appliques. I know I'll make more - I learned a ton from making this one.

Mixed-Media-Angel-Side-View-2---Gwen-Lafleur

The background features one of my all time favorite stencils - the Marrakech Mix stencil by Michelle Ward. There are tons of other stencils in the background, and some in the body as well but they all kind of fade into the background (deliberately, of course!) The head is a Dina Wakley Media stamp - it was just perfect for this project!

Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-5---Gwen-Lafleur

It was so much fun to work on this and to plan out how this class will work. I'm really hoping someone chooses this one for me to teach at some point, but I guess we'll see! If not, I still love her and I'm going to be making more soon!

 


ARTifacts - January 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen a few of the art journal spreads I've posted recently that are labeled #ARTifacts. This is a new art journal I've started to try and document my creative / artsy year. If you haven't heard about this, the mastermind behind this project is Seth Apter (read more about the concept on his blog.) I think it's such a cool idea! I've already been tracking everything I do during the year in a kanban board on Trello, but I love this idea because it really celebrates each project and ultimately the book becomes a piece of art on its own.

So without further ado, here are the pages in my book for January (it was kind of a busy month for me, so there was a lot to document!)

Title page:

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---Intro-Page---Gwen-Lafleur

The first spread was entirely dedicated to my first beaded art quilt. I worked on it for almost 10 months, finally finishing it last month. I think wrapping up a project that big definitely deserves two pages!

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-1---Gwen-Lafleur

The second spread is probably my favorite... this one documented my January Gwen's Gems project as well as the cards I made for my bi-monthly ATC swap.

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2---Gwen-LafleurThe book I'm working in is handmade, and only about 5"x7". I wanted the pictures to be big enough to really see the project, so that meant I had to get creative in order to have room to write and also decorate the page. So, there are lots of interactive flaps on both sides of this spread!

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur

For the third spread, I documented the projects I'd done for Seth's new Paper Artsy release, and you can also see where I tipped in one of the jumbo ATC cards I'd made in January as well. Again, I had to get creative with the space, so this time it was a library card pocket and card to hold the pictures and journaling (it was for Library of Memories Take 2, so that seemed appropriate!)

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-3--Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-3--Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-3--Gwen-Lafleur

Naturally, the fourth spread including the back of the jumbo ATC included my post on Julie Fei-Fan Balzers blog for her blogiversary celebration. On the right I got pretty fancy in order to document the launch of my new website and Facebook page. I block printed on the flap and embellished, then underneath I did a photo collage of all the work I'd done so far and wrote about it.

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-4---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-4---Gwen-Lafleur

For the last January spread, I documented my project day for Creative JumpStart 2017 as well as a few art journal pages I'd managed to get done that I particularly love.

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-5---Gwen-LafleurWhew! That's it for January... looking back at all of that kind of makes me tired! lol. I certainly got a lot done as my artsy year got off to a fast but very good start. Lots more to come, I hope!

I've put together a gallery page on my website where I'll post photos each month so that I have a single location for the entire project... I'll add new photos there as I finish spreads in the book and then link to the summary blog post after it's live. That's the plan, at least ;) Hopefully I can keep it up, the first month was lots of fun!  

 


Creative JumpStart and My New Website!

Hi everyone! Just popping in with a few quick updates. If we're friends or you follow me on Facebook, you've probably already seen these, but just in case you missed them I wanted to post here as well.

First up, yesterday was the second-to-last workshop / video for Creative JumpStart 2017 and it was me!

My Day on CJS2017 - Gwen Lafleur

Yes, today was the last day of new videos, but you can still sign up through October of this year, and you can still download all of the videos through November. Bonus, now you can get feedback from the people who are already in it so you know how awesome it's been! I've been super inspired as I'm watching the videos and have lots of new ideas and techniques to try!

Second, and I'm pretty excited about this... I finally got around to launching my website where I can host my portfolio, an online store (coming soon,) and also where I can get all of my tutorials in one place so you can see the projects without lots of searching and scrolling and then link directly to the tutorial.

Blog Banner - Gwen's Mixed Media Tutorials

I've also added a little banner to the sidebar on the right and in my menu (look for the hamburger icon in the navigation) so you can jump there quickly from my blog.

There are over 60 tutorials already (I was pretty shocked at how many there are!) and I'll continue to add as new ones are posted here on the blog and elsewhere on the web.

Of course, an artist website means that I needed to create an Artist Page on Facebook (you can't connect a website to a personal profile,) so if you want to follow me there, I'll be posting all kinds of artsy goodness :)

Gwen Lafleur Studios Facebook Page

I'll post updates when I add any major changes - there should be an online store coming soon with original art and jewelry, probably some collage packs, a few homemade art journals, and eventually I'm hoping to get some of my own rubber stamp designs available for sale... but more on all of that later. For now, I'm just excited that this is up!

That's it for today... hope you're feeling inspired and ready to make some art!

 


January ATCs - Of Mystery & Magick

It's time for sharing for my bi-monthly ATC swap! I'm lucky enough to be in a fabulous ATC swap group with some friends from Connecticut, and this month's theme / kit was called Of Mystery & Magick. It was such a fabulous kit! I was really swamped... holidays, some family stuff, assignments, my actual full-time job... so I almost just gave up and didn't send mine in this month, but I loved the kit and theme so much that I pushed through and finished them!

Here are all of my cards that I sent in to swap:

Jan2017 ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

Can you tell this kit and theme were right up my alley? So much fun! Here are close-ups, of course.

Below left is fun patterned paper from the kit, gold foil washi tape, trim and sticky rhinestones, and the sun kind of thing was cut from some really cool fabric paper in the kit. Right is more fabric paper background and more images cut from fabric paper. I loved the little applique thing kind of like a halo. Woodgrain star sequins and glitter glue in the background.

Jan2017 ATCs 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 

Next, below left I painted the background gold, more cut-out fabric paper, gold foil washi tape, glitter tape along the bottom, glitter glue in the background, and some fun jewels and findings stuck on. Below right, patterned paper background, more foil washi tape, the waves are another sheet of awesome fabric paper, then more glitter tape, findings, rhinestones, and glitter glue.


Jan2017 ATCs 1 - Gwen Lafleur

In the kit I had some little sun and moon charms, so I thought it would be cool to do Sun, Moon, and Stars cards and I added some metal star stickers from my stash. 

Below left, I stenciled in the background with my Decorative Medallion stencil then traced it with red glitter glue. The border is done with a Fiskars / Jenni Bowlin border punch on red foil paper, then added trim and charms. Middle, fabric paper background, more border punches (Fiskars, silver foil paper,) more gold washi tape, trim, charms. Below right, fabric paper background, another Fiskars border punch in gold foil, more washi tape and glitter glue. The stars are from a set of fairly new Theresa Collins embellishments.

Jan2017 ATCs - Sun Moon and Stars - Gwen Lafleur

Here are the last two cards:

I used some fun sequins from the kit to make a sort of halo along with jewels and half a brass finding. Glitter glue in her hair, stenciling on gold foil paper in the background. (I used my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil.)

Jan2017 ATCs 3 - Gwen Lafleur

 

Last but not least, gold foil paper background from the kit, some foil washi tape (from a set I found at Target,) waves cut from fabric paper, jewel crown (Say it in Crystals from Prima,) and then the bird is from the kit.


Jan2017 ATCs 3 - Gwen Lafleur

The swap is tomorrow... I can't wait to see which cards I get back and to find out what the next theme is!

 


Tutorial Redo - Colorful Garbage ATCs!

Hi all! Just popping in to let you know that I was lucky enough to be a guest poster on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog today as part of her 10-year Blogiversary celebration! I got to do a tutorial redo, and while it was hard to pick from among her many fabulous tutorials, I decided to put my own spin on her Colorful Garbage ATCs.

Here's my version:

Tutorial-Redo---Garbage-ATCs---Finished-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over to Julie's blog to see more photos and my take on the tutorial!

 


Playing with New Seth Apter Products

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to have been asked by Seth Apter to create some projects with his new stamps and Wood Chips from PaperArtsy! For these projects, I thought it would be fun to take inspiration from the Library of Memories masterclass I took with him in 2015 and make a new version of that class project. 

Library of Memories Take 2 - Gwen Lafleur

These two projects are made to fit together, so here you can see how it looks when you put the book inside of the case:

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book in Case Open - Gwen Lafleur

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book in Case - Gwen Lafleur wm

There are lots more pictures and some short tutorials and process descriptions over on StencilGirl Talk, but that post is so chock full of photos and information that it was too long to include everything that I wanted to share from this project.

So, without further ado, here's a bonus tutorial showing my process for making my own patterned papers to use inside the handmade book.

On several of the book pages I did a patchwork background technique that Seth taught us in class. This time I made my own patterned papers using his StencilGirl stencils, his PaperArtsy paints, and his new stamp sets.

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

To start, I took five sheets of 28lb copy paper and painted the backgrounds. (I liked this paper weight because it's sturdier and a nicer quality than regular copy paper, but it was still thin enough to easily use for making backgrounds in my book.)

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I used paints from Seth's PaperArtsy paint kit, as well as a collection of some of his favorite paint favorite colors. From left to right, Mahogany, Terracotta, Toffee, Midnight, and Squid Ink.

When the backgrounds were dry, I went back through and used the Urban Outsiders Stencil to stencil repeated shapes. I decided that each piece of paper would be a different shape, and I started with circles. I used Turquoise paint to start.

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I used the Urban Insiders Circle Stencil and the Techno Insiders Circle Stencil and added patterns inside of some of the outlines. 

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur
I repeated the process using stamps instead of stencils - I used the circle stamp images from both of Seth's new stamp sets. ESA 03 and ESA 04 (part of the Eclectica collection.) I stamped these with teal and red pigment inks and heat embossed with teal and red embossing powder. I also used a Versamark pen to draw in a few places and then heat embossed that as well (it's a fun way to add some extra details!)

Note that in some places, I stamped on top of the stenciling - Seth designed the stamps to work with the stencils, so they layer really well!

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I just repeated that process with the other four shapes until I had five full sheets of patterned paper. In the end, I used every stamp in both the ESA 03 and ESA 04 stamp collections, and I also used all of the following stencils:

From there, they were ready to be cut up and used to make patchwork backgrounds!

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I also used pieces from these sheets to make the end papers for my handmade book...

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

...I cut out larger sections to be used as focal points on some of the pages...

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages 9-10a - Gwen Lafleur

... and I also used some of them to make backgrounds and covered the entire page.

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

I still have quite a few scraps left - they'll be great on future projects, so I'll make sure not to throw them out!

That's it for my post here, but make sure you hop over to StencilGirl Talk to see my full project and more tutorials, plus even more fabulous projects guaranteed to inspire!