I'm super excited to share that I have five new stencil designs releasing today from StencilGirl! I'm really excited about these stencils - it's a bit of a mixed bag and in the past I've always released in collections, but each one is a design that I really loved and so I decided to just put them all out there together in a bit of an eclectic mix. Without further ado... here they are! (You can tell that mine are already getting plenty of use :)
Do these designs look familiar at all? If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these motifs before since most of them came from the stamps I carved in the last round of Carve December. It's not unusual for my stamp designs to turn into stencils... I started counting how many of my hand-carved stamps are now available in some form or another from StencilGirl and it was a surprisingly large number!
The Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms actually started as a drawing for a stencil, but then I turned it into a 3-part stamp so that I could print it in different colors. I loved how that came out, so I decided to submit the stencil design, and here we are! I'm especially thrilled to have my first Asian themed stencil... it's been a long time coming, and hopefully this is the first of many!
I'll be sharing the individual stencils and the inspiration behind them as well as some sample projects here, as well as on Facebook and Instagram over the next week or so, so make sure to keep an eye out for inspiration with my new designs!
Today I want to share a bit more about my new 9x12 stencils. The first one is called Not Afraid to Try.
As background on this design, in 2009 I went back to school to get my MBA and during my second year I took an elective called Business Judgment, which was my favorite class of the entire program (it was much more interesting than it sounds!) One of the books we read in class focused on the concept that our own fears are our biggest impediments to making decisions and moving forward, and with achieving success in both our professional and personal lives. This really stuck with me, and I ended up making it the subject of my final project for the class (which I aced, by the way!) I've continued to keep that as a mantra in the years since, and for close to a year now I've really wanted to have a version of that concept as a phrase on a stencil so that I could use it for art journaling and other projects. I thought that it was probably likely that others might want this as well, and luckily StencilGirl agreed with me!
The words on this stencil are all hand-drawn, and you can also mask off individual letters to form other words and phrases like I did with the page below from my latest artist book which reads, "Doubt Not, Fear Not." (I stenciled just part of the "o" and then drew in the horizontal line to make an "e.")
Of course, I couldn't have a quote without some decorative elements, so I added two borders which were inspired by traditional Indian woodblock designs, as well as a fun ornamental motif that's a combination of inspiration from a vintage metal finding and architectural elements. You can repeat the borders to make them longer, or turn them into backgrounds! That's what I did on the back side of the above page - since the background is translucent, I wanted them to show through to the front a bit (as you can see above,) but also stand on their own if you were looking at the reverse side of the page.
My other new 9x12 is called Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms, and it was inspired by my first two visits to China where I explored the Yu Garden in Shanghai and also learned about the symbolism of the plum blossoms during a Chinese watercolor painting demonstration - these trees flower in late winter and have come to embody the ideas of perseverance and hope, as well as beauty and purity. After I learned about the symbolism, I developed an immediate and abiding love for the blooms of this tree; I have a painting of plum blossoms in my home that I bought from a master artist in Beijing that I had framed and keep displayed in a prominent place to remind me of the concept of hope and beauty blossoming through adversity.
I also added Chinese characters for beauty (top,) harmony (middle,) and tranquility (bottom,) to describe the feeling while visiting those stunning traditional gardens. The design of the plum blossom branch was deliberately created as an outline to allow you to color the flowers with whatever color combinations and mediums you choose. Here you can see how I stenciled the design onto rice paper and then colored it with gouache:
I tore out the designs from this page and used them on the same art journal spread I showed above... here's a close-up so you can see the blooms in particular. (The Chinese characters on this page mean "strength" and are from another of my hand-carved stamps.)
I also used the Chinese characters from this stencil to make a tag - these frequently end up as tip-ins in my art journal.
I'll be back soon with more inspiration behind the other three designs... in the meantime, make sure you're following me on Instagram where I'll continue to post projects with the new designs!