Stencil Play

Stencils are a simple and interesting way to add a layer to a journal page. But they can do a lot more. Used with different colors, stencils set a theme, create a pattern, help colors blend in interesting ways. They can also be used as a resist.

I love this stencil of numbers. I have another one, too, with numbers as a positive image. Both are from The Crafter’s Workshop.

In this straightforward use of this number stencil, I put the stencil down on a blank sheet of paper and sprayed inks onto the stencil, let the paper absorb the ink and removed (and cleaned) the stencil. In this case, the stencil acted as a resist against the white watercolor paper.

I then sprayed the paper first, then put the stencil down and sprayed over the first color. Blending two colors gives the numbers a softer look, but it also creates a background for anything having to do with measurement, counting, or money.

Collage is my favorite medium, so I used both the positive and negative stencils, created some gel-transfer butterflies, then collaged some “magic words” from the box of interesting words I keep. Using the words as major focal point, I discovered a John Ciardi poem fragment that used those words.

You can  create pieces of paper that suit you, no need to torture yourself looking up poems. I had to memorize hundreds of poems in school, many of which are stuck in my brain and surface randomly.

I wrote the poems between the word blocks. While I like the mix of words and numbers, this piece seems a bit busy to me. The gel-transfer butterflies are interesting and I’ll make more of them.

Finally, my favorite collage of the series. Using color and geometry as the vocabulary, there are no words. There are some incongruous elements–Monsoon Papers, ribbon, and the pieces from a hole punch. The combination works. I could add words to it, but for right now, I’m satisfied.

Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach who will be teaching One Sentence Journaling at the Great American Scrapbook Convention in Chantilly, VA on June 22 and 23.