When my son was small, I lectured him on using items for the purpose they had been designed. Umbrellas weren’t parachutes, and forks weren’t garden tools. I often think of those lectures when I re-purpose one item as an art tool.
I purchased a chipboard book–one that had a number of thick cardboard pages shaped like a castle. Instead of attaching the pages with binder rings and making a book, I coated the pages with gesso, then matte medium, to protect and make them water-resistant. When dry, they became stencils. In this long journal, put three castle pieces high on the page, coverthe rest of the page with a blank piece of paper to protect it, and spray ink on the journal page.
To create spray ink, I used Adirondack re-inkers, bottles of concentrated ink used to refill stamp pads. This brand is from Ranger, the company most people associate with Tim Holtz. I used two drops of denim and one drop of eggplant in a Mini-Mister, added 10 drops of water, and sprayed across the top. You can mix re-inker colors quite nicely. (These aren’t alcohol inks). If you do this, use distilled water to dilute so the mini-mister doesn’t clog.
After waiting about a minute for the ink to dry, carefully pick up the first layer and rearranged a second layer, using some of the pages used before as well as some new ones. This time, spray the left side with a different color than the right, allowing the colors to blend or overlap in the middle. You can see the piece with two towers and the gate on the right repeated again on the far left. Repositioning the pieces makes the piece more interesting without looking repetitive.
Inventing your own stencil is fun, often more fun than purchasing expensive ones. A lot of every day items can be turned into stencils (or the opposite, masking pieces).
If you are fussy about the ring-holes showing, you can cover the book holes with tape. Or you can incorporate the pattern into the finished page.
—Quinn McDonald is a journaler who works at the intersection of words and images. She teaches one-sentence journaling, inner hero journaling, and on Friday, April 25, will teach a journaling class at the Minneapolis Book Arts Center.