Monday, November 21, 2011

Susan’s So Thankful Giveaway #6: Artistcellar stencils

A few weeks ago, Lisa Cousineau of artistcellar sent me some new stencils to try out. Artistcellar sells several brands of stencils, but this is their own, newly designed and produced line, marketed under their name. 
I’ve used stencils a good amount in the past few years, both in my own projects and when teaching my Surface Design Madness class. Here’s what I look for when choosing stencils: First, they have to be cool, or funky, or just downright beautiful. They have to provide striking designs, or patterns that act as subtle background texture. But almost as important is that they are sturdy, because they have to be able to take what ever I throw at them – acrylic paint, oil paint sticks, dyes, inks, markers – and then withstand a good cleaning. Artistcellar stencils deliver on both counts, and are very affordable, too.
All of artistcellar’s stencils are 6" square, and are laser cut from tough 10mil polyester material. They are very sturdy! All are made in the USA, and retail for $4.40, or sell in sets of four (all of the series) for $15.99. 
I’m planning to use these stencils on fabric (wouldn’t it be beautiful to make a notepad cover or some other useable or wearable item out of hand-stenciled fabrics?) and on paper (they’d make great background textures in a sketchbook). 
Here are the four series:

Cathedral Series– This series was inspired by windows in French gothic cathedrals. Here is “Amiens,” stenciled four times to form a circular design. I used blue metallic acrylic textile paint on a strongly patterned pink batik.

Traditional Japanese Series– Inspired by classic Japanese motifs, all stencils in this series can be used alone or as a repeating pattern. I love the dragonfly; I think I’ll be ordering that one!

Japanese Geometric Series. These repeatable patterns are inspired by traditional Japanese textiles. I tested the “Seven Jewels” stencil here using watered-down metallic textile paint, to get a bit of a bleed:

For a crisper design, I used the paint straight, without watering it down, and stenciled several times for a layered look:

And here it is on paper, using watercolors:

Steampunk Series– This line is inspired by gears and mechanical assemblies, and has an urban grunge feel. I love how “Industria” looks stenciled in silver textile paint on fabric:

This one was stenciled first, then brushed with watercolor. While it was still wet, I “stitched” using black paint, and let it bleed and drip.

I also love artistcellar’s “Art is NOT optional” tote bag (left). If you order $50 in products from them (excluding taxes and shipping), you can get one for free!

I have to say that I really love all the stencils she sent me, and I want to keep them all for myself! But I’m trying very hard not to be greedy, and my give-away is about sharing the love – and the goodies! I think I can part with a few, so…

Here’s your chance to win! Leave a comment after this post and tell me how you use stencils in your work (or if you never have, tell me what you’d like to try). I’ll pull two names at random at 9 p.m. on Monday Nov. 28, and send you each a stencil to try. WINNERS: Ruth and Tesuque both won a stencil.