The Ink Pad as released the next five stencils in the NYC collection. Another set of manhole covers and four patterns to coordinate. Mine arrived today - time to play!
Here are some of the sample tags I've made with the new Ink Pad stencils, along with brief descriptions. These are just pigment ink pads + stencils.
TIP: if you use wedge make-up sponges, cut off the hard edge so you don't get 'lines' when dabbing off the ink onto your tag.
I'm so excited to finally be able to share this news - the first four in a series of New York stencils, exclusively for The Ink Pad. Shop online at their newly launched site....it's only a few minutes old. Congrats Anna and Barbara!!
Yes, we are ready for the big game. Graham has the menu planned and good smells are coming from the kitchen. My neighbor Emma came over to make Valentines. This year I taught her about dry embossing. We did it the real way, with brass stencils, a lightbox, and a stylus tool. After one I knew she'd be antsy because it takes alot of handpower and patience to complete. So then I introduced her to embossing folders and the short-cut for embossing. We will ran our die-cut hearts through the hand-cranked pasta machine (typically used for polymer clay - I've never made pasta). She finished a dozen in no time and then we moved on to addressing and decorating envelopes. Assignments are finished so we will open some of the Girl Scout cookies she delivered.
A reminder of using embossing folders with a pasta machine from 2011. Such a fun and fast way to get texture!
I'm going to wait until Friday to post our annual Christmas picture card as they are still arriving in the mail and I don't want to foil the surprise. If you've come by hoping to see my photo review of the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows it will be here eventually. We usually visit NYC over Thanksgiving weekend with my mom but this year my parents are coming for Christmas (today!) so we are saving the event for this weekend. The digital composition below is created with some of my new stencils that will be released in 2016. I like to mess around with them in photoshop to see how useful they might be in real life. I'm excited for these too!
Wishing you a Merry Christmas. I always expect the reader interprets what I'm saying, which is: I don't know the particular holiday you are celebrating this year so please take these words as wishes for a glorious season with loved ones.
The January/February issue of Somerset Studio has arrived. If you've taken the Compose Yourself workshop with me then you've tried the exercise I illustrate and describe in my column. I first learned of it back in grade school - didn't know the term for it until a few years ago. Notan - the Japanese word for dark/light harmony. (I could insert a HIM reference here, as they have an album called Dark Light, but I will refrain.) You can see I used my chess stencil again. The full set of stencils/masks will be released in January.
Compose Yourself is on my schedule in 2016. It will be offered through Pratt School of Continuing and Professional Studies on February 13. Registration is open. CALL 855.551.7727 or follow link to register: HERE (type in Michelle Ward, using caps as shown)
Here is a sampling of my Pratt workshops this Spring. Visit my WORKSHOPS page for full descriptions and schedule.
And don't forget - if you plan on joining Creative JumpStart the $45 fee is good through 12/31. It will be $50 after that. Visit Nathalie's site HERE for all the details. My first video will be included!! HCIT?
Who would ever expect that December would permit and extended season for spray paint in NJ? We've been lucky with the unseasonably mild weather, so I took advantage. If you follow me on facebook you've already seen the facelift to our coffee table. It was time for a sprucing up with a change of palette to coordinate with our revised colors in the living room. First painted in 2007, the composition included many of my favorite stencils from that time. Since then I've designed over 100 stencils for Green Pepper Press and Stencil Girl Products. My intention with the do-over was to use the new stuff, but it ended up taking a turn and I went with some hand-cut chess stencils+masks from 2008 as the focus, with multiple size checkerboards, alphabets, and my damask patterns as "noise". After revisiting the chess stencils I've decided I will be releasing them in a smaller size in January. Stay tuned!
I admit it was hard to say goodbye to the old table top, but I had a great time spray painting the new one, and I'm pleased with the results. You can see my post about the 2007 version HERE. Below are the before and after views:
And some close-ups, plus a view of my outdoor work space, near the rose garden. I finish the surface with acrylic spray varnish, and a glass top.
I cut these chess pieces stencil/mask sets in three sizes back in 2008. Loved using in my journals and for art-making. HERE is an archived blog post illustrating how the chess theme has been one of my favorites.
I'm going to be getting the chess stencils and masks into production soon - to be released in January. There will be coordinating checkerboards too! They won't be as large as the ones I used on my table, but they will be fun to work with on all kinds of surfaces. Can't wait!!
This just in, November/December issue of Somerset Studio. My article "Creating Opportunities" is about making the commitment to dimensional elements on your page before you start adding your layers of paint and collage. One of my favorite mantras, as a teacher, is to tell you to "Commit". Just start with one thing, then each decision you make is informed by the previous commitment. That's easy to say when you are working on a painted or collaged foundation. But once you have invested time in making a background it may be a little stressful to cut into it. I've observed this in workshops - we start with paint, then I hope to encourage some slight-of-hand tricks with cutting and folding, but there is a reluctance. So I changed my method of teaching, and we begin with the deliberate cuts and folds, then add the paint, collage, and stencils. The commitment to adding cut-out shapes, and the placement of where they are positioned, is not influenced by anything since the canvas is blank. With dimensional features established, you've created opportunities for how to proceed. See the magazine for more details, and many other terrific articles.
I've been enjoying these glorious days here in Jersey. Cool nights and sunny days. Not alot of leaf color changes yet - although there is an ample quantity of orange, but that's because we have construction everywhere. My roses are mostly done showing off, a few buds are trying to break out. Since I've fallen behind in trimming many of the old blooms have filled out as hips. I admit that I kinda like when I see the color change from green to deep orange, plus I love their shape.
Here are some hips from 2009, and some masks I made from Tyvek.
And an old journal page from November 2009.
Hope you're enjoying the Autumn, wherever you are. It's a motivating time of year - I'm always brimming with energy in October.
May is nearly here so that means the rose buds are starting to form, and the new Somerset Studio is showing up on shelves and in mailboxes. My column is about making your own songbooks, celebrating favorite lyrics to beloved tunes. I will be teaching Bohemian Rhapsody at The Ink Pad in NYC on Saturday, June 20th. To learn more see HERE, and to reserve a spot, call 212·463·9876 I'll provide the music, the lyrics, and the accordion book. Hope to see you there!
Consider making a song book as a gift - this one was made for Graham.
Don't you love that reading the lyrics makes the tune pop in your head? What song will you illustrate?
Last week I received the new book by Joan Bess: Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-Media Monoprinting Without a Press. It is fabulous, with easy-to-follow processes - I already have some new ideas for making textures on the gelli plate. As I wrote to Joan, I applaud the force she has become by infusing creative energy into this community with her genius invention, and the classy and stylish manner in which she presents many ideas on the blog, with the photos and video tutorials, and now this book! I recently scored the new small size gelli and can't wait to break it in - Joan makes it look so effortless, and it really is! Visit GelliArts.com and GelliArts.blogspot.com, and pick up the book at your local store or an Amazon. In addition to many techniques you'll want to try, the book has a guest gallery that displays how other artists are using the addictive printing process.
Also, just arrived is the newest issue of Somerset Studio. In my column, Make It Your Own, I write about taking some travel souvenirs and moving them from the keepsake box to the wall, so that they may be enjoyed every day. Are there any treasures you have tucked away that should move to your wall! What are you waiting for?
I'm prepping and packing to teach in San Diego next weekend. It's been ten years since I've visited California - looking forward to it!!
Registration for the Curiouser & Curiouser workshop with Lynne Perrella and Michelle Ward, for May 2015, begins tomorrow! Complete details on the three day event, hosted in Connecticut, is available by sending an email to Lynne at LKPerrella@aol.com To see the full announcement with some sneak peeks of the project, click on Workshops 2015 above, or see Workshops on Lynne's site, www.LKPerrella.com
Some photos from my last workshop a few weekends ago in NJ - it was a grand time, beautiful weather, and we had fun with both acrylics and spray paint, and of course - stencils! Organized by Little Bird Creations/Michele Luxenberg, and hosted at Clare Hunter's home. Thanks ladies!
It's a busy time, packing and prepping for workshops. I'm also excited that I will be accepting delivery on a batch of new stencils that will debut at the event on Friday. These are designs that I cut by hand and have been using for a while, some samples below. Gothic Collection Additions will be available online July 14. There will be coordinating stamps to follow in August.
As I'm sure you know, if you're a Gelli Plate fan, you can't pull just one print. In an hour you're likely to have run out of paper while still filled with enthusiasm to keep at it. Here are some prints I worked on with some stencils last fall. In two days I had boxes of prints - lots of experiments that taught me valuable lessons, and lots of papers that will be fashioned into a journal. I pulled out the pile today to start making selections and sort what will become part of the journal and what will get put in the collage files. So much to choose from - can't wait! I think I will start with the turquoise + taupe + leaf motif shown further down.
Be sure to check out the upcoming book by Joan Bess, Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed Mono-Printing with a Press, due in September. We already know she delivers when it comes to demonstrating the gelli plate - her blog and videos are terrific. The preview of the book looks grand! I'm honored to be in the guest gallery.
As a teacher, we are constantly asked by organizers to help promote our classes. It's good for everyone. In just three weeks CREATE NJ 2014 will begin. My Roll With It class is full, but there is room in my other two. If you're curious about mixing paint, or want to improve your collage compositions, join me! I will be vending on Friday, with some new additions to the Gothic Collection. Sneak peek announcement from my website below. I will be posting the new items for sale soon.
Also, for California residents, I will be in San Diego in September for a two-day Frond Chronicles workshop hosted by the San Diego Book Arts. I'm looking forward to heading West - haven't been there since a True Colors event ten years ago.
Wow! There's been a ton of feedback on the cardboard journal tutorial I presented on Stampington's blog. Many visitors left comments, there are hundreds of pins from the post, and a huge amount of likes and shares from their facebook page. I've even rec'd emails from artists who have jumped in and made their own. HCIT?
A little background - I first started making these cardboard journals about five years ago. One was included in the Artist Portfolio feature in Stampington's Art Journaling (Issue: Summer 2011) The first one, called Table Scraps Journal, made it's debut on this blog in August, 2011. Then I started showing you others, which I started calling Debris Journals, in December 2011. I taught my first cardboard journal class at Create NJ 2012, and again in 2013. I will be teaching The DeComposition Journal this October at The Ink Pad in NYC, along with my cardboard sculpture class, What a Relief. My last two columns in Somerset Studio have been about cardboard, and the next one will also feature it. What I love is that the material is versatile, readily available, and unintimidating to work with. As I continue using this humble supply, I find new ways to manipulate it, and can't stop pushing my expectations of how it can perform. I'm currently working on an end-of-the-year article that will make you re-think cardboard for the holidays!
Here is more from my Black&Kraft:
I love to leave a peek at some of the markings from the cut up cartons that show up on the pages. I've used some of these spreads to document my collections of black&kraft papers, and have made some deliberate cuts with stencils. I just love the look of this color combination. Just think, if Borders bookstore hadn't closed, where I used to get my kraft paper blank journals, I may never have conspired to make my own, and found out all the cool things that be done with recycling bin treasures.
This week we had to get a new table for the deck as the glass top on the old one shattered. You should see the stellar specimens of cardboard that the new table came wrapped in - a full sheet of mini-honeycomb plus several full sheets of perfect corrugated goodness. I'm delirious about the possibilities!
I'm knee deep in three different projects, and I haven't even started our taxes. Yikes! I handcut some new stencils today to test out before I send into production - can't wait to show you!! For now, since I've been an absent blogger, I will give you a peek into my latest Debris Journal - I call this one Black & Kraft. You can see more from this one in an upcoming article for Somerset Studio (May/June). You can also take a class with me and make your own Debris Journal at the Ink Pad in New York City, October 19. We'll be doing some fun stuff on the pages, like you see below - using stencils to make marks, and to peel away the top surface.
If you don't have an awl, you can use a pushpin, or needle....and these can be used with pen, pencil, and paint....I am thrilled to announce two new half sheet stencils as part of my Cardboard Collective! Available at GreenPepperPress.com. Notice the word placements, and how you can use the phrase "OPEN THIS END" or "THE END". And you can combine "PROPERTY OF:" with the alphabet to pierce your name. Love these.
More new stencils on the horizon. Estimated time of arrival: April.
In 2011, it was a thrill and honor to be invited by Mary Beth Shaw to join her Stencil Girl team of designers. Today, I am equally honored to introduce a new collection! This series of stencils was inspired by contemporary and traditional stained glass windows. The openings provide opportunity to fill with color or additional pattern. Use as a stencil with your favorite medium or as a template to guide layouts for collage and journaling. Scroll down to see some of the stuff I did with the large ones, then hop along to the SGP Design Team blogs to see their work with the smaller ones. I can't wait to see what they came up with, and thank them for participating!
SPECIAL DEAL: There is a promotional special available TODAY ONLY for all eight of the new stencils - $67 (savings of $17). Go to www.StencilGirlProducts.com
GIVEAWAY: There is a giveaway on StencilGirlTalk (the SGP blog, click HERE) for some of the new stencils. All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win. Leave a comment here to be eligible, then visit the hop links and leave a comment there too.
EDIT: Giveaway will close on Friday, January 31st Sunday, February 2nd at 11:59PM Central Time.
CONGRATS to winners: Sue Chesley (large stencils), Beth Figiel (Small stencils). Thank you to everyone who came by to visit, leaving your comments, and for sharing the enthusiasm for the new series. Also, a special thanks to Maria for organizing the hop. That was fun!
Blog Hop Order (each link opens a new window)
New arrivals this week - the latest Somerset Studio - Nov/Dec 2013, and Mary Beth Shaw's new book, Stencil Girl: Mixed Media Techniques for Making and Using Stencils. I'm very impressed with the book publisher - I got the book and the return of my art one day after the book release. It's usually weeks before we get a copy!
Thanks to all the new visitors to Green Pepper Press who ordered stencils and stamps after the exposure on the GelliArts blog. Wasn't that an awesome video? I've been filling and sending orders, and preparing packages to go out as soon as I get restock on my inventory. After teaching and vending in Connecticut, then this promotion, my merchandise has been cleared out. Crossing fingers that I get a nice big box from my manufacturer early next week so I can fulfill all the remaining orders and send them on their merry way. Again, my thanks to Joan at Gelli for this opportunity. I have been making lots of prints of my own - will post soon. So here's the peek at the latest ink:
Are you on trend and making prints with the Gelli plate? It is a genius invention and superb product. If you've been out of the loop you can catch up quick with a visit to GelliArts.com. Joan's videos are so nicely done that you'll see how easy it is to pull cool prints from the plate, and the many many ways it can be used with stencils and with texture for your art-making.
They are just launching a 8" round plate - swoon! AND it can be won by entering their giveaway. Pop over to the blog HERE, and leave a comment to be in the drawing. Be sure to get in by October 22. I am honored to have three of my Green Pepper Press frond stencil/mask sets included. You gotta see what Joan did with them in her video demonstration and photos. I've grabbed one to show you, below. Don't you just want to lick it? It's that delicious.
I still think facebook should have a "lick" button alongside the "like" button *grin*.
I am such a lucky girl - CREATE Mixed Media Art Retreats hosts one of its events practically in my back yard. For four days I got to teach an amazing collection of women just down the road, then had dinner with my family and slept in my own bed each night. The students were awesome - some were in more than one class, and a handful took three. Some were repeat students, and some were new-to-me, and some totally new to this kind of venue. It was so rewarding to see how each artist interpreted the assignments and projects, bringing their own personal flair to the table. I thoroughly understand that it can be difficult to create-on-demand and often a student may experience performance anxiety but while we may be there to learn technique or make a specific project, I think the most important thing is to come away with the momentum to keep going. I've said this before, sharing your enthusiasm for creativity is more important than what you create. I hope I did that last weekend. The other beautiful thing that happens at these events is we get to widen our circle of friends - making connections with fellow artists through a shared experience can be life-long. I know because I've done it.
Here are most of the students I was privileged to spend time with - some got away before we took pictures.
I will never forget this event and some of the very cool things that happened in the workshops. I witnessed big break-throughs and many subtle a-ha's. Lots of eager girls who tried lots of new things and shared freely their discoveries so that we all could learn even more. That's what happens when you are in the classroom - the energy is so positive, so thick, it's nearly as visible as the hanging humidity outside. I always depart feeling motivated to do it all over again, with a notebook of scribbled ideas for next year. In one class I presented a little start-up assignment that became its own thing, took on a life of its own, and we ran with it because it was constructive, productive, and a really useful tool to review and remark on the results as a group. I think that assignment could become a whole class and I can't wait to start planning it.
A special thanks to all my students, the event planners, and the entire community of artists who were present to make this such a remarkable retreat. There was an Artist's Faire Friday night and it was a great success for my little GPP table. Fallon was a terrific helper - thank you to our customers for your patience as we got you through the line. Here are some more of my displays - these were spray painted with all the stencils I sell, in the extreme heat we suffered through recently. A few of the shots of paint never made it to the surface as it actually dried mid-air. Crazy.
Doesn't it look like the stencil sheets are hanging there? I love how the edges show so you can see exactly what the sheet looks like.
Next big teaching gig for me is Art-Is-You in Connecticut on October. Hope to see some of you there! For details on my classes click on the WORKSHOPS button in the toolbar on top.
I will be introducing one new stencil at the Artist Faire during the CREATE NJ event next week. This is the first in a series where the design was driven by my current interest of cutting into cardboard. This one is called Duets because there is a square and circle that can be painted or drawn in first, then a second image can be layered over. Available in my online shop soon - current inventory is intended for the show next week.
It's been too hot to be spray painting this summer. I tried it a few times and the paint was nearly dry before hitting the surface. The last few days were cooler so I finally had a chance to make some displays for the event next week. Loved using the new Gothic Collection! I have some large panels I will show you later - here are a handful of clipboards:
Couldn't you just lick them? Oh, it's makes me happy to be spraying again!
I'm pre-programming this post because this week we have family visiting and tonight is Fallon's graduation. I will be back with photographic evidence of that in a few days, but for now here is more cardboard manipulation. If you are in Jersey, or nearby, you might be interested to come take my Debris Journal workshop at CREATE - NJ either Thursday, July 18th or Saturday, July 20th. That's one month away - can't wait!! I will be teaching four days plus vending on the Friday night. Hope you'll join us.
I'm still playing with cardboard. Here's something I tried this weekend. I traced the stencil onto the cardboard panel, then cut and lifted out the negative. I was so excited by the concept that I wasn't so careful about the cuts and used a chunky blade. I may have done better with a finer knife but who has time to look for one when you're ready to try something? Don't forget that stencils aren't just for paint and spackle - they are cool with pencils and knives too.
As I've mentioned, when I'm behaving, I store my stencils in page protectors in 3-ring binders. When I'm not behaving I toss them all into a large clear rubber bin. But as John Shaw once said, some of my stencil designs do not play well with others (lots of parts that can get tangled) so I do try to separate. At Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago I found this presentation portfolio. Couldn't be more perfect for my new Gothic Collections stencils and masks! Come on, HCIT?
Speaking of the new collection, I've had new customers who are asking what to do with unmounted rubber sheets. There are lots of ways to use them - temporarily mount on acrylic blocks, or if you are a grab-and-go girl, then you might like my method. I use thick foam as a mount as it provides the cushion necessary for a good impression, and it is grab-able, similar to a wood mount. Just pay attention when you are cutting the foam so you have a nice straight line where the rubber ends for aligning on your stamped surface. Here's a quick tutorial:
Gothic Collection stencils, masks, stencil/mask sets, and rubber stamps available at GreenPepperPress.com
The day is almost over, but the month has just begun. A very full schedule ahead. My lilacs are fragrant, bursting open yesterday. I found my first four leaf clover of the season. I didn't get a ding-dong and flower basket (like we did as kids on May Day) but the mailman did ring the bell to deliver a big package of merchandise with the new HIM cd!!! Mini-tour has started, I get to see them soon after a very long dry spell. Bags and bins are packed and ready for my departure tomorrow morning - to Far Away Places - a workshop with my friend Lynne. Looking forward to riding in the van with my band, not literally of course. A road trip is the perfect way to become immersed with a new album. I will report in on the weekend after I get back. The first batch of pre-orders from The Gothic Collection will go out tomorrow too. Thank you so much for the enthusiastic response. My manufacturers pulled off a fast turn around. Life is good!
The first video....
*waves, and blows kisses*
p.s. Gabriele, I got your lovely envelope, and clipping on the collection. I ordered it...should be here anyday. Thanks for thinking of me. It was a super fun thing to get in the mail. <3
I've been off the radar as it's been a busy few weeks here. I feel like a new parent. We are very in tune with our new resident, Lucky. She's a sweet little thing. We've only heard her meow a few times - the tiniest little sound, although her purring is much more audible. I'm afraid to let her have full access to the entire home yet so we have her blocked off from the basement and the studio. Speaking of which, the overhaul went really well. Still a few things to sort and stow or shake off. I've gotten rid of so much stuff - it feels really good to have organized alot of it and allowed more s.p.a.c.e. I've also been designing lots of new things which I will reveal soon. Some prototype stencils arrived and I had to take a break from cleaning and taxes to shoot them with some spray paint. These are going to be super fun and will coordinate nicely with the existing stencil patterns. There will be several in the next release that feature multiple sizes of my favorite shapes. More soon. Sending hugs to Boston - my home for many years.