Today, however, I'm going to talk about stencils. The reason I mentioned Jane at the start is that earlier this year she released an Art Lesson with Cloth Paper Scissors magazine 'Stencil Auditions', which triggered a veritable stencil frenzy in my life. The Art Lesson is downloadable, very affordable, and very, very inspiring. So inspiring that I immediately went ahead and ordered a whole bunch of stencils online. Many of them were water-themed (corals, waves and ripples), for a reason that I will return to later. :-)
My new stencils had barely arrived before something wonderful happened. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to borrow her Silhouette Cameo cutting machine and try it out for stencil cutting. Did I ever!! I did a bit of research, and got started cutting stencils from stencil plastic. I couldn't belive how well it worked. Each time I removed a freshly cut stencil from the machine I couldn't help laughing out loud from pure joy. The only cloud on my horizon was that I was just about to move, and really didn't have much time to spend on the Cameo, as I was supposed to go through my stuff and pack it into boxes.That's why my stencil-cutting was a bit frenzied.
Test-cutting my first stencil (a face)
I had time to design (the cutter comes with a software that you can use to design your own stencils) and cut about 12 stencils before it was time to return the Cameo, and I have to admit that I'm really tempted to buy one at some point. I'm all for hand-cutting your own stencils, but it's very time-consuming if you do it from quality stencil plastic, you'll end up with a sore hand, arm and neck, and you'll never achieve the precision of a computer. Some patterns are simply not possible with, or worth the time and effort of, hand-cutting. I guess it's all a balancing act where you need to ask yourself when you should hand-cut, or when to buy a commercial stencil or use a cutting machine. There's a time and place for all three of them.
Oh, and one thing that I love about the cutting machine is that all those perfect little bits that are cut out can be saved and used for masks:
If anyone has a Silhouette Cameo and would like to know what settings I used for my stencils, here's the information. But you might have to experiment to get the right settings, as materials and machines differ. So consider these settings a guide and a starting point:
Brand of stencil plastic: Crea Pop
Here are more images of my favourite stencils:
So far I've only used them for work that I've created for Jane Davenport's Art Lessons (on gesso and stencils) and online workshop 'Supplies Me'.
Thanks for dropping by!