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Stencil Girl: Mixed-Media Techniques for Making and Using Stencils Paperback – October 23, 2013
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About the Author
Mary Beth is a mixed-media artist, workshop instructor, owner of Stencil Girl Products and author of Flavor for Mixed Media (North Light, 2011). She writes a bi-monthly column for Somerset Studio, regularly appears on a craft segment of her local news channel and teaches at major art retreats year round.
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The author does two things which are annoying and distracting. She presents a number of project ideas without instructions, and then provides a link to her website for the "how to." This would be OK a few times, but it occurred enough to be irritating. It comes across as a transparent ploy to drive traffic to her website. Secondly, there is a contributing artist whose work I have admired for years. Apparently she has begun to sell an adhesive with her name as the brand. Again, the author plugged this product enough times as to be a distraction and an annoyance. It felt like shilling, and this particular artist doesn't need this kind of "help."
So too bad, as I really looked forward to reading the book. If you, however, want to learn how to stencil a design on cupcakes, go for it.
I bought this lovely book hoping that it would help me find creative ways to use the many stencils I own. It is a gorgeous book and the author seems very talented. Each chapter has step-by-step instructions for a project along with pictures of each step, followed up by examples of other artists' work using the same medium; for example, if it was working with felt, there would be some examples of what other artists had done with stencils and felt. The work seemed very creative to me.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to follow the instructions for any of the projects. I couldn't understand how to do the steps. I would need definitions of some of the words and instructions for the techniques the author wrote about--maybe to have the steps broken down into 4-5 mini-steps. It was far beyond me.
For example, the first instruction for the first project: "Begin with a Claybord substrate. Carve into the surface with a craft knife or carving tool, using geometric stencils as a guide." I don't know what a Claybord substrate is. I have a craft knife but can't really tell exactly what she is doing in the picture. The second instruction: "Add another more detailed stencil under the original stencil. Put a thin layer of Wood Icing (about as thick as the stencil itself) on the area covered by both stencils, using an offset palette knife." I don't know how to position the stencils...there is a picture, but I still can't figure it out from looking at it. I don't understand Wood Icing. I don't have or know how to use an offset palette knife. There are pictures, but I was unable to understand this project--or any project--by studying them.
It gets harder as you go along. If you understand what I wrote above, this book may be perfect for you. I am saving it because it is a gorgeous book and certainly is packed with ideas. When I learn more about how to use stencils, I will return to it. If anyone has any recommendation for a good book for beginners with stencils, could you please leave your recommendation in the comments? I would appreciate it.
Recommended, but not for beginners with stencils or mixed-media.