Then the lovely and talented Julie Fei-Fan Balzer asked me to participate in the Crafter’s Workshop Stencil Blog Hop last month, of course I said “YES!” I also fell a little in love with the Lotus Blossom Stencil that she’s designed:
I must have chosen the stencil subconsciously. I thought I’d just chosen it randomly….just because I liked it…but then I realized that the Lotus Blossom is used in Buddhism as a symbol of purity and non-attachment. And I’m in the early stages of my yoga practice. Coincidence, or did this image call out to me? I’ll tell you my story and then you can decide.
I knew before I even opened the package that I wanted to use the stencil on fabric. Originally, my plan was to use both the larger and smaller format versions to transform my old denim jacket. But alas, they were sold out of the smaller stencil, so I had to drop back and punt.
I also had BIG plans for a fairly elaborate art quilt. But the stencil arrived on Thursday, just ONE DAY before we were scheduled to leave for a week-long trip for spring break. And my post in the blog-hop- the one you are reading right now- is SMACK DAB in the middle of our trip! SO. I had to make some headway and then turn the piece into something I could finish on the road. I literally had less than 12 hours to get something started that I could add to on the road.
There’s that concept of “non-attachment” for you. I had to completely let go of my preconceived ideas and go with the flow…..
This is where I stop thinking and start letting the materials talk to me. I gathered some fuscia batik fabric, some deColourant, my Shiva Paintstiks, and sat down to play.
Tip: If you want to mask of a larger area, freezer paper works great. Just iron it to your fabric and not the stencil. The fabric itself is also stabilized with freezer paper. Then I applied the spray deColourant, removed the stencil, and used the iron to remove the color.
Now I wanted to ADD some color. So I used the deColourant Plus, which adds color as well as discharging color from the fabric. So in this case, I added the silver color of deColourant Plus. Here’s how that turned out:
At this point, I started to feel like my central image was getting washedÂ out and I needed a pop of color. Lucky for me that Julie’s stencils are so well-designed! I used the outline and my Shiva Paintstiks to add a burst of teal. (I briefly toyed with black, but teal is one of my favorite colors.)
So this is where I started to get frustrated. I wanted to do a LOT more with layering stencils with the oilpaints…but you really need 24 hours to let the paint dry thoroughly to avoid smearing. And I needed to pack it up to travel with the next day. So I decided to go with the flow, separate myself from any attachments to what I THOUGHT the piece should be, and let it dry overnight.
The next morning, we were rushing around getting packed. I KNEW I needed to pack a travel kit and was getting more and more stressed out…. I knew I needed to breathe and relax. THAT’S when I got a clearer focus as to what this piece needed next.
Sadly, I was in a huge rush and didn’t get a chance to take a photo until we were on the road….
My intention was to work on the piece the whole way to our destination. And THEN I realized that the needles I brought were too big to use with my seed beads! (breathe) And that there wasn’t a close shop the entire trip. (breathe) And that there was no possible way that the piece would be done in time for this blog post. (breathe!)
And it’s then that I really started letting go. I mean, Julie asked me to participate because I make fun stuff- but also because I’m invested in my own process of art-making and I’m willing to share that journey with you.
So, no, as of right now, my mini-quilt isn’t done. I’m sitting in a hotel room in Washington DC, enjoying the week with my family. I DID find a beadshop and purchased new needle (and a few new beads, too- but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post)Â and while my “breathe” art quilt isn’t done, I’ve let go of that expectation….and I’m just enjoying beading and writing on it a little every night. And it’s doing EXACTLY what I intended it to do….. reminding me to let go of unrealistic expectations and breathe.
A big thank you to Julie for inviting me to participate….and I promise, I’ll write a follow-up post when it’s all done! In the meanwhile, see how other fabulous folks used this stencil and check out the rest of today’s Lotus-Blossom blog hop: