Welcome back to my blog and another post for Gwen Lafleur’s Artist Tribe. Exciting things have been happening over at Gwen Lafleur Studios this month. PaperArtsy released three new stamp sets from Gwen. I’ve been playing with the Peacock set and a quick technique I’m calling Stamp Tracing that I want to show you. Stamp tracing gives you the flexibility to put your own spin on stamp designs so that you can make them unique to you. And you won’t believe how fast and easy it is to get great results.
Here are the three new sets:
I thought it would be fun to work on a project that incorporated Gwen’s latest Peacock designs with stamps from her first two sets, Medallions and Florals. I wanted to transform a Buddha into a Goddess. My idea was to use Gwen’s stamp designs to make the headdress.
My Goddess actually started out as a cyanotype that I created as a prototype for another project. It would have been such a shame to let it go to waste. I used Gwen’s Chinese Garden Buddha stencil to create the cyanotype.
The background for my Goddess is also a cyanotype. I exposed it with a transparency that I stamped with the Feathers and Mandela in the Peacock set. Although the photo doesn’t do the piece justice, the effect is soft and lovely.
I dug out my trusty Tengucho Paper to create the elements that would make up my headdress. Tengucho Paper is the secret ingredient for Stamp Tracing. This is a technique that lets me inject my own personality and style into any stamp. It also allows me to get a reverse image which is extremely helpful when you are looking for some symmetry in your creations. And it’s super easy if you have the right paper.
Tengucho is a Japanese Washi tissue paper made from Kozo. It is extremely thin and incredibly strong. It is traditionally used for conservation purposes but I love using it in mixed media projects. It takes a lot of wet abuse and is definitely one of my favorite art substrates and in this case art supply. I buy it by the roll direct from the Awagami factory in Japan but there are suppliers online that sell it by the sheet.
1) Use a stamp pad to stamp an image onto a small piece of Tengucho Washi Paper. (I used VersaFine Clair ink, the color of the ink does not matter).
2)Place the stamped Tengucho paper over a small piece of card stock, mixed media, or other smooth/hot press water color paper, (I used Canson 148# Mix Media Paper). Then trace over the design using a permanent pen, (I used a Pigma Micron 03 and a Pentax Arts Hybrid Technical 0.4 mm for thinner lines). Tips: Flip the stamped Tengucho paper over before tracing to reverse the image. And then make the stamp your own - pick and choose the details that best fit your composition. I decided to forego the peacock’s plumes for my Goddesses headdress (see the pic below). But later I decided to trace her plume several times to surround my Goddesses headdress.
3) While the Tengucho paper is still in place, color in the image with Pitt Pens or TomBow Markers. Let the color bleed through the Tengucho paper to the card stock below. (I used Pitt Pens, another one of my favorite art supplies.) Remove the Tengucho paper and admire your personalized stamped traced image.
Here’s a close up:
4). Lastly, cut out the image and ink the edges.
And that’s it. Easy peasy. I find it relaxing to trace and color these little stamped images while sitting in front of the tv at night. They are small and in no time at all I can have a stash made up and ready to go for my next project. (And as an added bonus, the stamped Tengucho Papers make great collage pieces.)
Tengucho’s transparency also makes it easy to create a stamp montage like the wreath of feathers below without using any masking techniques. The wreath was actually the initial inspiration for my Goddesses headdress. And that layer just underneath the feathers are the peacocks plumes I mentioned earlier. (Hmmmm, now I’m thinking they would have made cool cactus, or should I say cacti, too?
I added two of the designs from EGL02 Florals into the headdress.
Another simple way to personalize a stamp is to expand it. The base of the diamond shaped pendant in the headdress started with a stamp in Gwen’s very first set; EGL01, Medallions. I just added my own border around it and edged it with a gold paint pen to make it my own statement piece.
So far I had not used anything acrylic in this piece and I wanted to keep it that way. So I decided to use my Prismacolor Colored Pencils to bring life to her face.
And here’s my finished Goddess.
I’m totally amazed that Gwen has managed to release 18 incredible stamp sets since September 1999. That’s an awful lot of designing going on. But knowing how hard Gwen works and the level of her creativity it doesn’t surprise me in the least. And I can’t wait to see what else she’s got up her sleeve.
Hugs until next time, Jill