Friday, October 13, 2017

Daniella Woolf: One Stencil, Many Options

One stencil, many options. A plan to enhance creativity. Cool tool.

Hi, everyone! Daniella Woolf here! For this blog, I'm addressing 3 different topics. The first is the idea of exploring what one stencil can do. That goes along with the idea of enhancing creativity.  And I’d like to introduce a cool tool I found.

I have seen many artists posting amazing techniques online. Humbled by these rock stars, I thought it might be good to do something different. I want to talk about something in my art practice that may resonate with some of you. It’s something that I dreamed up to help me channel my energy, and cut down on my fear. The notion is that of limiting the tools and materials I use, thus enhancing, broadening and informing my creative process. I have found it quite liberating!

One of my challenges as an artist and human, with a very active and fluid mind, is channeling my ideas. I’m constantly working in my head, morphing ideas and generating new ones. It can be exhausting! I’m inspired most of the time, which can be overwhelming. Here is how I’ve learned to harness my wild mind.

I create parameters from which to work. I usually give myself an assignment or series of conditions under which to work. For example, I will choose to limit myself to a few tools and materials. Within these constraints, I can get into some deep exploration, without a lot of anxiety. I can create widely and broadly within the confines of just a few parameters. It can be as simple as, deciding “today I’ll photograph purple flowers”, instead of choosing the much broader challenge, “today I’ll photograph flowers.”

The first time I discovered working this way, I had a month to myself on Whidbey Island.
It was a personal artist’s retreat. I gave myself a month-long assignment. I will use only these materials:
  • white paper
  • black pens
  • 2 shredders (one long cut, one cross cut)

I shredded all the journaling I did (with all kinds of black pens) during the month, and bagged the results.

Within these constraints, I managed to create an interesting, beautiful new alphabet” of items which I used in collage.

I created an entire series of new work from this experiment. Here is one of them.

 This art piece is entitled, My Part of the Nine, 24” x 24” x 1.5” journaling and encaustic on cradled panel, 2007. The whole exercise took away my anxiety, and provided excitement and energy.

If I allow myself to have unlimited tools and materials I get paralyzed from having too many choices. I find that if I make conditions for myself from which to work, I have a sense of comfort and ease about how to proceed. One idea leads to another, and they remain within a similar design family or theme.

For this post, I’m using one of my favorite stencils, Calligraphy, which is based on a photo of an exterior wall in Istanbul, Turkey:

Here are some experiments using the Calligraphy stencil on different substrates with different paints and inks.

This substrate is mahogany. I painted Walnut Ink through the stencil, allowed it to dry, then painted encaustic medium over the ink.

 The substrate here is also mahogany: First I painted encaustic gesso over the mahogany. Next I painted Walnut Ink through the stencil, then encaustic medium over that.

This looks very similar to the previous photo, however it is Walnut ink on Rives BFK paper and then dipped in encaustic medium.

In this photo, I’m using an encausticbord which is painted with white encaustic paint. I have sprayed copper Perfect Pearls Mist through the stencil. This is the top layer.

This is encausticbord which has been painted with medium, then white encaustic paint through the stencil, then a few layers of medium over that. The white stenciled paint becomes embedded in the surface.

 In this photo, I’ve used a cradled panel. I have painted the stencil in black on the raw wood panel, and done some mark making with a paint brush and India ink. Then I’ve painted encaustic medium over the dry India ink. Then I’ve painted white encaustic paint through the stencil onto the encaustic medium surface. Then layers of encaustic medium over the white, to embed the painted white stencil.

 This piece is on encausticbord. The ground has been painted with indigo. The white encaustic paint has been painted through stencil, then white encaustic paint is dry brushed over the raised surface, to create a 3-D effect.

You can see by varying the materials I’m using with the same stencil, I can get a wide range of effects.

For this exercise, my substrates are:
  • thin mahogany panels
  • Rives BFK (a thick printing paper)
  • encausticbord-which is board coated with encaustic gesso
  • a cradled wood panel

My paints were:
  • Encaustic medium,
  • Encaustic white paint
  • Encaustic indigo paint
  • Perfect Pearls mist: Copper
  • Walnut ink and Black India ink


When I teach workshops, I usually have a segment called “Cool Tools.” Making artwork for my latest release of three new stencils, I set out to find some tools with which to move paint through my stencils.

I found a “new to me” one at Beverly’s. It’s manufactured by Ranger, and is called a Mini Ink Blending Tool. This one is Round. They also have rectangular ones. (Mini Ink Blending Tool With Replacement Foams)


Here is the link so you can see the packaging.

One of the features I like is the 1” round Velcro backed foam tips can be removed and washed.  You can have one for each color. You can buy extras! The tool pushes ink or paint through a stencil really well. I highly recommend it. It’s easy to use, versatile and and well designed.

I hope this had added a few more items to your toolbox, and lets you peek into my waxy stencil world.

3 comments:

  1. I love this work Daniella. Your stencils are great

    ReplyDelete
  2. Inspiring = your creativity!!! Thank you! ~Rachel Bell

    ReplyDelete

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