Wednesday, February 18, 2015

StencilGirl Guest Designer Laura Fraedrich

Welcome to StencilGirl 

Guest Designer

Hi Everyone! My name is Laura Fraedrich and I am a mixed media and ceramic artist from Fresno, California. I am so excited to be contributing to the StencilGirl Blog as a guest blogger!

Several years ago, I attended my first mixed media art retreat, Art Unraveled in Phoenix, and it changed my life. I fell in love with all of the different materials and techniques that were used, and ever since then I’ve been obsessed with making mixed media art. I spent every extra penny I had on buying art supplies and like most mixed media artists, I have an impressive collection of stamps, stencils, markers, paints, texture tools and much more. 

A few years later, I was fortunate enough to get a job in the ceramics industry, which introduced me to a whole new art form.  After learning the basics of painting on ceramics, I started experimenting with all my mixed media tools to see if they could be used on clay. I was very happy to find that they can be! In this post, I’ll tell you about ceramics in a nutshell and show you some of the projects I made using StencilGirl stencils.

Getting started with ceramics is easier than it seems. Probably the most difficult part is knowing where to find a kiln to fire your pieces in. The good news is that there are quite a few options besides having to invest a lot of money into buying your own. You can go to your local ‘Paint Your Own Pottery’ Studio, where they will supply the glazes, the bisque (which is what an unpainted piece of ceramics is called), a small amount of instruction and firing for a certain price. This is a good thing to try if you are a first timer and you want to see if you like painting ceramics. If you decide that you love it (which you will), it would probably be a good idea to start investing in your own glazes and bisque which will end up saving you money in the long run. At this point, you’ll have to find a place to fire your pieces. Many cities have a local ceramic supply store which will fire your projects for a nominal fee based on the size of them. Even if they aren’t located especially close to you, they should be able to point you in the right direction of a kiln near you. You could also place an ad on Craigslist and ask if any local ceramic artists would be willing to fire for you. There are more kilns around than you think!

These are some examples of ceramic bisque pieces. I’m not exaggerating when I say there are thousands of designs available that are ready for you to start painting on. These pieces are available along with glazes, brushes, and everything else you need from ceramic supply stores. If you don’t have a local one, there are plenty online that ship nationwide. You can even get a wide selection of products from retailers like Dick Blick (in-store and online). Unfortunately you won’t see ceramic supplies in places like Michael’s or Joann’s, but luckily they aren’t hard to find elsewhere.

Painting on ceramics is very similar to painting on paper or canvas, but you have to use a special paint that will withstand high temperatures. This paint is called glaze. Your piece will be fired to around 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, so needless to say regular paint will burn right off. Glaze is made from tiny little glass particles that will melt when it reaches a certain temperature. That’s why ceramic pieces always look so shiny and pretty. There are quite a few different brands of ceramic glazes, but the one I like and use the most is Mayco. Their colors are always consistent and they are super easy to use.

Once you have the glazes, you can apply them just like you would to any other substrate. For the first piece I made, I used a bisque piece in the shape of a stretched canvas, the Words to Live By stencil from StencilGirl and unmounted rubber stamps from my mixed media art supply stash.

I dabbed a sponge on a stick in some black glaze, placed the stencil over the bisque canvas, and just tapped up and down to get the image onto my piece. Easy peasy!

Here’s another piece I made with the Eddy Rose stencil from StencilGirl. I love using bisque that have flat sides because it’s like having a blank canvas.

Here’s a flat vase I painted using the Elephant Parade Stencil. It sits proudly in my ‘zen’ room.

 I made this tray with the Trio of Houses stencil. 
You can see that this piece of bisque is curved, but the stencil worked just fine.

Lastly, I made this funky faced girl out of a plate that I drilled holes in so that I’d be able to attach hair (my mixed media background shining through). 
I used two stencils on her – Eddy Rose and Words to Live By.

I really hope you enjoyed learning a little about ceramics and all the cool things you can use to paint them with. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have or help you locate what you need to get started with this amazing art form. You can contact me through my blog/website at or on Facebook 
 Until next time!

Stencils Used:

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