Back in 2010, when I started StencilGirl, I never had the sense to dream quite this big. I mean seriously, we started with just 6 stencils, all my designs. I thought it would be a one shot deal, we would have them manufactured, sell a few, that would be it. Never imagined that 5 years later I would be running a company of 700+ stencils....
And now, shared for the first time.....the back story of the original designs......Gears - I had seen some gear related stuff and thought it was cool, but I didn't even realize there was a Steampunk movement, I just like gears. Plus I have a circle obsession, so moving from circles to gears, well that was a no brainer for me. I had lots of rusty gear parts, I traced them, enlarged, played, embellished, varied the sizes. Over and over again. I didn't own a light box so I had gears taped to the window and traced them that way or did rubbings. I drew each gear on its own before I made the composition. Hand drawn and colored as I didn't know any other way.
Greek Key - I had the need for a decorative stencil, something I could use to add borders, symmetry to my work, frame up certain sections, that kind of thing. Couldn't find anything in the store, (think 2010 and borders of ducks populating the craft store aisles). I have always admired the Greek Key design and actually hand cut this one too, it wasn't pretty, The entire design literally fell apart at one point until I got the bridges right. It took me forever and as I look back, I think I must have had an out of body experience.
Rafters - my friend Greg Barth, a professional photographer, had taken a photo that I just loved, it was the inside of a barn, specifically, rafters. We were involved in a retail endeavor back in those years, had a store in a mall (yeah, that's a story for another day) and I used to stare at this photo when I worked in the store. Started making some sketches, refining shapes to my own needs. This one was hand cut too. My first book has a picture of the hand cut stencil on page 50. I still have it. Greg teases me about copyright. At least I think he is teasing.
River Rocks - I collect rocks. It is an odd hobby for an adult woman. My husband often laughs because (if we are traveling by air), I could garner an overweight luggage charge due to rock collecting. When we do laundry, rocks fall out of my pockets.
This design plagued me for years, I kept drawing it over and over, I painted several pieces with versions of the design, then ultimately cut it into a stencil. By hand. And then there was the day day I decided to paint something similar on the wall of our guest bathroom.
Trees - were a personal mission. I wanted/needed a stencil of trees to use in my work but I wanted the positive space to be the tree limbs, not the negative space like all the other tree stencils back then. I started with photographs I had taken of trees. Took me forever to achieve the look I had in mind, delicate and natural. Drawing bridges in such a way so you would hardly even notice their presence was important to me. To this day, I love this stencil. I will often flip it back and forth to get a variation on branches.
Web - I have saved the best story for last. I wanted the Web itself to be the positive space, meaning it would be an organic linear design. I drew my heart out, sent the design to be cut and it came back like this - the black parts are where the paint ends up, not the white parts like I had envisioned. Duh, big time brain fart, it would be darn near impossible to do it any other way due to the intricacy. Bridging wouldn't work. I was so disappointed and felt impossibly stupid I mean I paid a LOT of money for 100 stencils that were the exact the invert of what I had intended. After I slapped myself in the head, I decided to try it out and voila, I ended up liking it quite a bit. This stencil was my first great 'integrator' that being a stencil that will do wonders for integrating. Not to mention really cool texture.