Friday, November 9, 2018

Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products

Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products
I’m Glenda Miles and my heart is on fire for ancestor art.
Join me on a journey of adorning the ancestors! 

Perhaps you have experienced creative well-being as a healing force in your life? The simple gesture of making something somehow ends up creating profound meaning and a way of being in the world… that’s how I feel about ancestor art.

When I see stacks of tossed aside old photos in family storage, estate sales and antique stores, I am intrigued by their journey to the place of unwantedness. I feel strongly that creativity can transform these forsaken photographs into reclaimed stories.

I find that when I’m making art with a known or found photograph it shines the light on shared human experiences. No matter who we are and no matter how different we are from others, we all share commonalities. Things like pride in our families, need for comfort and companionship, instinct for resiliency, desire for health and happiness, and the need to be seen, heard and accepted, just to name a few are captured in photos. I especially love and need to make art from the precious few photos I have of my childhood with my Mother and Grandmother.
Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products
We’re all immortal, as long as our stories are told.”
Elizabeth Hunter

Honoring these nostalgic connections and feelings reminds me about what’s important and possible in life. Often during the deep dive of looking back and the creative process, surprising symbolism, storytelling and heartfelt expression is revealed. Ancestor art is intuitive, mysterious and magical.

Products Used
2.  Seth Apter's Retreat Circle Stencil
3.  Seth Apter’s Emerald Creek Baked Texture Embossing Powders and Emerald Creek Fractured Ice
4.  Versamark watermark stamp pad + Versa Mark Pens
5.  Idea-ology Vintage Design Tape Paperie
6.  R & F Encaustic Medium

Start with gathering ideal collage materials from the mish mash of everyday life. “Shop at home” for papers, documents, book pages, maps, letters, post cards, certificates, manuals, recipes, etc. You can use a variety of substrates; journal pages, vintage book covers, wood panels, and even flashcards. Search for known relative or insta-ones and explore expression, posture, clothing, and environment to determine what was frozen in time at that moment when the camera clicked. Be both intentional in designing of specific symbolic images, text and papery AND intuitive in reimagining and feeling your process…what is your ancestor telling you?
Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products
My preference is to use original vintage papers to create a vertical or horizontal neutrally muted background. This creates an appealing, engaging and beautiful composition for the ancestor to be the star of the piece! I love how the tones come out in the layers of paper {especially later when encaustic medium is added.}Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products 
During the creative process of collage let your heart lead the way. Audition a simple layout that feels and looks good. The photo needs to emotionally connect to your story and viewer. It’s okay to edit and change your mind during this process. Make sure the background paper elements come through at just the right place you want. You’ll notice in the video I edited out the red heart and wanted California and Kentucky to be highlighted. Once your ancestor photo is in place - there are many things you can do to dress it up with such as inks, Washi tapes, sprays, art crayons and my favorite; circle and halo stencils from StencilGirl® Products!
Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products
I tape a punched circle to the center of the halos to create a mask so I only use the crowning edges. Grandma Aletha, my Mother Rebecca, Eloise, Zella and a few adopted ancestors are all getting sacred accents of circles in their new found art stories.
“You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.”
Toba Beta
Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products 
I have a passion for circles and Pam’s Halo stencils, Beautiful, Faithful, Radiant, and Creative are my best loved ones! I also join Seth Apter’s Retreat Circle with Pam’s halos or use it solo to capture images or messages.
The circle beckons and welcomes . . . it is universally understood to draw the viewer in to take a closer look. Using the halos and circles in ancestor art is a simple, yet powerful message of revelation and honor. For texture I use my second best-loved artsy supply of Seth Apter’s Emerald Creek Baked Textures for grit, shine and texture. Because I use so many of his powders I created sample cards for quick reference.
Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® ProductsGlenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products
For an endearing topcoat, I use, fuse and polish two coats of encaustic medium. Aletha and Eloise are now transformed into evocative masterpieces - finally never to be forgotten or lost again.Glenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® ProductsGlenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® ProductsGlenda Miles: Adorning the Ancestors with StencilGirl® Products
Because art comes from a deep emotional place inside us, I have found that making ancestor art awakens an emotional response. I feel very connected and somehow attached to my creations. I absolutely love this about the experience and thus have adopted many new “family” members at my studio.
Thank you StencilGirl® Products for the invitation to peek into my little corner of the world at:
Studio #103
Pendleton Art Center
Middletown, Ohio 45044

Glenda Miles
Creative Communion Facebook:
Pendleton Art Center:


  1. This is just so touching and breathtakingly beautiful! I feel the same about found objects and photographs and you have really given these persons new stories and therefore meaning. Beautiful art! TFS! Claudia x

  2. thank you Claudia! I can sense the same heart in your creations too! xoxo Glenda

  3. Glenda, I just love how you blend photos and in your artwork! When I see your beautiful face, I am reminded of how kind and thoughtful you were when I met you in Paducah. Take care and STAY POSITIVE!


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