Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Artful Celebration: Silvia Souza beings joy to the season with Luminarias

Psst! Carol Baxter here - Luminarias were far from all Silvia Souza made!  
You really, really need to check out this entire post!

Season's Greetings from Silvia!

I love the celebration of light at this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere.  Whether its the light decorations across the streets of Europe or the wacky displays in our neighborhood (and this year around the corner from us is a "lightfest" replete with a volcano, tyrannosaurus, Chinese pagoda, and the US Capitol!), these lights all bring joy to the season.

In many parts of the world, paper lanterns are used in many different kinds of celebrations.  Mexico has a lovely tradition of luminarias or farolitos. I was hoping to create double-sided translucent paper to make my own small luminarias. I didn't quite achieve the stained glass effect I had in mind at first, but after some play and with many sheets to experiment with, I did make stained glass with leftovers!

I started by painting deli paper in various tones of reds without too much cleaning in between to get variations of color. 

I painted both sides of the paper and created many sheets, this shows both sides. Then I used Michelle Ward's X Rows Stencil, L067, on one side with gold and silver paint. I had also made some green sheets.

I discovered that a foam roller worked better and faster on the reverse when I stenciled with a couple of Andrew Borloz's Crazy Quilt stencils, L570 and L568. I loved that the red paper looked a bit like Chinese joss paper!

With lots of sheets to work with, it was time for some math.  I made a template for my luminarias and mocked it up to make sure the folds and gluing would work.

Luminarias measured 3" x 2" x 5" when assembled.
Once the details worked, I started cutting and assembling.

I cut some darts for better assembly.
I pre-creased all the folds.

Added two-sided tape and began putting the luminary together.

Here are some photos of the final products with battery powered candles.

I then made a cut paper ornament that I made for many years with my middle-schoolers.

And I still had more paper to play with.  So I made origami stars using strips cut from the sheets of paper.  These will be strung like ornaments and be added to gift packages.

The snippets I had to cut off the strips, and after these were put together, look like little houses and will be made into little village tags.

Lastly, I used ICE Resin on a sheet of paper, which finally gave me the translucent look I had envisioned.  I used this paper as a stained glass window for textured Kraft-tex houses for this month's ATC exchange with an art group I belong to.

Which just goes to show how creating paper in some quantity opens up so many creative possibilities!

May this month be filled with light and joy for you!



  1. These all look amazing! So magical and beautiful and really creative

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

  2. Beautiful luminaria :) I love how they seem to draw from both latin and chinese culture at the same time.

  3. That was such a happy accident! Thanks.

  4. What fun projects - thanks for sharing your techniques!

  5. Wonderful, such an abundance of happiness.


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