Monday, September 23, 2019

Mixed Media Collage with StencilGirl® Stencils

Paper Dolls: Dress It

                         I struggled quite a bit with the "dress it" theme for this month, since collage typically involves a lot of glue, and that's not always compatible with things to wear!  However, I started playing with the idea of making some kind of paper dolls with collaged dresses.  I didn't want to end up with a lot of loose pieces for this project, but rather something where the clothes could be changed while INSIDE an art journal.  I also wanted to play with the idea of transparency:  what we reveal when we get dressed, what's too much to reveal, what we want to hide, what we want to communicate.   For that reason, I used a lot of tissue and vellum for the clothing in this project.  I wove it, cut it, shaped it, pleated it.

          I also wanted to use some of the concepts I am attempting to address in my life - my meditation mantra for strength and loving-kindness includes words like brave, kind, wise, safe, strong.  For this reason, I used number of stencils that include script and words, or flourishes that look like beautiful and confident calligraphy.  I wanted to clothe my dolls in power words and in intention.
           There are two women here.  In my mind, both of them are me.  Each has three different dresses, which are revealed by flipping the cut/shaped pages.  Their clothes have ambiguous details: a flapper's sequins or St. Joan's chain mail?  Elizabethan collar or Pierrot's ruff?  cook's apron or
farmer's overalls?  There are lots of words peeking through, or obscured.  I added some lines to highlight the planes of the faces, and used them to add more words.
      We communicate so much with the way we choose to dress.  We can make ourselves look approachable or formidable.  We can announce our professions or signal our intentions.  We can disguise our true natures or wear our hearts on our sleeves.  Do clothes make the man or woman?  Or do we reveal ourselves no matter what we wear?

 Stencils used in this project:

Romance Face S652 by Pam Carriker

Strength Face S653 by Pam Carriker
Wall of Words L318 by Carolyn Dube

Letter Mania L400 by Suzi Dennis
Art Nouveau L273 by Lizzie Mayne

Zippy S352 by Daniella Woolf
Club Set from May 2019 by Cecilia Swatton


  1. I love the entire concept of this and using the vellum and tissue creates such wonderful effect. Beautiful pages

  2. BRILLIANT!!! When I was a small girl, I was attracted to store bought paper dolls. I decovered that when I made my own, I couldn't make enough little women for a small village, with a wardrobe the size of a department store!
    I never did outgrow paper dolls.

  3. These are great ideas with really gorgeous results! I like all of the variations ... the one that grabs my interest the most is the one with the cut-out paper circles. Each and every one is unique and creative; I honestly don't know exactly why that one is my favorite. Something about it pleases me a lot! :-)

  4. Love this idea! You do beautiful work.

  5. Wow! These belong in a gallery. They are so well thought out and the story behind them is so moving. I love all your work but these really are outstanding


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