Monday, December 16, 2019

En pointe in the World

It's the time of the year where reflection and contemplation happen, and rightly so. Nature has paused to rest and re-energize for the new year and what is to come. As I thought about my final project for 2019, I wanted it to reflect on the dichotomies that exist that we all should consider when dealing with each other. I wanted it to signify the beautiful and the ugly aspects of life. This piece uses three main elements. The first is the wreath of frosted greenery. This represents the frostiness that we face that can easily be removed by the opportunity for growth as represented by the green layer underneath. The second is the barbed wire that is interspersed in the greenery. It represents the pain, those little pinches that can revolve around us in such a way as to stunt our growth. The final element is the ballet slippers, which represents the reach for grace and beauty. These three elements are supported by the beautiful tone-on-tone stencil in the background. I used white on white to illustrate that at our core, color is irrelevant to who we each are as humans. Instead, it is the canvas of our spirits that matter.

As I considered the elements used, I was presented with several thoughts regarding the compilation. First, the pointe shoes and the barbed wire represent the secular and religious aspects of the winter holiday. The pointe shoes are a reminder of the decadence of the season, specifically the decadence of ballerinas floating across the stage in a traditional ballet such as The Nutcracker, while the barbed wire represents the Christian belief of the birth of Christ. Next, the pointe shoes represent pleasure and happiness while the barbed wire represents pain and sadness. I am reminded of how some are able to celebrate the season with many parties and gifts while many more are unable to exist much less be able to celebrate any holiday. Likewise, the pointe shoes represent child-like innocence, the possibility of hope and future gifts where the barbed wire reminds us of the past and the challenges that we have had to overcome. There are certainly many more comparisons that can be made.

In creating the background, I auditioned for a while. I had several tapestry stencils that I thought I wanted to use. In the end, however, I decided that keeping the background fairly simple would be a better choice. I wanted to have it create a pensive and relaxed effect. I wanted it to be gentle and soft but supportive. It occurred to me that the stencil I chose actually represented the very personality of its creator, dear artist friend Kristie Taylor--gentle, sweet, and supportive. The stencil used is a lotus, which signifies rebirth, so relevant to the overall idea behind this piece. It can be seen as a lotus, a star, or a snowflake--such a beautiful stencil!


Wooden frame
Frosted greenery wreath
Barbed wire
Dark Copper Wire
Dead (or used) ballet pointe shoes with ribbon
Mini Rhinestone chain
Gesso (affiliate link)
White paint (optional)
Light green paint (I used Golden's Titan Green Pale (affiliate link)
Gold Mother of Pearl Acrylic Paint (Martha Stewart)
Light modeling paste
Microfine Snow Glitter
Clear Gorilla Glue
Aleene's Fabric Fusion
Metal Corners
Metal reliefing block
Nailless Sawtooth Picture Hangar (optional)
Wooden Candle Cups 
Palette Knife or old credit card
Basic Pliers
Ribbon (optional)


The base 
  • Paint the entire wooden frame with gesso, at least two layers. Dry completely.
  • Paint the back Titan Green Pale. Allow to dry.
  • Paint the front with Gold Mother of Pearl acrylic paint. Allow to dry.
  • Stencil with modeling paste in the interior and along the edges. While the paste is still wet, sprinkle snow glitter on it. Allow to dry completely.

  • Use the reliefing block to bring out the highlights on the top of the metal corners. Add glue to the inside of the corner and add to the corners. If there are edges hanging over, use a pair of pliers to fold them down. Be sure to place a piece of material between the pliers and the corner to be sure that you don't scratch it.

The wreath
  • Make two circles with the barbed wire just slightly larger in diameter than the bottom of the frosted greenery wreath. Intersperse the barbed wire into the wreath and wire the two pieces together at three different points to help secure them.
  • Use the Gorilla Glue to adhere the wreath to the wooden frame. Place heavy items on top to ensure that the entire piece is flush against the wood. Allow to dry at least eight hours. The glue is completely cured in 24 hours.

The ballet pointe shoes
  • Use the Fabric Fusion to glue the rhinestone chain to the pointes of the slippers. Allow to dry completely.

  • Paint the candle cups with gesso and sprinkle with the snow glitter. Let dry. Your candle cups should be as high as you need them to be so that the slippers sit on top of the greenery, not above. Mine were about an inch and a half.
  • Iron the ribbon on the pointe shoes. Wrap the ribbon around the top third of the pointe shoe just below the heel area and tie a bow.
  • Glue the candle cups to the bottom of the pointe shoes. To best determine where to glue them, situate the cups on the wooden frame and place the pointe shoes on top so that they don't lean. Allow the glue to dry completely overnight.

  • Glue the pointe shoes to the frame. Place some type of balance on top to ensure that the bottom of the cup seals tightly to the wooden frame. I used a jar of modeling paste. Allow to dry completely.
  • If you wish to hang it, you have some options. The first is to hammer the sawtooth picture hangar into the back center top. You can also nail triangular picture hangars to the top two corners on the back and then tie ribbon to use as the hangar. Be sure to also place a bead of glue on the ribbon where it is tied to the triangular hangar to help it stay intact.

And you are done! Here's my version. Be sure to share yours!

Anne Marie

MSS Blog 
or email me at


  1. What a beautiful and thoughtful project! Thank you, Anne Marie!

  2. I agree...a most beautiful project! Thank you for sharing your thoughtful insights and wisdom about the art piece.


If you are entering a GIVEAWAY, please add your email address in the event we need to contact you.

To avoid SPAM, please write it like this:

marybeth (at) stencilgirltalk (dot com)

Thank You!