Friday, December 19, 2014

A Journey Begins With a Single Step


If the shoe doesn't fit, transform it.  That's what I did with  a set of pumps that have, somehow, grown too small for me.  Funny how that happens.

I wrapped one of the pumps in Blick Plaster Cloth and let it dry for a few days.  Then I covered the gauze with Golden Fluorescent Acrylics in yellow and orange.

I pulled out the Hearts, Flowers and More Stencil, and used a cosmetic sponge to stencil fluorescent pinks and reds onto tissue paper.  I wanted to use bright colors because this is a gift for one of my teenage nieces.

It was easy to "cut" the tissue paper into strips and adhere it to the shoe with matte medium.  I got much cleaner imprints than if I had tried to stencil directly onto the shoe.  (I put "cut" in quotes because there are no scissors involved.  Instead, I paint a thin strip of water where I want to separate the paper, and it easily tears apart without a sharp hard edge.  You can see a video of the technique here.)

I love this quote by Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, and thought it was a good one for a teenage girl,preparing for adulthood.  I used these golden beads from my stash to represent a ladder or staircase and arranged the words.  I thought about having them in reverse order, so the eye would have to climb the steps to read it, but in the end arranged them traditionally.


Then my muse took over, as I adhered items from my stash, pulled the background together with glazing medium and Quinacridone Magenta Golden Fluid Acrylic paint, and used Jaquard dimensional fabric paint to create dots and the white heart jewel.  I used black paint through tissue paper with Pam Carriker's Border stencil to create the zig zags around the shoe.  I thought it provided the perfect accent!



I'm posting this shoe to my niece today.  I hope she enjoys it and that it inspires her.

Here are a few pics from my families recent Hanukkah celebration.  I hope, whatever you celebrate, that you are enjoying this season!




And, in this season may we all remember:


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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Artsy and Stitchy Holiday Gifts

Tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, and I wanted to share with you some more handmade gifts I made.  These are for my daughters and nieces.


They are small journals and little gift card and makeup holders, made mostly with fabric I stenciled myself using my stencils from Stencil Girl, and Uplifting Words Stencil by Carolyn Dube .  

I never would have made these had I not taken an amazing class at Art is You with Kecia Deveney and Linda Willis.  Linda has a terrific article in Cloth Paper Scissors this month with a tutorial for making these fun pieces.  Check it out!

Here's a pic from our last Hanukkah - as you can see - we celebrate everything!


I had a great group of women over on Sunday for my monthly Meetup class, stenciling and stitching fabric and making book covers and prayer flags.  It's so relaxing to sew in a community, and I am always so inspired to see how unique everyone's projects are.









Are you making handmade gifts for the holidays this year?  If so, please share about them, or share a link in your comments.  I'd love to see!

Auction Update:  We netted over $2200 for Pastoralist Child Foundation in our "Artists Give Back" auction.  Thank you to everyone who participated, donated, and helped us get the word out!

As we head into the darkest nights, and celebrate with festivals of light, I send out a heartfelt wish that all who are suffering feel moments of happiness and freedom, and that, someday, may all beings be free. 

My Meditation Altar
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Release - One Little Word Up


Little did I know, when I chose it at the start of 2014, the profound meaning "release" would have for me when the time came to write about it.


Recently, a friend who had pancreatic cancer passed. Her husband and two children spoke at her funeral, and their pain and grief were witnessed and shared by all of us.  

When I looked at her casket, I felt the deep peace that comes when we leave this life. Around her was the excruciating suffering of her husband, children, friends, family, but my friend was at peace. 

I know that there is so much joy to come in my life, but there is so much pain too - so many losses are in my future - parents, friends, the tragedies of people I don't even know and yet feel so intensely.  There are many blessings in store for each of us - but also sadness.  How do we live with wisdom and compassion and joy, while there is so much suffering and pain?



I received a lot of wise words when I posed this question to my friends.  And here is what clicked for me.  Grief is not an isolated emotion.  It is the other side of love.  To grieve deeply and to empathize with others means we love deeply.  There is no love without loss.  No joy without sorrow. 


Love and grief go hand in hand.  Feeling deep grief and sorrow means that we have loved deeply and intensely.  


This tag celebrates love, and its power to release us from darkness, and bathe us in light.



Won't you join us at One Little Word?  What does "release" inspire you to create?  Link up your art.

Supplies used:

Stencil Club December 2014 Stencils
Liquitex Matte Medium
Pam Carriker Paints and Inks
Wendy Vechhi Embossing Paste

Update: I came across these wise words by Ram Dass - so perfect for this post:  

Over the years, in working with people who are grieving, I’ve encouraged them first of all to surrender to the experience of their pain. To counteract our natural tendency to turn away from pain, we open to it as fully as possible and allow our hearts to break. We must take enough time to remember our losses – be they friends or loved ones passed away, the death of long-held hopes or dreams, the loss of homes, careers, or countries, or health we may never get back again. Rather than close ourselves to grief, it helps to realize that we only grieve for what we love. 

I think we can only feel "release" if we first fully feel the difficult feelings from which we crave "release."

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Handmade Ornaments Using Stitching and Stenciling


I've been having a blast making holiday gifts using old white sheets and cloth napkins that I have dyed and "patterned" (I use that word loosely) using my stencil designs and acrylic paint.  Here are some sweet ornaments I made recently using my Seven Hearts Stencil for Stencil Girl.   They are for three special art friends, and go in the mail today...


They were easy to make - I cut out my hearts and stitched them onto other pieces of fabric.  I cut out a double layer of batting in the shape I wanted, and them sewed them all together.  I covered both sides in glass bead gel to stiffen them up a bit and give them sparkle.

I look forward to more stitching and stenciling this weekend in my monthly Meetup class.  There are still some spaces, so if you're in the area, come on by!  

Speaking of art and friends, I have been so moved by the outpouring of support for our Artists Give Back online auction.  You can bid through Friday.  Even if you don't have a winning bid or aren't in the market for art (but who isn't??), please visit our auction site and consider making a donation to Pastoralist Child Foundation.  


Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Do Good, Be Good; Artists Give Back



In my last post, I wrote about my yoga teacher's teaching that all of yoga can be summed up in one phrase: Do Good, Be Good.  Well, artists around the world have come together to "do good."  Won't you help us?  100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to Pastoralist Child Foundation, a truly grass roots non-profit that supports rural Kenyan tribal efforts to improve the lives of their girls and women.  Here is their video, where you will see my friend Sayydah Garret, who founded the foundation, speak about its work.  




You can also watch the Pastoralist Child Foundation Official Video on Youtube here.  

I have donated these two pieces:




I created Be Fearless using my Hearts, Flowers and More stencil for the background, and my Shiva Deity Stencil for the foreground.  Here's a blog post where I talked about Lord Shiva, and what his energy represents.  

There is amazing artwork on the auction site.  The auction starts Monday morning at 7AM EST and lasts until Friday 12/12.  I hope you'll check it out!

Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do Good, Be Good, Art Journal Page


One of my teachers once said that the essence of yoga is "do good, be good."  Just be motivated by kindness to others.  Little by little, the world will change as your actions inspire those around you to live in kindness too.


Pam Carriker was kind enough to send me some samples of her new paints and inks to try.

Pam's products (which are available at Jerry's Artarama) were perfect for this art journal page, which started out with an old map.  I am in love with the sheer, highly pigmented quality of these paints.  They are like watercolors in acrylic form and I truly enjoyed using them.  Check out the Youtube video where I created this page, using Pam's paints, Mary Nasser's Latitude and Longitude Stencil, and my Horned Owl Stencil  from Stencil Girl Products.  




You can also watch Art Journal Page using Pam Carriker Paints on Youtube here.

UPDATE:  Vicki Ross asked me if Pam's paints are like Golden Hi Flow Acrylics.  Here's my answer:  

Good question Vicki - they are even more watery.  I love my goldens, and won't be giving them up -- but they have more body and adhesiveness (?) than Pam's paints -- and so I think for certain colors, like the yellow especially, there's reason for having both.  They are also truly matte - no sheen -- which is great for art journal pages.  Once they dry, your pages won't stick to each other.  

Need stencils?  There's a big sale this Cyber Monday at Stencil Girl, with deep discounts (like 33% off!) PLUS super bonuses for the first 50 orders and all orders over $100!  See the details below or read all about it over at StencilGirl Talk!

StencilGirl Sale

Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratitude for the Joy of Teaching

In this season of gratitude, I am so grateful for the all of you who trust me to be your "mixed media guide."

My 6th - 8th students at the Montclair Cooperative School recently finished a session making journals out of cereal boxes, duct tape and lots of Stencil Girl Stencils.  


Our theme was "become your own hero."  Here are some of their awesome pages:








You can watch me make one of these handmade journals in this video:




I'm also super grateful for my "Jessica Sporn Designs Meetup Group." At our last meet up, two ladies, Amy Birch and her lovely daughter Sam, drove over an hour from Connecticut to my NJ studio!  And Linda came up from Pennsylvania!  So grateful for every single one of you who make the trip from near or far to my home studio.

Here are pics from our most recent class, in which we altered cigar boxes.  Here's my sample:




And all the fab creations:

Book pages stenciled with embossing paste, set out to dry...


Much loved stencils - works of art themselves!


 Five Fabulous Boxes:


And some closeups:





The awesome group:



THANK YOU to each of you who read this blog and encourage my artistic journey!  

Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

If you don't already, please sign-up for my newsletter HERE, and follow me on Facebook, PinterestBloglovin and YouTube, so that you never miss a giveaway, and always get the latest Jessica Sporn Designs News!  


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