Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet Theorem Painter (Stenciler), Shirley Day



I met Shirley Day for the first time when I went to a Stencil Artisan's League Convention in Parsippany, New Jersey in the early 90s. At that time I had just released our first brass stencil designs and she still had her Studio in Connecticut. She was selling her theorem stencil line called "Nutmeg Stencilers", at a booth across from me in the retail portion of the SALI show. This was the beginning of a great friendship. Later when I exhibited our stencils at a sewing show in Springfield, MA, Shirley invited me to spend time with her at her home a few miles away in CT and we discovered that we are kindred spirits in so many ways, we both love nature themes...animals and birds and florals and beautiful "stuff"..., I also loved learning many theorem painting techniques from Shirley. (Theorem Painting is an advanced method of stenciling with several overlays of stencils to create an image without stencil bridges showing and it was mostly stenciled on creamy velveteen fabric...this craft was taught to young women who went to "finishing schools" eons ago at the turn of the 19th century...a true early American folk craft.) This year Shirley turns 80 and I hope to see her soon, she just sent me this beautiful card using our iris stencil (LL516) and corner design (LG698) which she dry embossed by hand and notice she did the delicate detail work on the bearded iris with a fine tipped sable detail brush, hard to see because of the limits of computer imaging, but she also sprinkled just a smidgeon of fine glitter on top. Shirley still teaches in her home based studio now in Reading, MA, right next door to the home she grew up in, and her father was born in... and died in at the age of 103, her family's history surrounds her. Her mother was a famous oil paint artist who owned her own New England based greeting card company called Red Farm Studio, it is still in existence and based in Pawtucket, RI. Shirley's students can still learn theorem painting today, as well as bronzing, tole painting and sometimes they even do card making with metal stencils. Wish I lived nearby so we could stencil together more often. I have learned so much from this stenciling friend. One of the things that I hope to pass on to my students, other stencil enthusiasts and card makers is that you don't have to create something in two minutes time, take your time and enjoy the process, for me cardmaking with stencils is a wonderful crafting experience and a time to come together and enjoy with fellow crafters. Although I love the speed at which dry embossing goes through the machines, it doesn't take long maybe just 5 minutes to dry emboss something by hand occasionally. Also taking time to learn to manipulate the stencil brush gives you such an "ah ha" experience, and the feeling once you've learned to shade from light to dark is priceless. It may take a bit of practice, but it is so rewarding too. Thank you Shirley for sharing with us your love of the art of stenciling!

3 comments:

Barbara said...

These cards are beautiful!

Wendy said...

Oh WOW!!! This is a beauty!!!

Deborah March said...

Oh my, how did I MISS this one!? What a STUNNING piece!! And I just love your stories Lynell...

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