Last Thursday it was just soooo hot. But I spent the afternoon with some friends in the air-con of the Museum of Contemporary Art. We were doing a stencil class with a stencil artist known as MiniGraff, who you can see here, talking about stencils of chooks. The class was in response to the current exhibition of the work of Shahzia Sikander which I’ve mentioned in previous posts. All I can say is – if you get a chance to do a class at the MCA – do it! If you get a chance to do a class with MiniGraff – do it! We first did a quick tour of the exhibition, taken around by a stencil artist working for the MCA who had helped with setting up the exhibition, and we were particularly looking for the way stencils had been used in the work.
We then went upstairs to this beautiful huge light-filled room with large round tables. There was quite a large class, but there were three people helping us at all times, and they were all so helpful, knowledgeable, and just plain nice, that the whole afternoon was just such a pleasure. MiniGraff (here’s a link to her website
) was just charming. She doesn’t look at lot like she does in the video I’ve linked to above, but it is her
. I think that must be her MiniGraff persona. We got a quite different persona. She told us about her art practice, and the process for stencilling. Then we started. All materials were supplied and there was source material to look at. We were even allowed to trace and cut our own stencils from MiniGraff’s stencils. There were hairdryers and an iron – everything you needed.
Afternoon tea came. The BEST cookies I have EVER had. Beautiful unusual fruit juices and icy cold sparkling mineral water ( perfect for the temperature on the day.) Even better – it was all left out there till the end of the class and more than one person was snacking.
I fiffled and faffled about for a while, and then I looked at the time & just thought ‘do something!’. I sometimes start decorating papers with figure-eight-like swooping movements with an inky brush. This picture is what I mean. So I did some swoopings, and cut out the spaces between the swoopings and the stencil at the top is what I got. MiniGraff helped me get organised and I put on the burnt sienna layer, then dried it with a hairdryer and put on the dark blue layer. The lighter blue layer I put on at home with acrylics. My little foam roller wasn’t as good as theirs so I need some new ones.
I’m INTO stencils now! I just wished I’d done a bit more preparation & taken my own source material.I can’t say my work that I did on the day is anything fabulous, but the afternoon opened many possibilities for me. I already cut a stencil that I’ve used in my artist’s book “10Thai Restaurants,” but I can’t scan right now as glue is drying.
We were given notes with great links (how to make a photo into a stencil with Photoshop, for example). We’ve even been invited to MiniGraff’s studio, which is local, lucky us.