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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


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  • September 15, 2021
    Q: Ana asks: "What can you use stencils on besides cards?"

    A: Any flat surface is fair game! My most recent non-card ventures with stencils have been a shaped wood piece from the dollar store (acrylic craft paint), polymer clay earrings (pressed into the clay to make a pattern), a mini canvas and a thrift store frame (both with stenciled elements that were painted into a scene).


    September 8, 2021
    Q: Elaine asks: "How do I keep the lines from the digital image from bleeding into my Inktense pencil coloring when I apply water?"

    A: I'd let the ink cure overnight and then spray the paper with a couple of light coats of workable fixative - I use this one. Make sure to hold the can at least a foot away from your paper - too close to the paper or too heavy coverage and the spray will cause the ink to run too.


    September 1, 2021
    Q: Tracy asks: "Do you prefer layering stamps or layering stencils?"

    A: Given the option, I'd probably choose layering stencils - it's easier visually to line up the stencil openings than to line up a stamp through an acrylic mount. Many layering sets have the design lined up on each stencil, so you can quickly position them to the corner of your stamp positioner and proceed with inking. You also have the option of blending color on a single layer, which is more tedious to do when inking up a stamp. I have some layering stencils that are repeating patterns rather than an image - those have many more options than stamps for application to different surfaces as well.


    August 25, 2021
    Q: Jan asked: "what are some groups I can donate cards to?"

    A: We have a forum dedicated to card donations - you can find the Cards for a Cause forum HERE! Each month an organization is featured, with guidelines and special requests for donations. You can choose from a list of ongoing missions to support as you're able, and even suggest an organization in your area that might appreciate some cards to share!


    August 18, 2021
    Q: Judy wants to know: "I use 110# Cardstock for my cards. I purchased some new cardstock that says 110# but when I opened the package it was not the same. I bought another pack of 110# index cardstock, and it was the same flimsy-not-thick cardstock. Why can't I find what I'm looking for and why are they saying it is 110# when it isn't?"

    A: It can be confusing! Paper comes in different grades based on weight and thickness. The pound measurement is based on the weight of 500 sheets of that paper in its "parent size", but the manufactured size varies for different types of paper. Cover stock is manufactured at 20"x26", while index weight paper is 25.5"x30.5". A package of 8.5"x11" 110# index weight paper is about 2/3 the weight of 110# cover weight paper of the same size, because these standards differ so much. When you buy cardstock, check the package for a GSM measurement instead (you might also see it noted as g/m2). It stands for "grams per square meter", and it refers to the weight value of paper based on a standardized measurement of area. The GSM scale is universal and consistent, so it's easier to compare papers. A package of 110# index is about 200gsm and 110# cover stock is 297gsm. For a chart showing a comparison of paper weights, click HERE.


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