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Ask the Artist


Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions


  • Submit your question to Dina
  • March 10, 2021
    Q: Annie asks: " Do you wash your stencils when you are done, or do you just let the inky painty mess just live to tell their tales?"

    A: It depends. I have a few larger stencils that I only use for gel printing with acrylic paint - those ones do not get washed. (I don't clean my brayers either, unless they get really chunky - then a soak overnight in Murphy's Oil Soap does well to loosen the layers of paint.) The stencils I use for cards and other projects do get rinsed off right away.


    March 3, 2021
    Q: Tricia wants to know: "I would love to put all my sayings from all my companies together. I don’t see anybody else doing this so I am not confident that I will not be sorry that I did it. Any thoughts, or have you done this?"

    A: Yes! No regrets. I have all my sentiments in CD cases grouped by category (everything from Art to You!) and cataloged in Evernote. I'm starting now to type out each sentiment in Evernote so they're even easier to search. The only sentiments that are not in that system are those that are very image-specific - so a sentiment like "Hoppy Birthday!" is in with the bunnies rather than the birthday stamps.


    February 24, 2021
    Q: Karen asks: "Can you use acrylic paint on clear stamps?"

    A: You can! Just be sure to clean them off with warm water before the paint dries. A soft toothbrush is useful for getting into the grooves.


    February 17, 2021
    Q: Karen wants to know: "Is there such a thing as matte embossing powder?"

    A: Wow! has a clear matte powder. Distress embossing powders are designed to have a more matte and textured finish. Check out Emerald Creek for some really interesting special effect and blended powders, especially the Baked Velvet and Baked Texture lines. I was playing with some layered powders last night on a paper bead, and found that the oils from my fingers dulled the finish just with a little handling (I wanted that effect, so that was good!). Not sure if that works with all powders, but it did with the Ultrathick Embossing Enamel. Overheating regular powders can dull them as well, if you want to experiment with what you already have.


    February 10, 2021
    Q: Linda wants to know: "I always thought vellum was that very thin paper you can see through. What is Bristol vellum?"

    A: The term 'vellum' can refer to a kind of paper (usually translucent or semi-translucent), or it can refer to the surface finish of paper. Bristol is a type of paper that is created with multiple plies - it's very sturdy and a great multipurpose art paper for a variety of media. Bristol comes in a smooth finish (great for marker and ink blending and light applications of wet media) and a vellum finish which is slightly textured or toothy. The vellum finish works best for dry media like pencils, pastels or charcoal.


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