Some History About Stenciling

This is a photo of heavy paper stencils in the collection of Old Sturbridge Village, sales in Massachusetts. They were cut and used about 150 years ago and are still caked with paint.

stencili.jpg

While doing some research, I found some interesting things about stenciling and thought I would share some of it’s history with you.

We tend to think of stenciling as something that was done in the 18th century, but actually stenciling began way before then. In the sixteenth century a king used a stencil to sign his name. Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, traced the first four letters of his name through a stencil cut in a gold plate in the 16th century in Italy. Later the French used stencils to make flocked wallpaper with designs made with ground velvet or wool. Patterns were stenciled in glue and then dusted with velvet or wool powder which gave the paper a texture like brocade fabric. The word stencil is French and derived from an old French word, estenceler, which means “to cover with sparkle”. Many centuries later artisans stenciled fabrics in the Fiji Islands, in Japan, and in Western Nigeria. In Figi women stenciled wide geometric patterns cut into banana leaves in black on bark cloth or on masi, which was used as mosquito netting. In Japan artisans cut designs in mulberry paper and stenciled on sikl and cotton for their robes, on futons and for kimonos.
There is so much more to learn about stenciling, but let’s get into the kind that we love today, the kind that was done in the 18th century, the stenciling of early American walls. Most stenciling was done after 1800, when prosperity resulted in more and more larger homes. People were yearning for color and decoration in their lives, so they began to hire stencilers and other artists to come and decorate their walls. This picture is a watercolor of a woman painted in 1841. Mrs. Jaques sat for her portrait in Southwest Indiana in front of a stenciled wall in her parlor.

stenciling.jpg

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a muralist, but before I painted murals, I was a stenciler. That was many years ago, back in the late 60′s and 70′s. My murals are done in the style of Rufus Porter, whose friend, Moses Easton, did stenciling. On my next post I’ll talk more about him and stenciling designs.

stencilin.jpg

Happy Day
Carole

12 Responses to “Some History About Stenciling”

  1. Rachael Says:

    WONDERFUL Carole!!
    Ohhh I cant wait to hear more about Moses! Stenciling is very addictive, in my opinion…..a little stencil here or there, and before you know it, there everywhere!
    rachael

  2. Nancy Says:

    So interesting!!! It’s always so educational & fun to visit here. It’s been far too long!
    I can imagine that someday your beautiful murals and stencilling shall be in the background of a famous painting too Carole!
    :-) Nanc

  3. Martha Says:

    This post is so interesting! I learned a lot. When I lived in Micigan I had stenciled the front hall way, when it was time to move the realtor said, “You have to paint over these crayon drawings, it will not appeal to buyers”, that was a stab in the heart! It looked very nice. . .after we moved here I did a stencil in the living room around the window wall, two years ago I had the room painted and the painter primed and painted over it! He said he could not save it. . .so the next time I stencil it will be on a box or something!
    Martha

  4. bigblogcollection Says:

    Hi, we love your blog and would like to offer you to list it in our blog collection at http://www.bigblogcollection.com

  5. rondell konat Says:

    Loved your post, I’d love to stencil some walls around here especially in my kitchen below my kitchen cabinets.
    Rondell

  6. Carole Says:

    Thank you to everyone that left a comment on this post. it is my pleasure to write about something that gives so much pleasure. I’ll be writing more about stenciling very soon.
    Carole

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Actually King Theodoric was King from 498-523 Ad, not in the 16th century unless yo are refering to some other King

  8. http://www.google.ca Says:

    Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce
    a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

    Here is my webpage; uncontested divorce
    (http://www.google.ca)

  9. www.youtube.com Says:

    Amazing! Its truly remarkable paragraph, I have got much
    clear idea about from this piece of writing.

    Feel free to surf to my site: youtube how to install
    roof shingles (http://www.youtube.com)

  10. www.youtube.com Says:

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your blog.

    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues?
    A small number of my blog readers have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great
    in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

    Feel free to visit my blog – rubber roofing installation video (http://www.youtube.com)

  11. cedar roof installation Says:

    This text is worth everyone’s attention. How can I find out more?

    my web page; cedar roof installation

  12. video marketing main page Says:

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely useful info particularly the last part :) I care for such information much.

    I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    my webpage – video marketing main page

Leave a Reply

What is 5 + 10 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)