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By Anna Lothson
A simple conversation with her parents about a home-remodeling project led to an Oak Park business and a patent-pending product that one lifelong Oak Parker hopes will give people a decorating edge.
Linda Cibula, owner of Stencib Studio at 7015 W. North Ave., which opened about a month ago, has an architecture and interior design background, but the product she's created doesn't limit the concept of stenciling to windows and walls.
Cibula came up with the idea eight years ago. She was stenciling a home in Florida for a home-renovation project and was fed up. Her dad told her simply to invent something better. The next day she got in touch with a patent attorney and took the first step toward the product that's on her shelves today.
She found a family-owned business who for four years worked with her for free to create the handsomely-packaged self-adhesive rolls.
"It looks real simple if you just pull that out," she said. "[But] we've got rooms full of things that didn't work. … For some reason I kept going and I love it."
The flexible design of Cibula's product allows it to be placed on any surface one can think to stencil, all without the hassle of tape. Books, frames, computers, suitcases, jackets, scarves, dresses and rugs are just a few in evidence in her store. Cibula even has a custom-made pair of boots with a silver stencil to jazz up what she thinks would otherwise be boring.
"Our world is so on the Internet. Everything is already done for you. It is really cool to create something with your hands," she said. "And it's really cool to create something that looks good. It's just something that everyone can use."
Stencib Studio is run with her brother and a childhood friend, and much of the outreach through Facebook and online videos has been done by her son. Cibula, who has 14 siblings, is proud to keep her business a family affair. What her team has created, she said, allows people to customize their lives without paying a professional price.
"I certainly didn't invent stenciling, but I changed the way it can be done," she said. "Artists can do it; non-artists can do it."
Cibula said she isn't an especially proficient artist but is creative, and that has helped her turn a solution to one project into a new business venture. At a time where everything is being mass produced, Cibula hopes she can encourage others to discover their own individual styles.
"Art is a wonderful way to express yourself. This took a wonderful turn," Cibula said. "It's a grassroots, homegrown business."
For more information about her store and story, visit www.stencib.com.