I have a black rectangle, and I want it to look like a stencil, with "cut-out" text in the centre.
In this image, I have converted both objects to paths and used the boolean difference tool:
(I'm not allowed to post images yet, so imagine a black rectangle with transparent text in the centre.)
This works, but it's destructive; I can't edit the text anymore.
To be completely clear, given a gradient, a rectangle in front of that, and text in front of that, I want to set the text to "transparent" and see not the rectangle, not the gradient, but transparency/nothingness.
I want the transparency to override any other colour behind it; I want the result I had above, but non-destructive; if I were to put another object below the rectangle there, I don't want to see that object, I want to see transparency.