Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wax collage process

I worked on two wax collage's yesterday. I use Claudine Hellmuth's instructions in her book Collage Discovery Workshop. Here is the delicious pound of local beeswax I bought at a craft fair.

I broke the wax into smaller chunks using a screwdriver and hammer. Hellmuth says to freeze the wax first for ease in breaking it up. I didn't take the time to do that. The smaller the pieces of wax the shorter the melting time.

My new $8 crock pot to melt the wax. Once you use it to melt wax you can never use it for anything else. Also, don't put the lid back on once you have scooped out wax as it may stick forever. Best to set all this equipment on a metal surface or non-burnable surface.

Other tools include a quilting iron to blend and smooth the wax once applied to the canvas.

A hot air gun is handy to reheat the wax on the canvas. If you add another layer of wax later you must do this so the two wax layers will meld together properly.

To add bits of color you can melt wax crayon drippings onto the collage.

Use cheap, natural bristle paint brushes available at your local house paint supplier or hardware store. The brushes can only be used for wax for as you see the wax coagulates on the bristles. But never mind, when you dip it again in the hot wax it will soften up.

I used a piece of handmade paper with embedded ferns as the background paper for this collage. You can melt wax directly onto the canvas and use it as glue for the background paper. Or you can use regular glue such as YES paste to apply the initial background paper. I use YES paste as wax is so expensive and not necessary to use for this first application. Next, I brushed the top of the background paper and the rest of the canvas border with hot wax.

I layered the picture, the post card and the old calling card on top of the hot wax. I used the quilting iron to smooth the wax. Use a metal device such as tweezers to press the items into the wax lest you burn your fingers.

This is how it looks right now. Later, I can reheat the wax if I want. I can move things around again or remove the flower branch. Not sure if I like it or not. I can incise words in the hot wax although I can't find my incisor right now.

21 comments:

Honour said...

I am no artist Suki, but I found the process part and explanation for your collage absolutely fascinating! And, what a lovely rhododendron on the side :)
Roxy

human being said...

woooooooow
a perfect creation
and we... involved in it... as if you are standing there watching god creating the world!

as i scrolled down reading and watching... i felt more excited... and at the end bingo!
the work is breathtaking... all the items you've chosen... the composition... i watched them one by one... pausing... pondering on the message they conveyed to me...
and think the wax here has got an etheric and unworldly essence... binding all these to gether...
Suki, you made my day...

Patti said...

Such a process, but worth it for the outcome. Beautiful beeswax, reminds me of that lovely maple sugar candy you sent me! :) yummo!

Claudia said...

A very creative work, Suki! I like it!

Natalya said...

wow.. how cool is this! this looks incredible Suki! can't wait to see the finished version... might have to try it myself too.

sukipoet said...

thanks honor. It was fun putting the post together. How much to tell, what to leave out etc.

Human Being I just love the look of the wax. I'd like to learn more about how to use it.

Patti,This beeswax is yummy.Those bees are amazing creatures. They give us so much. I think the encaustic painters bleach the yellow out somehow but I love the yellow tint, it give an old look to things.

Thanks Claudia. I am making 8 of them and loosening up as I go along. I wish I had a few more small canvases as once you get started it's hard to stop.

Natalya, you can also just use spots of wax on a piece. Plus, if you don't like it you can melt it and remove it. although on cloth it might leave a bit of wax behind.

Cris in Oregon said...

wow.. what a process. Lots of work but the end is delightful. Have you done many of these? Looks like lots of fun.

Cris in Oregon said...

Oh and I like the yellow aged look to and the twig. adds more romance to it.

sukipoet said...

Cris I made about 8 of these last year and brought four with me. Mom wanted three and my ex, when I showed him the 4th, asked for it!

WILSONART said...

Very involved, (but fascinating) process!
Is this the same as encaustic?

Forever Young said...

fascinating, and i do so like it...wow!

sukipoet said...

Babs this is a similar idea to encaustic. But with encaustic you use pigmented wax to paint with. You have to have little tins of different colors heating up and you mix damar resin with it too. I have never done it but would like to. THAT is way more complicated looking anyway.

Forever Young, thanks. I am laying out a bunch more designs right now.

Kim said...

Suki, this is a fascinating process. I have not seen it done before, but it seems to be perfect for these collages. I am assuming the wax seals the natural elements so well they don't dry or loose color or anything...how cool is that?

I have never seen anything like the quilting iron...is that used for some other process, as well?

Suki, I also have to say a HUGE THANK YOU for taking the time to do this process with photographs and explanation. That is a lot of tedious work and I thank you.

This is fantastic!

katie jane said...

Oh yes!! I like this a lot! Thank you for showing the process. I may give this a try at some point. Very interesting and the results are fascinating.

sukipoet said...

Kim, it was fun doing the photos however there were some two handed things I couldn't photo.

I assume quilters use the quilting iron for something or other. Otherwise I havent seen it used in crafts but most likely it is. You could also use a travel iron but the size of the quilting iron makes it easy to use.

I made some wax collages last year with plant matter in them and yes, so far the color stays well and also of course it protects the plant from crumbling which is one reason I love the wax. I like to usse plants in my craftworks.

Your welcome Katie Jane. I hope to do a couple more today. Be well, Suki

CHEWY said...

suki,
Fascinating process and thanks for the explanation and showing all the tools you use.

Is there a smell? Or does the beeswax waft a pleasant aroma?

Cestandrea said...

Like old times frozen in time. This looks great, and so tactile, you just want to touch it to feel the smooth wax on the objects. A memory collage. It inspires to make up stories for the people on the cards too, including all the objects you assembled there:) Beautiful,
Andrea

Sara Lechner said...

this is great, suki, I love the texture and the lace!

marianne said...

Oh yes it is just beautiful!
And fascinating to see and read the proces!
So wonderful that you share all these things with us.
It is always so inspiring to stop by here!
hug Marianne

sukipoet said...

Good question Chewy. with two answers. You are supposed to have a vent to be totally safe working with hot wax. Now this may be more for encaustic painting which takes longer and encaustic has damar in it. And the pigments.

I dont ventilate and so far have not felt overcome with any fumes, but I do it with the doors to outside open.

There is a marvelous beeswax odor though too. Hard to describe, but it is fresh and healthy smelling. I like it.

andrea, of course my collages are nothing like the Fayoum portraits but they were done in wax too. Look how long they lasted. I am sure there is lots more to explore in using the wax. I do love that sense of it being old.

Sarah, thanks for stopping by. I am newish at this,but I love it.

Marianne, this is the wonder of the blogs. You can share your work as you go along if you wish. I've always been the kind of person who wants to say, look, see what I did today. When I post it on the blog, I figure anyone who finds it boring just wont read it. And those who find it interesting will and on top of that I get to say LOOK.

sukipoet said...

And receive so much encouragement from everyone who reads and comments for which I am grateful. Very inspiring.