Saturday, 15 November 2014

Note Book by Susan L.

  In those few seconds between sleep and awake brilliant blog ideas seem to pop up. They vanish in moments as sleep wins the battle for a few more minutes. It might be a good idea to keep a pen and note book on my bedside table although it would mean waking up enough to write them down. Don't know how well that would work. So I'll write about my day yesterday.
  We had a lady come to the centre to run a workshop on how to do encaustic art. It uses Crayola crayons, the best quality, and an iron. The less expensive crayons lacked the level of pigment for intense colours. The center picked up a couple second hand irons at one of the local thrift stores for the workshop. A travel iron would be ideal since it's a bit smaller. The facilitator had a tool similar to a soldering iron to make flowers and other more detailed objects but I forget what it is called. It heats up various tools to create different effects.
  Basically, encaustic art is applying melted crayons, using the iron, to any kind of glossy paper. We tried photo paper but the plastic layer melted. Bristol board or glossy print paper worked the best. A linen cardstock added its own texture which created a different effect.
  After we chose our paper, the next step was to put a layer of beeswax on it because it helps the melted crayon flow across the surface. The beeswax was bought in a block at the local health food store although beeswax candles would work just as well. The hot iron is applied to it and quickly lifted to spread this first layer on the paper.
  It was most enjoyable. It took a bit to get the irons set so they didn't smoke. Low heat works best. The smoke is not good for you. The melted beeswax left an aroma of honey in the room that was very pleasant. The melted crayons? Not so much.
  They are applied by holding the iron upside down and melting the crayon on the point. It is then applied to the paper. Oh, peel the paper off the crayons first.
  It was surprising how many different effects the iron could create. By pushing it, pulling it, sliding it sideways or simply placing it on the paper and lifting it up created an astounding variety of textures. Throw in some different colours and the results were beautiful.
  The iron was kept clean by pressing it on brown paper towel and wiping the base off.
  The final step was to polish the piece with a tissue by rubbing it quickly. It gave it a nice shine.
  It was suggested to seal the piece using podge, a clear drying adhesive, especially if you were using this technique to make things like bookmarks. It wasn't so necessary if it was going to be framed.
  So there you have it: encaustic art. A fancy name for an opportunity to play, once again, with crayons.
  "The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I will make the place of My feet glorious." Is 60:13


  1. That is so cool and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome! One more thing: make sure your work surface is well protected from dripping wax!

  2. That is lovely-you make it sound easy but I think one needs an artistic eye like yours to create such lovely affects.


    1. Nope. I've only shown the best of five. The sixth got tossed because it looked like mud. If you're not happy with how a piece is going, a swipe with the iron lets you start again. With one piece, it was the back that had picked up melted wax from the protective worksheet underneath. It was way better than the front!
      I want to encourage you and others who don't believe they are creative to give it a try. The fun is in the experimenting. It's the kind of art form that has a life of its own.