Thursday, July 28, 2011

ENCAUSTIC Update: Using the TIP!

After a short break, I'm back to making art and more specifically, back to working with encaustic.  After some shouts out (i.e. begging), I am very pleased to have received a few very helpful tips on encaustic, and some fantastic contacts whose brains I will be picking.  A huge THANK YOU to Heather at Green Genes who makes some really fantastic encaustic collages (check out her stuff at Green Genes, 5111 N. Clark in Andersonville,  I go in there all the time looking at the adorable and eco-friendly kid stuff, and this last time I happened to ask her about her encaustic pieces.  We got chatting about my pathetic attempts and she nodded and smiled, as if she knew exactly how I tried to improvize with my beginner process!  Maybe she was just being kind.  Regardless, I came out with a very helpful tip- literally!  She suggested that I try a quilter's iron.   I promptly headed to Michael's (because it is actually more difficult to find these than you might think... except online), and purchased the iron for about $35.  As you might recall, I tried using a heat gun prior, but that seemed almost TOO powerful as it pushed the wax across my board like a high power blower pushes the water across your windshield when you get a car wash.  This little triangular heated tip allowed me to 1. control the heat level, and 2. control the wax depending on how hard I pushed, how long I held the tip to the wax, and how I moved the tip across the piece.  Wow, this was very helpful for this control freak.  I also mentioned to her how I was working with the pigment sticks as well.  Heather nodded and said that she has not worked with them, but that she's heard it is difficult.  YES!  It IS rather difficult!  The sticks are so potent and saturated!  But, again, if I had several little pots where I could mix the pigment with the wax medium, as opposed to my attempts to pallet, I think I'd have a lot more success.  Heather also suggested using a small crockpot. That is my next mission. 

Another helpful contact tip was from Jen Chrzanowski- THANK YOU!  She suggested a contact who works in encaustic, and I will be speaking with that contact shortly.  I'm really looking forward to some suggestions from a PRO! 

As I worked with the encaustic, I started adding more and more layers of "clear" wax (which is not clear, of course, it is translucent off white) to add to the depth and help subdue my heavily saturated areas.  I think that on the next piece, I may try to build up some layers of wax prior to applying the collage images.  Maybe.  We'll see. 

Again, I hate to be a jerk, but I feel like I have to keep you in the dark until I have shipped this piece to its rightful owner as it is a surprise.  Stay tuned!!

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