In 2012, my first experience with Encaustic Wax was at a weekend workshop called “Intro to Encaustic” taught by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.
We had originally wanted to get Daniella Woolf, who was teaching at Maiwa that year (none of us had managed to get into her workshop) and so when we were looking for another teacher as Daniella’s schedule was booked, with a stroke of luck or be it fate, got Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.
It was a cold, wet and rainy weekend. The creek was threatening to overflow its banks. The power kept on blowing the breakers and yet Patricia took it all in stride.
Patricia is sweet, happy, kind, low key, approachable, knowledgeable, giving, goes with the flow and punches and was an absolute treat to have as a teacher. She demonstrates and then works right alongside her students, creating more of an openstudio atmosphere than a workshop. We learned many different techniques and went home with many finished and some unfinished pieces.
These pieces started off as cradled 8″ x 10″ birch plywood panels that were coated with a thin coating of clear Encaustic wax. Then we printed images in reverse on TAP and burnished the images into the wax. Another thin coat of clear wax was applied with a top coat of varnish which was promptly lit on fire with a torch giving this final look.
Again, using cradled 8″ x 10″ birch plywood panel that was coated with a thin coating of clear Encaustic wax, these pieces were painted with coloured wax. The bubbles and flow in the wax were created by the hot air from a moving heat gun. In the piece on the left I placed a piece of gift wrap paper onto the coloured wax and in the piece on the right, I placed a piece of printed TAP onto the coloured wax. To each piece I then applied a coating of clear wax. The letters on each piece were etched into the wax and filled by rubbing a type of pastel crayon into the etchings to make the etched letters and designs more noticable. Other than Pipi Longstocking, Heidi, and Curious George, Winnie the Pooh stories have always been my most favourite children’s stories. I always related to either Pooh or Eyeore. I think the left piece could use some more wax. Oh bother.
I had polished these pieces to get the wax shine back before I photographed them as in time the wax gets dull and occasionally needs a good rub. This is done with the heel of your hand or with a pair of nylons using a gentle circular motion and can only be done if the finished piece has a fairly smooth surface. Unfortunately, this caused severe reflection from the flash in some of the images. Photography skills in progress.
We also were given some cotton and silk fabric that can be used to print images with an ink jet printer. I prepared the 8″ x 10″ birch plywood panel with clear Encaustic wax, added layers of coloured wax swirled and fused together with the heat gun and placed the cotton fabric onto the wax with another coat of clear wax. To my dismay the fabric soaked in the wax from below and the image almost disappeared. I then added the silk fabric on top, trying to line up the images. This strengthened the images somewhat although one image is ghosting. I used self-adhesive Letraset to add Possibilities.
I think this piece turned out too dark. The 2-1/2″ × 3-1/2″ Encaustibord (has a white coating and is specifically made for Encaustic wax and mixed medium) was covered with tar and let dry. I then applied printed fabric followed by a thin coating of clear wax. The text, which reads “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. -Buddha” almost disappears.
This piece is unfinished and still needs some work. The 8″ x 10″ birch plywood panel was left bare, covered with a stencil on the top half and then had Spackle applied with a spatula over the stencil, almost like silk screening. The stencil was removed and promptly put into water to soak. I repeated the process on the bottom half using Plaster of Paris. The board was then laid on paper on the floor in another room to dry. Once dry, coloured Encaustic wax was applied over the Spackle and Plaster of Paris. However, I ran out of time and was unable to complete the process.
I love working with wax and this is a nice medium to work with in a well vented area and has a lot of possibilities to be artistic and creative.
During the whole “Intro to Encaustic” workshop, Trish kept mentioning something called EncaustiCamp. She was so enthusiastic, bubbling over as she talked about it, that I knew in my heart I had to go. I felt a calling.
Thank you Trish. My journey has just started.