New Contemplation 

Monday night there was a meeting for POST on the hottest evening of the year (97F or 36.1C). Fortunately, it wasn’t only about business, but involved a potluck dinner too! It’s always fun to gather with such a diverse group of artists! Not everyone could make it, but there were several new faces and some of friends not seen for quite a while. One in particular was Shannon Weber who I met only last year during a show at The Arts Center. That lead to my taking a one-on-one weekend workshop from her last spring and pushing me forward with more sculptural paper and wax combinations.

Seeing Shannon made me think about reconnecting with beeswax again. I’ve been struggling with glue/paper issues on all of my creations. Photomount spray glue is a massive pain in the ass and doesn’t seem to hold firm forever (I’ve been watching work at friends homes for the past couple of years). If you roll or brush on PVA glue over a thin papercut work, the glue always seeps around to the front edge and creates a glossy surface after drying (and buckles the paper below). Annoying and thoroughly frustrating after all that work. On Monday I had created and colored another black berry piece specifically to fit a black frame sitting on my desk. After the glue application, in which loads had seeped around to the front, I had about had it. That night I showed it to my husband and he proclaimed, “why not wax it?” Duh! Why not indeed?! That particular piece is too late to save and is pictured below. Maybe someone will still want it with the flaws.

blackberry vines1-1

So here I am on Wednesday and decided to give it a good test. I used 140# coldpressed watercolor paper for the cut and colored it with acrylic ink.

Small test piece colored and ready to attach to mulberry paper.
Small test piece colored and ready to attach to mulberry paper.

Next it was attached to the mulberry paper via a cellulose glue. I made sure to add plenty of glue to have it seep around to the front.

Glue down
Glue down with plenty of seepage onto the front surface.

Once the initial glue dried, a balsa wood frame was attached and the mulberry paper glued to the surface.

Cut paper attached to balsa wood frame and dried. Ready for wax application
Cut paper attached to balsa wood frame and dried. Ready for wax application.

Wax was applied to all surfaces then heat saturated. Everything always shifts to golden yellows after applying beeswax. In the case of the blue, it gave it a green tinge.

Work after heat saturating the wax into the paper.
Work after heat saturating the wax into the paper.

However, when light is placed behind, the yellow disappears and the paper becomes more translucent.

Shining a light behind the  test work
Shining a light behind the test work

So, I think I’ll create another larger work to test out this idea more thoroughly before tackling the tree rings. With the additional reminders of color shifts, I will probably darken the tree rings even more.

treerings darker-1
Second round of color on the tree ring piece.

More thoughts and tests to come. It’s also time to start working with the bench router I brought home a couple of weeks back. It should enable more control and smoother cuts on the fir or hemlock to frame the works.

Published by paperstew

I'm an artist in Albany Oregon focusing on paper and natural objects for inspiration.

5 thoughts on “New Contemplation 

  1. I’m sorry for your frustration but it sounds like you landed on a good solution. I like where all this is going and I look forward to seeing more of these beautiful creations!

    1. Frustrations always lead to solutions eventually. Or a project just gets bagged if it’s too tough, but that never seems to be the case in this studio. They just hang around until the critters to destroy them instead. 😉

  2. Part of the fun of creating new pieces is in solving problems that arise, but the frustration till you get there is not so great! Wax is such lovely stuff, so warm and tactile. As I mentioned on your FB post, I immediately thought of my old waxer I used in the old days of real cut and paste. I am now thinking of getting it out and seeing if it still works!

    1. I’m going to have to look up one of these old waxers because they sound so intriguing! Yes, artists are true problemsolvers, and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much. So many more problems to come with this particular project!

  3. I like your wax solution, it gives the work such lovely depth. Making art is such a problem solving activity, whether it is where to place a line, how to use a material or trying to figure out why a drawing went wrong. I just enjoy the challenge of it all. Karen

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