HEALTH HAZARD WARNING. IF YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A GO AT MAKING ENCAUSTIC MEDIUM, TAKE PRECAUTIONS. THE PROCESS INVOLVES MELTING BEESWAX AND DAMAR RESIN. OBVIOUSLY, MOLTEN WAX/RESIN CAN CAUSE SERIOUS BURNS.
VENTILATION IS IMPORTANT: BEESWAX WHEN MELTING/MELTED GIVES OFF FUMES WHICH ARE POISONOUS.
KEEP CHILDREN AND PETS AWAY, AWAY, AWAY. LOCK AWAY YOUR MEDIUMS AND RESINS FROM CURIOUS LITTLE FINGERS AND PAWS. BE SMART.
I expected the upheaval, but I never dreamt that installing new carpeting would be so harrowing. Giving it a bit of thought, …
It’s about dismantling. Each room has had to be emptied, stripped bare and down.
It’s about unearthing. Objects stored away have come to light. Some never belonged to me but I have had legally to take responsibility for them. This is about family deaths. This stuff and its associations have been put away until I could find the time and emotion to deal with it.
The plus side of all of this upheaval is that I’ve been able to complete some decorating jobs in double-quick time. And the stored stuff is not going back again. No way. I’m not going to put all that pain back in the sideboard. Now that’s a curious thing. I noticed when removing its contents that one side of the sideboard has suffered some kind of trauma and has separated from the main frame and warped. It will need tacking back into place, repairing. Can psychological trauma be transferred into pieces of furniture? A myriad B movies will confirm that concept, I think.
Floors, metaphysically, are all about stability, the foundations of one’s life. These mean different things to different folks. If during a word association session, you said floor to me, I might respond shifting sands. Curiouser and curiouser. The new carpeting is two-toned: dark sand and light sand. Heading towards, but not, ginger like the kitten in my dream.
I did grab some time and space amidst all the carpet chaos to make up a new supply of encaustic medium. I got the damar resin and beeswax from Cornellison’s. L Cornellison & Son, Artist’s Colourmen, is a short walk from the British Museum and Bloomsbury Street. It’s been going since 1855 and no doubt the artist members of the renowned Bloomsbury Group bought their paint supplies there when they might have been served by assistants in bustles. It is a cornucopia of art supplies and the interior resembles Ollivander’s wand shop in Diagon Alley, though it has to be said that the Ollivanders go back to 382 B.C. when they arrived in Britain with the Romans. Is it likely that Ollivander derives from Olive Wand Maker, I wonder?
I combined my visit to Cornellison’s with a visit to an exhibition at the British Museum: Celts, Art and Identity, so made a day of it. I’m interested in all things Celtic, being Northumbrian. I was especially attracted, being a bookish type, to the display of the Echternach Gospels.
Getting back to the ginger kitten. The first picture here is of the encaustic medium I concocted from the damar resin and beeswax I bought from Cornellison’s. I bought unbleached beeswax, which is why the resulting encaustic cakes are ginger. P.S. bleach isn’t used in the bleaching process, by the way.
The second picture is of the medium setting after being poured into cup cake moulds. When they’ve hardened, you just peel the moulds away from them.
The third picture is of the ginger molten resin/beeswax mixture and the fourth is a picture of impurities (the flora and fauna which get trapped in the tree resin) caught in the sieve after pouring the mixture through.
The last picture is of a page from the Echternach Gospels. That’ quite gingery too, isn’t it? Well, the book’s also called The Golden Gospels of Echternach and is likely to have been made on Lindisfarne (Northumbria). So I suppose my kitten dream could also be gold as much as ginger, given its context. These encaustic cup cakes looked (and smelled – as they smell like honey) delicious. I admit to putting one into my mouth, biting down gently on it, licking it. Sorry, couldn’t resist it. And in my dream that night, a plump little ginger kitten was doing just the same. He was eating and eating.
I guess I was hungry. I am certainly hungry for art as all this shifting furniture and shifting sands carpeting has seriously hampered (forgive the food pun) my creativity. Except for the cup cakes. I’m reading that dreaming of kittens is about life transitions. And that I have to give something up that I can’t do without. This certainly fits all this upheaval and sorting through stuff and deciding what to let go and what to keep. This has been particularly illuminating in respect of the stuff in my studio. Shifting through years of work (and not just art) completed and half-finished, has shown me something important about direction. More on that another time.
I’ve not tried making encaustic medium with unbleached beeswax before. I suspect the artworks that come about will be ginger – or gold, like the Echternach Gospels.
PS I made my encaustic medium after watching oodles of You Tube videos. Just google You Tube: Making Encaustic Medium. And here’s a good non-You Tube method from Instructables.
Well, my studio is all set up again. Except we had to shift all the furniture into it from the bedroom. Patience. By the end of the week the sands will have shifted again and I will have my studio back. Cleansed and carpeted.
Are your sands shifting? I’d like to know.