Here are three recent eco prints on watercolour postcards, mounted on MDF board.
Afterwards, I enhanced the prints with encaustic medium.
Quite a process. I gathered the leaves to make the prints. I sandwiched the gathered leaves between the watercolour cards, then the cards between two ceramic tiles, bound the parcel tightly with rubber bands and string and boiled it for two hours in madder root dye, which stained the edges of the prints.
After mounting the cards, I added the encaustic wax in layers, fusing each layer with a hot gun, then when cold and hardened, I polished the surfaces to a high sheen.
The mounts are three from 12 I bought for next to nothing in 2009 from an outlet selling secondhand furniture, household goods and collectables. It was called La Trocante – it’s a franchise and there are stores scattered across France and Belgium.
This Trocante (Trocante is a fusion of two words – brocante (flea market) and tri from trier (to sort)). It was a big metal warehouse, 20 minutes from our then home, which was situated halfway between Paris and Chartres.
There were already pictures mounted on the MDF boards. There’s a groove on the back for hanging. After replacing the original pictures with my own work, I polished up the back and edges with liquid beeswax.
I also made the encaustic wax – a mix of unbleached beeswax and damar (tree) resin. I made a big batch of encaustic cakes a year ago this month. I blogged about the process here: The Ginger Echternach Gospels, Ginger Cup Cakes and the Dream of the Ginger Kitten.
I wrote this: “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 think in that dream I was the ginger kitten, eating and eating. Starving, eating food for the soul. Art as spiritual nourishment. Was the dream also premonitory? A promise that if I persevered, I would be rewarded with an abundance of spiritual food? For I am experiencing abundance. Yes, while these little works do not in themselves express the things I want to say, they are a part of those cycles of communication.
One thing, contemplating these, and all my recent prints, I was drawn to look at reliquaries – beautiful containers for relics deemed holy. I have been looking at eco prints on one level as relics. Relics of Nature. But it came to me that maybe they are not the relics but the reliquaries. For while we continue to damage Nature – biodiversity – when we have finally wrung out of Nature the last drops of anything of use to our survival, we will become extinct. Nature, however, will continue, as a beautiful reliquary for humankind.
Or cup cake? Shall we have Nature as reliquary or cup cake?