Minding my own Beeswax

Without the garden and the stenciled wall to keep my hands occupied, you can t ell that I am now busy with my winter activities. Although knitting has taken precedence these past weeks, one of the other things that I have been doing is making collages. Lately I’ve been experimenting with beeswax and I think I’ve found my calling.

This is the cheap crockpot that I melt the pure beeswax in, along with my trusty paintbrush. Instead of using glue to adhere the bits and pieces of the collage to the wood or canvas surface, I paint some beeswax on and then arrange the pieces as I like. As I put them the pieces on, I also cover them in beeswax. The beeswax dries immediately, so if I want to reorganise the collage, I use a hairdryer to warm up the wax and shift things around.

With the pieces I’m showing here, I haven’t done the final touchups to even out the beeswax.

The good thing is that I can spend hours at this and enjoy the subtle scent of honey as I play. It’s fun and easy. Now that I’ve mastered this, I will begin to use this technique when altering books. That was the reason why I first tried beeswax – to see what it was like to work with and if I could incorporate it in altered books. Now I’m hooked.

24 thoughts on “Minding my own Beeswax

  1. teeni says:

    Wow – I didn’t realize beeswax was so versatile. Hmmm. Question for you – will the beeswax be the final coat for the altered book or is there something that goes on over that? I’m interested in the altered books but haven’t done any yet. I’ve always planned to make some as gifts for my mom and mother in law.

  2. anna maria says:

    That looks like a lot of fun. I am very much attracted to altered books and collage art in general. I have a subscription to a great magazine called Cloth, Paper, Scissors (don’t know if you are familiar with it), which I read cover to cover several times, and I have lots of supplies to work with, but for some reason I have done little in this medium. I think there are too many choices, too manty possibilities and I just can’t quite get started!

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Hmmmmm. I bet when you hold the altered book for some time you would get the feeling in your hands/fingers that it was alive.

  4. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    This looks like a lot of fun Kate. It seems to me that you’ll be pretty busy this winter with all your various projects. How are the goldfish doing BTW? Are they used to being indoors again?

  5. Pam says:

    I’ve seen this technique and have to say that your pieces are absolutely fantastic. Very well done!

  6. jodi says:

    First thing in the morning, haven’t even had coffee yet…and here I am learning something new! I’ve never seen this sort of technique using beeswax before, and I’m quite smitten. I have lots of lovely beeswax candles around, which I adore for their fragrance as well as their long burning, but this is really appealling too. Don’t forget to go vote today, Kate–I heard about the election and the possible change in gov. on CBC’s The Current–funny how we hear so little about other provinces politics a lot of the time.

  7. Cicero Sings says:

    Interesting! I would never have thought to use bees wax in such an effective fashion. I buy bees wax for use in a soap recipe so have a block of bees was on hand … I’ll have to get it out this winter and put it to new use!

  8. grannyfiddler says:

    brilliant! and no messy/hazardous chemicals. i used to dip my salt dough christmas ornaments in melted beeswax, to seal/protect them and give them an aged look. (and, of course, they smelled wonderful)have you tried batik?your collages are fascinating – thought provoking and so full of beautiful details

  9. aria says:

    your a fantastic artist, wow! i can only imagine one of your altered books after seeing this!!

  10. Laura says:

    love your collages!! have you ever done encaustic monotype? it’s a wonderful art form done on a heated metal plate with artist grade wax and then a print is taken, i’ll have to post a couple i have done on my blog. you can do straight wax or collage things with beeswax as you have done. fun, fun! i love seeing the transition of your subjects now that winter has arrived for you.

  11. healingmagichands says:

    Oh, Kate! Thank you for this inspiring post. I love collage, and I have not been doing it mostly because I do not like the glue and the way it sticks to everything and attracts dirt so that smudges get on my paper. I have lots of bees wax because I make candles and also use it as the hardening agent when I make first aid salve. I will definitely be trying this.

  12. bindi says:

    I like the idea of using natural products. Your description of getting to know your medium was interesting. Its the same with lots of practical tasks. You need to have that play before you know what you could be capable of achieving. Great that you have so many crafty projects on the go to get you through the cool months.

  13. Ki says:

    Very lovely collages. I see you’ve incorporated dried plants and flowers into the collages-what a wonderful idea. I took a course in art conservation once and the first project we did was to prepare a ground of gesso from scratch using an ancient formula which used rabbit skin glue, gypsum and lead white pigment. We then painted a picture using pigments added to beeswax, a technique first used by the Egyptians in their faience burial portrait paintings. It was a laborious process having to melt the wax then add the pigments, keeping the wax warm while applying it to the gessoed surface. The wax would almost immediately solidify on the cold surface so a burn-in process with a light bulb and reflector was used to melt and fuse the wax. An interesting process but not a good one for spontaneity. Although your wonderful collages don’t need it, adding pigments to your wax might give your collages an extra layer of interest. Just be careful when using dry pigments though as some of them are very toxic, like the cadmiums and lead based ones. Love to see all your creative works.

  14. Willow says:

    The last collage is my favorite. But how can one choose a ‘favorite’? I think it’s the combination of organic and adventure.I work only in fiber arts. There is a whole world of mediums out there I know nothing about. Thank you for introducing me to beeswax in some other form than a rolled candle.

  15. Clare says:

    Hi Kate! Your beeswax collages are breathtakingly beautiful!!! And I bet the beeswax smells incredible. You are such an amazing artist in whatever you do. And I also love the photos of your knitting and wool and scarves in the posts below. Wow!:)

  16. Kylee says:

    Oh Kate, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that third one from the bottom a LOT! These are wonderful! You are SUCH a talented person. I’m in amazement at all the varied things you do and you do them all so well!

  17. VINTAGE GIRL AT HEART says:

    Oh I love these. They look like fun. is it a project that you can leave and then come back to??Thanks for sharing!!

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