Sunday, July 13, 2014

What I Learned Today: Encaustic 101

Well I did it. After a lot of reading and imagining, I went out and purchased the following: 
$30 electric griddle from Black n Decker
$130 worth of medium, encaustic paints, a brush and a couple of Ampersand boards. And a surface thermometer. When I got home, I pilfered the muffin tins from the cupboard in lieu of special aluminum pots from the Blick store (way cheaper, and I never make muffins or cupcakes anyway.) I rounded up two more natural-bristle brushes from the studio, and ...

Here's what I know after Day 1: 

1. Buy the encaustic medium in beads rather than the bar. They have to be easier to deal with. With the bar, you have to cut hunks off with a hot knife if you're trying to control quantity or mix glazes. It's tricky, and sticky. 
2. I will run out of medium WAY before I run out of pigments! A little encaustic pigment goes a LONG way. 
3. I need more brushes. Big ones. Little ones mean more brush strokes, and more application with the heat gun to smooth them out. 
4. The heat gun is a blunt instrument. It will take time before I figure out how to avoid pushing puddles of pigment around while I try to smooth out brushstrokes and bubbles. 
5. Keep the cat out of the room. 
6. ANYTHING will stick to the board, including buttons, leaves, a funny bracelet, a bobby pin, and cat hair. Especially cat hair. 
7. If you don't like it, scrape it off! Hardly anything is irreversible. I'm especially pleased by this because that's one of the things I like best about sewing.  

8. I have LOTS of mark-making tools! In fact I'm reminded of one of the qualities that made oil pastels so appealing for so long, namely, that you can make marks in it and push it around. Very plastic. 
9. When you start carving into the stuff, beware -- the crumbs stick to everything. 
10. And finally ... MAN THIS IS FUN!

My first experiment with encaustic. Size 8x8 inches. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

Well, for the first time I have submitted work for the fairly prestigious Fine Arts Show at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. This one is a nail-biter. These shows are enormous in size, viewed by literally thousands of  people, and tend to be high-quality. Fiber and textiles are an emerging category for this show, and to be included would be significant.

Plus, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the State Fair. Love it. And to be rejected would definitely make me sad.

But, all rejections are a bit painful, and so I have screwed up my courage. It helps that a bunch of textile artists I know have submitted this year. I can cheer my friends who are accepted, and commiserate with those who are not.

Good vibes people!


Adding to my stash of rust-dyed floss and pearl cotton, for use on projects that include rust-dyed cloth.