Monday, May 19, 2008

Advanced Beeswax Collage Workshop

Well, we were a small group - just myself and three students - but we had a relaxing and productive workshop at the nova studio in Point Richmond, CA. Since i always mention how cute it is - i thought i may as well show you what i mean!

The store front window has samples of all the classes you can take from soap making, candles, PMC jewelery, and other assorted bath and beauty products - almost all of it with 100% natural and organic materials. In addition to my collage classes you can take an image transfer workshop with expert Angela Silva, or business courses relating to converting a hobby into a profitable pursuit.

To get started with our class we took two cheap (ie plain old stapled on the back)8" x 10" stretched canvases and applied a thin coat of melted beeswax to the back, which will be the front. Next we selected a background paper, stiffer scrapbook type, to create a niche - by cutting a template and marking it on the paper and cutting an "X". This is used to create the corners that guide where to fold little flaps.

This paper was placed on the canvas and another coat of beeswax applied, especially where the flaps meet the canvas - to create a firm bond. Repeat with the other canvas. With the basic structure

complete we were ready to select focal point images and other collage materials from the assortment i supplied.
I went with a bird theme (surprise surprise) alternating printed papers, ephemera and mulberry to create layers.

Once the niche side of the canvas was mostly done, it is time to flip them over and collage the back. Apply a coat of beeswax to the back, and while you are at it - the sides, top and bottom. I chose to go simply with sheet music, some ledger paper and some torn printed tissue - finishing with a couple of butterflies.
I trimmed the edges of the canvas with thin strips of scrapbook paper, then turned my attentions back to the focal point - the niches - to create some three dimensional whimsy. I used moss and twigs to create a nesting place. I tried to add some speckled eggs, but they were too large in scale to the birds.

Now to complete the artwork, two brass hinges are screwed into the edges. And as a final touch i added the words FLY FLY. (yes like from Silence of the Lambs, go figure!)

One of the great things about working with beeswax is there are no mistakes. Don't like what you did? Just melt it with a heat gun, remove the papers, and start again. I used a diagonal composition on my piece - alternating top and bottom for each element. But i found that the dark brown mulberry paper on the top on the right side was too heavy - like a big black storm cloud. So i melted the wax, removed it and added a lighted turquoise blue. Much better - don't you agree? Try doing that with a normal gel medium collage!
A touch of oil pastels around the edges and smeared into the wax harmonizes the piece.
Here are some images of the beautiful artwork created by the students. (note they are perhaps not quite finished - but you can see how striking the are) They had the most fun i think rummaging through my supply of interesting metal do-hickies. They add a great textural effect to the collage.

Thanks to Carol, Kate and Sharon for fun Sunday creating Beeswax Collage artwork.

1 comment:

Mónica Zúñiga said...

What a wonderful workshop! I wish I was there too! And what a beautiful place!