Friday, October 9, 2009

Beeswax for Arts Sake...

Sorry for the absence – we have had serious internet issues over the last three weeks. We think it is finally resolved and I can once again stay in touch.

Besides, I have not been that active, creatively speaking. I seem to need a project or swap obligation to get me going. So I was anxious to participate in a local store’s collective art project.

Zinnia is an altered artist’s dream store – and it is just a hop and a skip away in beautiful South Pasadena. They recently relocated to a new store front on historic Mission Street, a larger space with better facilities and a cool classroom space. They have all kinds of workshops with renowned and local instructors. It would be a great spot for me to start up my altered book group here in So-Cal.

Anyhoo, they are sponsoring an art show in conjunction with Each piece of artwork will sell for 350 pesos, or $26.22

They gave away hundreds of 5” square pieces of wood for any interested artist to paint, draw, carve or collage. 5" is about 350 by 350 picas! There will be a show and sale on October 24th. Please stop by if you are in the area and check it out! Each block will be sold for $26. 350 cents from each block sold will be donated to the 350 carbon organization.

I asked for 4 blocks to create something. I knew I wanted to do beeswax collage. It gives a simple collage an organic quality that I like. I thought – this is the perfect opportunity to use ORIGINAL ephemera, why not, eh?

Of course I scanned everything first!! I was looking through vintage images and decided upon a series featuring my mother and her sister.

A few years ago I borrowed a bunch of snaps from my mother, so I could scan them and have them on hand for such a purpose. I carefully put them back in my mom’s old photo album, slipping them into the little black photo corners. I numbered the backs of each photo and the empty space in the album in pencil, to help facilitate this procedure.

The pictures are of Sirkka and Hillevi, two girls born of Finish parents, who emigrated to Canada in 1929. They range from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. They include a shot with my grandparents on a beach, the two teenage girls on the streets of Montreal, out for a drive in the country with their good friends, who became my godparents, and finally my parent’s wedding, with my aunt as matron of honour.

I started by melting the wax in a crock pot. I gave the blocks of wood a quick sanding over the rough edges. And applied a thin layer of wax. I used an assortment of ephemera – letters, ledger pages, and legal documents as background, along with some vintage floral wallpaper.

I cut out the images from the backgrounds and darkened the edges with a bit of cats eye ink. I “glued” everything to the blocks using the melted beeswax. I rearranged things as I went – some of the letters were so sheer once the wax was applied, they made better overlays than backgrounds. That’s the cool thing about working with beeswax, you can always melt it and re-position your collage materials. Or completely start over!

I also used some advertising from an 1890’s magazine. And some blue chip stamps. My heart breaks for all those 50’s housewives that collected stamps from the grocery store – only to never cash them in for prizes. Why else would I be able to get bushels of them at estate sales?

A bit of lace adds some texture and a nice romantic touch. I added more ephemera around the edges of the blocks, and finished off the back with some vintage gummed labels for my name and blog site.

So what do these little collages have to do with global warming, and the mandate? Probably nothing. But they do say something about the family and the importance of respect for the generations. And that is something we need to think about in the future. Also it is nice to think about the environment and the plight of the bees. and my beeswax artwork smells lovely of honey!

1 comment:

Aileen said...

Great pieces and what a wonderful project to be part of.