Encaustic Arts Magazine WINTER 2017 - Page 35

Though I don’t think of myself as an encaustic artist, a quick glance at how I describe my work proves otherwise: over and over I list my materials as “books and wax”. Though the wax is often upstaged by books, it is the properties of wax, its malleability and rigidity alike, that make my work possible. I see myself as a sort of inventor/sculptor, specializing in taking man-made objects and transforming them into pieces inspired by the shapes and textures of nature. Though I’ve used many materials: pencils, PVC pipe, wire, Q-tips, and toilet paper, the materials I always come back to are books… and wax. In my early experiments, I tried dipping many different objects in hot wax just to see what would happen and how the materials would respond. Most things looked awful, but wax seemed to really bring out the beauty in paper, specifically book pages. As I experimented, I learned some amazing things I could do with wax and books that exploited the basic properties of each. A single book page dipped in wax, for instance, becomes more beautiful: the paper itself becomes slightly translucent, poetically blurring the text of one side of the page with the shadow of the text from the flip side. The wax also gives the paper a satin luster, similar to parchment, and brings out the color of the paper: from creamy pinks and manila yellows, to amber browns and bluish greys… it is amazing the vast variety of colors that can be brought out by this simple method.