Encaustic Arts Magazine WINTER 2017 - Page 38

One of my first reasons for using wax was simply to harden books, making them rigid and therefore freezing them in new shapes. As I was experimenting with its materiality, I found the wax also added a conceptual layer. The spine pieces of the Reading Our Remains series are and excellent example. To make them, I ripped the pages out of a book, leaving jagged paper attached to a spine, and then submerged this spine in a cylinder of wax. One surprise of this activity was how the paper expanded and unfolded radially out from the spine: a beautiful delight that froze in place as the wax hardened. I was then able to cut the cylinder into slices, cross-sectioning the spine. The result was not only appealing, but reminded me of fossil specimens and petrified wood—with wax I was performing my own style of petrification. The glowing translucency of the wax added to this idea, freezing the fanned book pages like an insect frozen in amber. This result was unexpected but interesting and spawned a series of over one hundred small sculptures which addressed the preservation of information throughout time by transforming the man-made book into fossilized objects.