Encaustic Arts Magazine WINTER 2017 - Page 40

The notion of a petrified book became so intriguing to me, I kept leaning into that idea. Soon I was taking entire books and submerging them in a slow cooker of melted wax. Amazingly, paper soaks up wax faster and more readily than water, so all I have to do is immerse the book for a while and the entire thing is permeated, even the cover and spine. Once cooled, the book is hard and heavy, much like a dense block of wood. And like a block of wood, it can then be cut or carved. There is something very satisfying about this process; I am tunneling through someone else’s thoughts and words. Normally the whole point of a book is the content within it, by carving into the book itself I am connecting instead to the physicality of the book and obscuring the content: now you can only read the book in an aesthetic sense. The shapes I create have an erosive or weathered quality which maps the concept of eventual decay and loss onto the book, and by extension, onto ourselves.