Wax On… Wax Off

Ah, there’s nothing like learning a brand new technique, is there? For many crafters, it’s an opportunity to think outside their box, befriend a new medium, maybe even discover a previously untapped vein of artistic gold within.

For me it’s usually a chance to see exactly how far off course I can steer the old art barge.

I’m not one of those people who’s able to visualize a finished project and then recreate it in the material world. I’m more an, “Okay, let’s try THIS and see what happens!” kind of crafter. Consequently, for every pretty good piece of art I manage to turn out, there are something like four (hundred) pieces that just plain stink.

I’m still debating which category this latest piece falls into.

“Why is this key sticking out of my forehead?!”

I love online tutorials, and Suze Weinberg does some of the best. I just adore her, anyway, and wish I could hang out with her in a coffeehouse some rainy afternoon and listen to her tell stories about her life. Suze makes everything look fun and easy and completely do-able. So, when I watched her turn a vat of melted beeswax pellets into a ridiculously gorgeous piece of assemblage art, I figured, “Hey, I can totally do that!”

Well, it wasn’t anywhere near as simple as the video made it appear (not Suze’s fault!), and I learned that beeswax and I are going to need a nice, long courtship before we make any kind of commitment to each other. Still, I do love the cool texture it gives (which unfortunately doesn’t translate well into cyber-photos), and when it’s brushed with Perfect Pearls, it looks amazing– like glossy, jewel-toned leather… or something similar.

For this piece, I used the beeswax to layer torn bits of metallic blue and purple paper onto a black gesso-covered canvas. I edged it with a shabby frame of brown lace strips, again adhered with beeswax, then brushed blue, purple and pink shades of Perfect Pearls all over (truly, the beeswax takes the Pearls beautifully– you’ve gotta try it sometime). Then, because it just wasn’t shiny ENOUGH, I used the stylus tool to melt bits of metallic crayon over the surface.

The vintage photo got a thick coat of Ranger Crackle Accents, and the Grungeboard wings were painted with Bronze Distress Crackle paint, While those dried, I painted the Grungeboard mini letters with gold Adirondack acrylic paint, then edged them with Vintage Photo Distress ink. When everything was set, I used a blending tool to rub more Vintage Photo into the crackles on the photo and wings. The postmark and stamp are rub-ons, which I antiqued with a little ink after I’d stuck them down. I used Sepia Accents to adhere the photo, Grungeboard pieces and Idea-ology key, and finished by picking off the cat hairs that had stuck to the waxy background.

So, that was my “new technique” du jour, and the more I look at the finished piece the more excited I get to play with this stuff again. Suze, I hope someday to do you proud! Right now, though, I need to figure out how to get beeswax drips out of my yoga pants.