Saturday, July 25, 2009

Encaustic Experimentation: DEMO lite

I've been prepping extra samples for my Wax and Fiber class at Art Unraveled next month, and have been having a lot of fun with some lace I picked up at Knittn' Kitten. It's a huge pattern, machine-made synthetic lace, and looks like it was probably designed for curtains or something similar.

I laid down a few layers of encaustic medium (wax and resin) onto a birch plywood panel and some light colored encaustic paint (wax and resin and pigment), fusing each layer. I then burnished the lace into the surface with an old spoon. Next, I laid down some additional encaustic paint and fused it in.

Here's a close-up of what it looked like with the lace still on it:

I waited for the wax to cool a bit, then peeled the lace up. It left wonderful patterns in the wax, and I then filled those patterns in with contrasting wax. After building up more layers, fusing and scraping back, you can clearly see the bolder patterns of the lace!

I also embedded some thread in the surface for extra detail . . . . I am really loving combining wax with as many media as possible!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drawing on the Walls: Roundup

I've been working away on my book, Artmaking as Playful Prayer: A 12-Week Guide to Developing Your Creativity as a Spiritual Practice, and finally got a draft out to my marvelous test readers earlier today. Now, I'm waiting to hear what they have to say and working on the hands-on explorations that will appear in the book! And you know, I'm going to need some people to test out the art stuff (hint, hint).

One of the things I mention in passing in the book (and may need to explore in more depth - perhaps in my own basement) is the idea of drawing on the walls. It's basic, right? It's exactly how our ancestors got started, and it's a straight-forward form of artmaking. You have an object that makes marks, and something to make marks on, and the nearest, easiest thing to make marks on is . . . well, the walls. And then I remembered seeing something on-line about people doing just that . . .

A few hours of Googling later, and I have found some cool goodies to share with you. If you're a bit shy of messing up your walls, there is paint-by-numbers wallpaper (found via casasugar), like this from Jenny Wilkinson:

If you're ready to just dive in, but like a little structure, you might try something like this frames wallpaper by Taylor & Wood (found via the droolicious blog on and available in the US via the Graham & Brown website. I really want this for my office, and it would be super fun in a bathroom or kid's room! It also has the advantage that you can steam it off and perhaps take it with you - avoiding the whole "I'm moving and I have to paint over my artwork" trauma.

Or, you can just grab your permanent marker and go to town! I found two brave souls who have done just that via The first is Charlie Kratzer from Kentucky who grabbed a Sharpie and decorated his basement - you can even see a video of the whole thing on the Kentucky Sun website, but here's a taste:

Or, if you have a gold pen and steady hand, you can check out Kellie's blog and see what she got herself up to in the hallway:

Yup, I'm looking at the office in the basement in a whole new light . . .

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bottle Cap Art Round-Up!


Last week, my dear friend Leslie pointed me to another Portland, OR artist who's working with plastic bottle caps - and doing installations to boot. His name is Steven Beatty and you should check out his and Laurel Kurtz's installation at PSU - here's the entire Flickr stream.

Of course, it got me thinking about all the other bottle cap coolness that must be out there. A Google search yielded all kinds of coolness!

LIke this guy, Bryant Holsenbeck, who does temporary, mandala-type installations with community help . . . all out of bottle caps and lids.
There's also cool sculptures from Janet Nolan, and Michelle Stitzlein has some great interactive work with kids. Then, there's this clear bottle cap installation planned by Christine Destrempes called "13,699" which, according to her web site, is the number of people who die every day from diseases related to a lack of clean water.


My explorations with bottle caps started out with jewelry making,
like this little skull and tassel pendant . . .

And this blue bead and feather necklace.

So, of course, I did a quick search on Etsy, and
found some other great folks doing bottle cap jewelry:

gjarvisjewelryetc on Etsy has alot of awesome jewelry made from bottlecaps
and old Barbie and doll parts.

StarsDreamsandJewels on Etsy also has some bottle cap pendants with doll parts.

And check out this lovely pin cushion ring made from a recycled bottle cap from BarbaraLousBoutique on Etsy.

With all of these cool ideas, how can you (or I) ever waste another bottlecap?!