This was a fun class, and Linda was great at explaining and demonstrating each technique step-by-step. Basically, instead of using glue, we used melted beeswax to embed layers of paper and other matter like feathers, dried organic material and fabrics. We also used mediums like crayons, oil pastels and encaustic paints to add color and tools like screens and stencils for texture. All the materials were provided, but several students brought their own.
The most important step when using wax is to be sure that each layer or added element becomes “fused” with the layer below. This means either melting the paper into the wax with a quilting or tacking iron, or heating the wax with a heat gun.
Working with tangible materials was a treat for me, very different from designing on a computer. The melted beeswax emits a warm, sweet smell and it is much harder to control. Despite my best efforts, the wax often seemed to have a mind of its own, but it some ways it’s fairly forgiving. Because of the built up layers, you can often scrape away mistakes. Even better is to just go with the flow – literally. For my piece, I cut out one colored butterfly and several black-&-white photocopied butterflies, two sheets of thin material for the background and drew the flowers with oil pastels. Not too bad for my first collage, but I’m already looking forward to my next opportunity.
This and other classes at Collage can be found at DIYlounge.com.