Friday, February 22, 2013

Encaustic-esque Good Times!

Last summer, I was so freakin' lucky to attend a class taught by Dina Wakley.  It was life-changing.  No, not becuase I burned my finger.  Because I REALLY learned things.  A ton of thing.  Yeah- a TON.  You know you love it when I exaggerate.  But I'm not this time- it was a TON of things...

The class was her 'Encaustic Tag Book' class, which I read (I think?) that she recently taught the class for the last time.  So if she taught this class near you, and you didn't take it- well, I hope you know how sad that is...

From the sound of the word, I thought 'encaustic' would surely involve some kind of toxic chemical- possibly some kind of explosive.  But it doesn't.  You know what it means?  Good.  Tell me.  I don't know, and I'm too lazy to research any further.  Just know:  it involves wax.  No, not that way, filthy pervert.  And no, not that way, either, Chewbacca.

From the bit of 'research' I did do- there's lots and lots of encaustic-ness going on-  there's painting, and there's collage... and.. well, collage is where I'm interested.   Also, while doing this 'research,' I came across this disturbing line:  "About a year ago, R and F came out with an Encaustic Gesso- it doesn't smell as bad as rabbit skin gesso."


Immediately, my life flashed before my eyes-  I see each and every moment I've worked with gesso.  I see each and every moment that I've stuck a finger in my mouth to get a bit of Mother Nature's natural blending solution (saliva) and rubbed my fingers all over the RABBIT SKIN.

Just as a co-worker began to rush to my screaming side and offer assistance, I finish reading:

"rabbit skin gesso...and unline ACRYLIC gesso....."

Whew.  That was a close one.  I know for sure that my gesso is acrylic.  I remember seeing that on the bottle.   But WHAT sicko learned that gesso could be made from the skin of adorable little Peter Rabbit?!  Or all the Cottontail bunnies?!


I've somewhat adapted the way I do my encaustic collage and, mostly- it really is just the same.  Don't copy me- as it could be dangerous.  And when the firemen pull the one household object that survived your fire- don't say "BUT KORY SAID I COULD USE A 10.00 IRON FROM WAL-MART TO DO IT!"  Because I didn't.  And if your Mom didn't teach you not to jump off a bridge just because Kory does it, well, you deserve what you get.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, here's my latest, Miss Dina-Inspired project- 


Upper left:  Here's my 'altered book/art-journal in progress.'  Most of the pages have white paint randomly smeared across- and left, there's some blue Dylusions that soaked thru...

Upper right:  I began by tapping my Barn Door and Broken China Distress Paints on the upper part of the page.

Bottom left:  With a mini-mister, I spray the page a coupla times.

Bottom right:  Take an old Wal-Mart gift card and smear your paints down, across the misted page.

I decided to add a bit more color- so I add some MUSTARD SEED Distress Paint.  I LOVE DISTRESS PAINTS- aren't they bottled gifts from heaven?!  Yeahp. Just like vodka.

Then it just looked WAY too bright- so I add some white acrylic paint.  I smear it on with the gift card, too, and scratch part of it away with the corner of the card.  Colorful, isn't it?  It's my latest painting, "Muppet Steamroller."

Yayyy!  Misting!   I used two different number masks from The Crafter's Workshop, and two shades of DYLUSIONALS to mist some numbers on top.   With a borders mask, I add the two brown strips at the bottom- the triangles and the diagonal strips.  I've also added some Tissue Tape.

I picked out two stamps I like and stamped them onto tissue paper.  It isn't fancy tissue paper or anything- just Dollar Tree tissue paper.

Okay- here's where it gets dangerous.  Now, you SHOULD be using an encaustic iron or at least one with a thermostat.  Also, you should be using beeswax- not just a candle you pulled out of your emergency or earthquake kit.  But anyways, if you're anything like me, you will turn a blind eye to any and all safety precautions.  I got a ten dollar 'travel iron' from Wal-Mart.  I rub my candle on it's hot little bottom and then press it to my page.  This puts a layer of wax ONTO the paper.  It's magical. 

Press your tissue paper onto this wax and burn your fingers.  THEN- take your iron and rub the candle onto it again- and this time, iron the wax OVER the tissue paper.  See that?  The tissue absorbs the wax and it's embedded between the layer of wax under it and the layer now over it- and the tissue disappears, leaving your stamped image sort of floating.  It is a beautiful look. 

There ya go!  My finished page!  I added a sentence of lyrics, too.  I love it- fun and pretty.  And, for me, VERY colorful.  I'm as happy as a hooker in Vegas.

But why wax the tissue paper onto the piece?  Why not just stamp on it?  You have to see it in person, really, to properly get the full effect.  The wax softens everything and provides incredible depth.  Also, just stamping on those layers of paint, the image just wouldn't look like it does here-  see:

See that?!   Beautiful!

Okay- I've gotta get going.  I've got work to do, I can't just sit here and talk to y'all all day long!  Dang!



  1. Very cool! I think I'll throw caution to the wind and go buy a cheapie Walmart iron and some dollar store candles! Although I don't know why I don't just use my real should get used for SOMETHING!

    And, sir, you crack me up! My favorite Kory quotes for today are: "aren't they bottled gifts from heaven?! Yeahp. Just like vodka." and "filthy pervert". I laughed. Out loud. And I'm sitting here alone. Drinking vodka. :-)

    Thanks for the tips and the laughs.

  2. Very cool love how you did the art journal I like the stamp and colors you used for this project. Hope your weekend goes well my friend.

  3. Ooohhh Loving your altered book pages. I'm soooo not jealous that you attended a Dina Wakely class, honestly, I promise you, my bottom lip always quivers ever so slightly like this. She certainly has inspired you TONS, that is one mega colourful arty page. Pxx

  4. Great page!

    I've gotta get me some of those Distress Paints.

    I hope your fingers have recovered from the burns, I'm sure you don't need those top few layers of skin anyway.

  5. Page looks great Kory. Awesome technique. I have an iron just like that that I use in my sewing for seams. Think I will have to repurpose it!

  6. Kory I don't know nothing about art journals but you did a great job!

  7. I bet you have a T-shirt that says "Runs with scissors". I had a laugh-out-loud good time reading your blog today. And you had a great tutorial explaining how you did your journal page. I have got to try these techniques out. My Tim Holtz paints just came. I'm only waiting for a chance to break in to them. Work so gets in the way.

  8. That was a fun read and great tutorial on the wax technique! Your art journal page turned out really cool!!
    -new follower- :-)