Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Work: "Suit"

"Suit", Encaustic over paper clay, 4" x 7.5" x 4", 2010

I've been experimenting with encaustic over papier-mâché and paper clay...and occasional bits of vintage, mini rick-rack trim.  Why encaustic? I've been searching out a way to create forms without seams; I am trying to fashion organic objects that seem like they grew and have real skin..... rather than doll-like shapes,  sewn and stuffed and dead.

I am not sure about encaustic yet. I love the melting wax and the application process in general. However, it is still hard for me to control and it is quite fragile when finished (prone to dings and dust). I am also investigating other finishing materials. My favorite so far is good old floor wax. More on than later...

Paper clay seems like a promising material, now that I am getting used to its properties. Creative Paper Clay is my favorite. It dries light and strong with a white, papery finish. It accepts acrylic and watercolor well, along with graphite and pastel. I have also used Prang's DAS Modeling Clay which is entirely different when dry. It is much heavier and has a silky, almost slick cured surface. The advantage to these materials is that they air dry and need no firing or baking. This is especially important if you are incorporating mixed media objects as part of the overall structure. You can also add wet clay to already dried pieces allowing for spontaneity and revisiting older forms. It is also very easy to modify dry forms by sanding, cutting and drilling. The disadvantages include cost (as compared to regular earthen clay) and little cracks that develop during drying. The cracks seem to be inevitable but with patience, they can be repaired by simply adding more clay.

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