At our November art group meeting, Paula kindly showed us how to make three-dimensional encaustic bowls. Although this isn’t technically fiber, these are made with paper pulp to make a paper clay and I thought you all might like to see the process.
This bird is one of Paula’s creations that was in our recent show in September. The bird is made the same way that we made our bowls.
Paula already had our bowls made and ready out of paper clay so that we could do the “fun part”, adding encaustic wax.
Here’s Sally making another set of paper clay with a mixture of plaster and the paper pulp stuff that forms the base of the clay. The clay is worked into a ball and then flattened with a rolling pin to the desired thickness. Then you need something to mold it over to make a bowl shape. Sally and I created a 3D creature to try later. I made the fish and Sally shaped a bird.
Here’s Paula covering a dish with aluminum foil so that a paper clay bowl can be shaped over this surface and left to dry.
But we already had our bowls ready to go thanks to Paula so the next step is to add layers of encaustic wax with a brush. In between layers of wax, a heat gun is used to fuse the wax to the paper clay surface.
Once there are at least two layers of wax, you can start adding texture. This was really amazing to me how this worked. A sharp tool was used to scratch a pattern into the surface of the wax and then using a slightly cooled brush with wax, the cooler wax was brushed over the surface and it built up over the incised line. Drips from the edges can also be added by allowing hotter wax to run down the inside or outside of the bowl’s surface. Look at those textures, now I know you all love texture. 🙂
Of course, you don’t have to add texture if you want a smoother surface. The next step was to add color with pan pastels and powdered pigments. In between layers of color, the wax needs to be fused again with the heat gun so that it will adhere to the wax. I found this to be the most difficult part as there is a fine line between fusing and melting the wax completely.
These two are Paula’s bowls. I love the depth that she achieves with different layers of color.
This is Sally’s bowl. Aren’t the leaves in the center an interesting accent?
This is Deb’s finished bowl. You really can’t see the depth of color in this photo but it looks like an ancient artifact.
Here’s my finished bowl. Can you guess the inspiration? I don’t have a photo of Louise’s finished bowl because she didn’t finish hers. She wasn’t really happy with the colors but I know that she will end up creating a wonderful bowl. Hopefully, I will get a photo of it later.
Have you tried a different media or craft lately? Do you think it gives you more creative ideas when you try something new? We had great fun learning about 3D encaustic and thank you Paula for all your help!