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Odds and Ends

Oh beeswax!

Yep, it’s me here, under this fashionable looking theme. It was time for a change ~ no tinkering around the edges, a full knock down and rebuild! You are still very welcome visitors, come in the backdoor, make yourself at home, and we can sit and have a natter. I would love to know what you think of the new look, especially to know how easy it is to read and navigate.

Meanwhile, beeswax….

Beeswax wraps are quite the thing at the moment, as they are a sustainable and hygienic replacement for glad wrap/cling film. My friend Mary wanted to make some and asked me to help. Is it something you have ever thought about doing?

Of course there are plenty of websites and videos to set you up, but I thought you might like to get our thoughts too. This is the site we used initially but quick research will show that there are different ratios of wax and resin, oven temperatures, time in the oven and so on. One thing I learnt was that it’s not an exact science!

So, we started with 100 gm of beeswax

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and 20 gm of pine resin, and  2 teaspoons of jobo oil. It smelt wonderful, and took me back to my time in Indonesia so many years ago. Strong memories of the batik work there.

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Unfortunately the plumber was working outside and needed to turn off the gas. If the stove had been working we would have melted the wax etc. in an old saucepan. Instead Mary used the microwave. The stove would have been a better option because the wax/resin mix could have stayed at a nice constant heat.

Mary had some fabric we experimented with.

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The batik-inspired serviettes were our first experiments. The melted wax mixture was brushed on. It seemed to go on quite thickly and we weren’t sure how flat the base needed to be. The blogs and videos didn’t seem to worry about this, but we wondered if slight ridges and valleys would affect the way the wax melted.

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The next step was to put it into the oven (100ºC) for five minutes. You can see our solution for keeping the wax melted ~ putting it in the oven too. This worked okay, but the handle of the paint brush got quite hot!

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Then we took it from the oven and pegged it onto a coat hanger.

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It hardened quickly, and kept some tackiness. You want it to have some tackiness as it’s this quality that holds it in place when covering bowls etc. The resin helps with tackiness. This was the time to critically admire our handiwork. The results were good, but we were aiming for perfection! The wax was too thin in some parts and a bit uneven on the back. Instead of the foil we tried baking paper, which I think was a bit better.

And the thing that impressed me was that you can add more wax and redo them. As I said before, it is not an exact science.

One of the problems with the wax wraps is that they are not see through, which makes it hard to see what they are covering in the fridge. Mary thought that writing on some might help with that. I wrote PARMESAN with a permanent marker on an embroidered serviette. The marker ran a little with the heat, and we decided sewing words onto the fabric would be a nice solution. We also thought that the white cloth looked a bit marked once it was waxed, which could be off putting for a gift.

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After a bowl of very yummy soup for lunch (thank you Mary!) we watched a video that had a different take on how to do it. The presenter grated the wax over half the material, folded the top over, so the wax was a layer between the material, and put it into the oven. No resin, no oil. So we tried that too.

And the result was not bad.

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It was certainly an easier process, with less mess. The first process left us Mary (!) with waxy bowls, trays, knives and paint brushes. I think it’s worth playing around with, perhaps finely powdering the resin and sprinkling it over the material, along with drops of the oil.

And Mary found that tea tree oil was great for getting rid of the wax from our fingers.

Have you made your own wraps? Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. If you haven’t, and are interested, I’d say “Give it a go”. While you can do it by yourself, it’s way more with a friend, especially if she happens to be Mary!

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Categories
anne4bags My art work

Playing with paint

I have been painting with watercolour paints for quite a few years now. However, I have never really played with the paint and often felt that I was working against it. The washes in my form of botanic art are usually very small. Stepping out to bigger areas of water and paint can cause me to panic. As we know, play is such an important way to learn, even as adults. So I am giving myself permission to play with paint. I am having such fun that the learning is almost secondary.

It began when I bought a tube of Carbazole Violet (weird name, eh?!) by Daniel Smith. I haven’t used this brand before, but the colour on the tube looked dark and inviting. At home I decided to be sensible and do a colour test. Then I decided to play. I mixed other colours with it, simply to see what colours I could make. There were some beauties.

Daniel Smith's Carbazole Violet. The tube colour is the top wash. Such a range of colours from one colour. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
Daniel Smith’s Carbazole Violet. The tube colour is the top wash. Such a range of colours from one colour. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
More sumptious colours mixed from Carbazole Violet (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
More sumptious colours mixed from Carbazole Violet
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next play session was to use one of these beautiful mixes as a wash. What else to create but a feather or two?!

Deep purple feather. You can see the influence of the original colour in this feather. (Photo and art work copyright, Anne Lawson 2013)
Deep purple feather. You can see the influence of the original colour in this feather. (Photo and art work copyright, Anne Lawson 2013)
Violet feather -- Carbazole Violet and Permanent Rose. (Photo and art work copyright Anne Lawson 2013)
Violet feather — Carbazole Violet and Permanent Rose. (Photo and art work copyright Anne Lawson 2013)

Both feathers are available in my Etsy shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next paint to be played with was Australian Grey. Art Spectrum have a range of colours especially created to enhance paintings of the Australian bush. This is one in that range. I don’t know where the ‘grey’ comes from as it is a warm pinky brown. Again I mixed it with a variety of paints to see what happened — and some unexpected things did happen.

Australian Grey mixed with a variety of other colours. The tube colour is the top one. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
Australian Grey mixed with a variety of other colours. The tube colour is the top one. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
More mixed colours (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
More mixed colours (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another feather, using a mix of Australian grey and permanent rose. This was too pink, so I added some viridian green to have a soft mauve. I like the result because I like the softness of the colour.

Feather using a wash of Australian grey, permanent rose and viridian green. (Photo and art work copyright Anne Lawson 2013)
Feather using a wash of Australian grey, permanent rose and viridian green. (Photo and art work copyright Anne Lawson 2013)

Not only have I learnt about the different paints and the colours they will make, but I have been able to compare the paints. The Daniel Smith violet was smooth, transparent and luscious. It was a joy to use. The Australian grey was very different. It is milky and rather opaque. (This is the composition of the paint, not the Art Spectrum brand. I am very happy with their paints, including this one.)  It didn’t move easily through the water on the paper. This was frustrating and unexpected, but it also allowed me to control the areas I wanted left lighter as the highlight.

My next play? I have some of the paint mixture left. I don’t like waste, so I have added more viridian to it to create a very soft grey. That could make an interesting feather.

(That soft pink feather will be in the shop soon — hopefully as soon as tomorrow.)