Saturday was booked because The Theory and I are on a mission to rehab our old fireplace. We had a pellet stove insert we never used which meant there was one entire end of our (very small) house that we pretended didn’t exist. We pulled the pellet stove and had the chimney cleaned this last week and Saturday we
went tile shopping. We also did a few sales (extension cord for fifty cents, you know I need that). The only work I did in the studio was load some new colors into spice jars. Looks like this now:
The Theory asked me if I used a respirator when handling the pigments. WARNING: some pigments are made of deadly poison like arsenic and cyanide. I knew this but ignored it, thinking I never drop anything, I’m not messy. But given how tiny the particles are, dust really, and how they fly up in pretty, poisonous little clouds, I probably should have used a respirator. Let’s just say I feel fine…now.
Lisa Kairos tutorial
Sunday was devoted to a brilliant project where I was going to execute intarsia perfectly. In woodworking, intarsia is where you inlay contrasting colors of wood to create lovely patterns. There is also marble intarsia and, wouldn’t you know it, encaustic intarsia. Here’s the link to Lisa Kairos’s excellent tutorial on the subject. Read that and try it yourself. She makes it look so easy.
I decided to start with images of the Nasca lines from Peru. I love Landsat images and maps–not that I’m ever NOT lost–but the Nasca lines are remarkable earth art. I thought this would be a simple way to ease into the contrasting wax program. How hard could it be? As you can see here, the Nasca images are comprised of a lot of straight lines:
I thought I was pretty safe.
Intarsia: simple but not easy.
I used a linoleum cutting tool to incise lines in black wax and then I backfilled with clear wax. So far so good. I struggled for hours to scrape the excess wax off the lines. I am by nature a less than meticulous worker. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not meticulous at all. So anything involving scraping molecules of different colored wax while I stare at a design I’m liking less as time passes is, in a word, a nightmare. And I gouged my thumb twice. The tool is much sharper than it looks, and I hadn’t learned the trick of not placing my thumb directly in its path.
While my injury oozed a rather fetching Alizarin crimson, I started to cry and wanted to find The Theory to kiss it and make it all better. But he wasn’t around so I manned up, and here’s one of the pieces:
Not great, but it is something. To cheer myself up I took a snap of Marzi who spent all of Sunday like this, occasionally prying open his eyes to look at the ceiling. What’s up there, Marzi?