I’ve had a really interesting few months creating new work for the Kinghorn Artists Annual Exhibition that is on at the Community Centre here in Kinghorn at the moment. Not jewellery but photography!
I know I’m best known for my jewellery, handcrafted from recycled silver, but my passion for recycling started long before I trained as a jeweller, when I first picked up a camera in my early teens.
My first darkroom was fashioned from spare parts and old lenses salvaged from the hospital where my father worked, and the first images I ever printed were from old family negatives. My interest in historic and found images was reignited when I studied for an honours degree in photography in my twenties and it then lay dormat after I graduated for years and years.
I recently showed my early photographic work to my friend Marion and when I expressed a longing to try out photo encaustic techniques, she nominated me to join in with the exhibition this year. That was it – I had a deadline and I worked really hard to meet it and actually succeeded. I’m really amazed at how much I learnt in such a short space of time and how much I enjoyed experimenting with new materials and techniques.
I’ve lived with a pile of vintage photographs, that I bought at an auction, for quite a while now and it was these images I chose to work with. My new encaustic work combines found objects, images and texts, weaving narratives together from the past to the present.
Encaustic medium is a mix of beeswax and damar resin and I buy it in an already mixed state. This medium is heated on a hot palette until melted and is painted onto prepared boards and the images are built up in layers with each layers being fused to the last with a heat gun. It’s a really amazing magical (and hot) process and many mistakes as well as happy accidents can occur. Layers can be scraped back and re-done. It’s a beautiful medium to work with.
There were a few of my vintage images that stood out for me – strong characters and interesting faces that evoked narratives in my mind. I restricted myself to working on a small scale mostly due to the tight deadline I was facing, but also because of my limited space and basic equipment.
Here is a sequence of photos I took of one of the pieces I created for the exhibition, showing it from the start to the finish framed image. Hopefully you’ll get a sense of the development of the image through applying layer after layer of images, wax, text, wax etc.
This post is a little late in the day as the exhibition comes down on Saturday, but I’ve had a really busy week and not had a chance to get anything written. In total I have 8 pieces in the exhibition and I’ll be there all morning on Friday (tomorrow) and more than happy to talk about the work and the encaustic process to anyone who wants to find out more.
Why not pop in and see the exhibition at first hand? Here are a few images I took the other day of some of the work on display.