Julie Snidle: Make Your Own Transfer Paper !

Thank you Julie for your guest post, “Make Your Own Transfer Paper!”

“Here’s a recipe for making transfer papers in colors YOU want.

You will need

  • Newspaper to cover your work area
  • Disposable gloves
  • Respirator. It is always recommended that a respirator be worn when working with powdered pigments.
  • Tracing paper, medium weight
  • Powdered pigment or ground-up pastel (approx. 1 t. for each 9×12 sheet)
  • Denatured alcohol (available at hardware stores)
  • Measuring spoon, teaspoon or larger
  • Small glass dish
  • Small foam brush


Place about 1 teaspoon of powdered pigment into a dish. Add the same amount or a little more of denatured alcohol. Stir until smooth and about the same consistency as light cream. Using a small foam brush, drag the color back and forth assertively to work it into the paper. There is no actual binder; the mere action of rubbing the pigment into the surface is sufficient. The alcohol will evaporate, leaving behind a thin layer of color.

When the paper is dry, gently wipe the surface with a clean rag to remove excess pigment. After a few uses, the dust will dissipate and the paper will behave properly. A sheet can last several years!

Julie Snidle with thanks to Artists Magazine”



Guest Post: Laurie Blakely

On August 25 numerous intrepid WC explorers took a road trip to Makanda, IL where we enjoyed a beautiful day with Laurie Blakely. Laurie presented an engaging studio visit and demo with encaustic and ceramics. We also viewed her sculptural painting exhibit at Anthill Galleries, in the heart of the Shawnee Forest



My journey to encaustic painting was a circuitous one. My background is mainly in ceramics. After years of creating clay vessels and sculpture I was  looking for ways to expand the possibilities of  my medium.

I asked myself two questions:

  1. How can I free my forms from the limitations of gravity (i.e. having to stand up, be balanced, etc.)?
  2. How can I create a “world” for these forms to inhabit (i.e. break from the tradition of mounting pieces on pedestals with an aura of empty space around them.)?

I explored several options and encaustic best met my objectives. And like many other artists, I was drawn to the “naturalness” of the wax; the smell, the organic nature of the medium. Encaustic seemed a perfect fit for clay– beeswax and mud.

Eventually, I developed my own idiosyncratic method for creating “sculptural paintings” by combining ceramic sculpture with encaustic painting.

The Process

Emergence. Detail.

Emergence. Detail.

First I carve intricate forms in white earthenware. Sometimes, they are so delicate I need a template for support to hold the clay as I carve. My templates are all bisque fired (unglazed) ceramic forms and I rarely use the same template twice. I usually spend several months immersed in the process of sculpting, glazing and firing before I move onto the process of painting and gilding.

After they are bisque and sometimes glaze-fired, the ceramic sculptures are mounted on board using an all-purpose, heat-resistant adhesive. Then, onto painting. Clay is a very receptive substrate for  encaustic paint though it can require some patience to achieve a smooth, bubble-free surface. I prefer to use a heat gun to fuse the wax, because of the control and gentle heat sometimes required on the 3-dimensional planes.

I often embellish my pieces with 22-carat gold leaf. The portions of the sculpture to be gilded are first glazed to provide a smooth, non-porous substrate. Then I brush on a slow-set, oil-based size (Rolco) and wait 10-12 hours. When the surface is tacky, I apply loose leaf gold with a sable brush and wait three days until I touch it again. When the size has thoroughly hardened, I can clean up the gilding by gently wiping away the loose pieces and burnishing with my fingertips. Any gilding on the wax can be cleaned up by lightly scraping it away with sharp clay tools or my fingernails.



The Idea

Most of my work explores the ideas of transformation and metamorphosis.  My sculptures are sometimes multi-layered with one sculptural  form opening to another form inside it. These relief forms change the architecture of the surface. I use encaustic to visually and physically join the sculptural components to each other and to the background. I aim for a sense of unity and  dimensionality—to be able to look “into” the painting– past the surface into layers that shift, open or reveal. More work at www.laurieblakely.com

 Pictures from the trip can be found on the WC MeetUp.com site: http://www.meetup.com/WaxCentric/photos/16991672/.

Guest Post: Vent-a Fume by Stacy J. Krieg

Stacy Krieg is a new member to WC. She comes to us from Mission, KS. Stacy recently visited my studio where we talked about encaustic practice and materials, studio safety and venting. Enjoy this informative article about her experience with Vent-a-fume.

Stacy's studio with Vent-a-Fume on the left.

Stacy’s studio with Vent-a-Fume on the left.

I recently purchased a vent-a-fume unit and wanted to share my experience with you.  I was having some issues with breathing in the fumes from the encaustic paints so I started to investigate options on the market to help vent my studio.  The only vent specifically made for encaustic paints that I came across is vent-a-fume, http://www.ventafume.com.  The company is based in Buffalo, NY and has been in business for over 20 years.  They started in the business supplying ventilation systems to schools, ceramic shops, and industrial plants.  A few years ago, they started working with encaustic painters to specifically design a unit to meet the needs of this medium.

Due to the fact that I was going to invest quite a bit of money (approximately $400-$500), I decided to give the company a call and get additional information.  I believe I spoke with one of the owners and he was great at providing me confidence in the product and answering my questions.  Since the company is trying to work in our market, he even upgraded my motor without any additional cost.


The unit came in two boxes and when it arrived I thought – oh boy, what did I get myself into?  Ha.  My sweet husband installed the unit in about 4-6 hours and the only complaint I got from him was that he had to cut a hole in our house.  The hole has to be cut so the vent can push all the fumes outside.  The standard unit hole size is 4 inches (same as a dryer vent).  Since I opted for the more powerful motor, we had to cut a 6-inch hole.


Vent-a-Fume installed.


The unit that I purchased was the bench mounted unit, size 27 “ diameter vent.  The vent is rather large but fits perfectly over my palette.


I am completely 100% satisfied with this product.  Before installation, I could only work around the medium for about an hour before I got sick to my stomach, headaches, swollen throat, etc.  Now, I can work down there day and night and I smell nothing.  I try to fuse most of my work by the vent also, as temperatures are very high with heat guns, torches, etc.

I would highly recommend this unit and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

My email is kriegsj@yahoo.com.

Stacy J. Krieg