Sunday, March 17, 2013

Writing with Wax

The wall opposite the loom.
Shelves for cloth and also romance novels.
Saturday I stayed home all day.  I finished the taxes, and then I spent the entirety of the rest of the day in the studio with NPR.  I even made Raif cook the greens for dinner so I could keep playing.  Making.  Art-ing?  It was so so lovely, and so so necessary for me.  I spent the first portion of the afternoon cleaning, sorting and re-arranging.  The studio recently acquired a bureau that had been in the guest bedroom, and my recent clean-and-declutter of the downstairs yeilded a surprising number of things that actually belong in the studio, surprise surprise!  So I got everything re-arranged into a sort of functionality and aesthetics that I think will continue to serve me until I get the massive wall-o'-shelves built that I have planned.

And then.  I played around writing with wax on cloth.  You see, I had the brilliant realization that I could use modified batik techniques of wax resist dyeing to get text onto cloth without using either time-consuming embroidery or the super-tech scan images into computer and print onto cloth stuff that are so frequently featured in publications like Cloth, Paper, Scissors and which quite frankly intimidate me.  I decided that for my inaugural experiment I would write Jane Austen quotes because, well.  Really what else WOULD I write?  (Full Disclosure: I am actually working on a super secret project that cannot be revealed until the end of August when a certain person or two who may or may not read this blog may or may not have received their wedding gift from me.  And because I wanted to brag here about how fun it is to write with wax on cloth, I'm doing some side projects.)

"You pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half hope.
Tell me not that I am too late.
Tell me that such precious feelings are not
gone forever."
  Jane Austen fan club FAIL!
I attributed the above quote as you can see to Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberly, hero of Pride and Prejudice; while in actuality it belongs to Captain Wentworth, the hero of Persuasion.
Anyway, I'll cut off the bit that attributes it to Darcy, and the quote will still be lovely.
I also wrote a few truly P&P quotes including Lady Catherine de Bourgh's masterpeice : "Heaven and Earth!  what are you thinking?  Are the shades of Pemberly to be thus polluted?"
I have plans of making a few fellow Austen-adorers very happy with cloth crafted applique etc pillows or framed art quilts featuring said quotes.  Stay tuned!  

So, how did I do this, you ask?  Simple.  Take a piece of cloth.  Heat a kiska of beeswax over a candle flame.  Write.

Pysanky tools: candle, kiska, beeswax.  Found here.
A kiska (shown above, in three writing thicknesses) is a traditional ukranian tool pretty similar to the traditional indonesian tool used for batik.  For the Easter holiday, Ukranians traditionally make Pysanky: beautifully and brightly colored eggs with traditional motifs done by wax resist over-dyeing.  I learned to do them in middle school?  I think.  Anyway, I haven't done them sine, but I may do so this year.  The kiska is basically a tiny metal funnel, and it dispenses melted beeswax the same way that a quill pen dispenses ink.  

The next step is to dye the fabric and iron off the wax, when the writing should show in muslin-colored relief against the dyed fabric.


And finally, a last gratuitous picture of the studio space, with its newly created reading nook.  There used to be really messy piles of fabric here :-)  While I think that in all reality, I am not likely to all that frequently USE this reading nook for its intended purpose, the studio being cold in winter and me intending to be pounding fence posts in summer; just looking at it and imagining a cup of tea and a romance novel makes me very very happy.  Besides, the upholstery matches the dressor.  And really, its as much for my husky as for me.  She was visiting with me yesterday and attempted to jump up into the  (different) armchair I had drug in there last weekend when my sister was over.  It is a lovely armchair, but it rocks and is on a swivel base.  Misha got up into it ok when I was holding it steady for her, and curled up for a bit.  But when she tried again without my aid, it moved and totally freaked her out.  I think long term, a small sofa for dog-curling and kids-playing (or mom-napping?) will be in order.  For now, it is the thought that counts.


  1. What a beautiful project!! I had no idea that is what a kiska was :)

  2. I LOVE THIS POST!! xoxo