“Seeing from Both Sides” is a little black and white book that started with the Beltane bonfire. In a rare moment of clarity, I remembered that I wanted to try to make handmade Vine Charcoal. So I cut up some grape vine clippings, put them in a tin can and under the coals of the huge brush pile bonfire that included our Christmas tree, needles for incense, and ice storm branches.
Greg and I kept bees for a few years. My favorite pastime was catching swarms, only because they always chose to swarm on a low branch. The hive was rubbed with fresh Melissa and placed under the swarm, branch shaken, in they went after the queen. Fascinating.
Sadly, we lost our hives to beetles, and admitted that it was a lot of work, easier to buy honey! Meanwhile we had a lot of beeswax from the foundations. That got me remembering an art friend, Morrison Polkinghorne’s video about making crayons. The one difference in his instructions was that he was using Lotus blossom ash, I ground up the vine charcoal.
Grinding the charcoal was a good excuse to try a Neolithic pestle.
He suggested pouring the mix of melted wax and powder into parchment paper, open it when cool. Mine looked like a boat, just like his did! The fragrance of beeswax is still present.
I first tried it out on an encaustic collage with poppy petals and feather shapes torn from Japaneses paper, the color sticking to the raised areas.
Then on the back side of the charcoal drawing used the crayon to do a frotage of the collage.
I drew over certain areas of the charcoal drawing using different sides of the crayon.
When both sides were complete, I tore the sheet and folded them into signatures and finally sewed them into a sixteen page book, “Seeing Both Sides”.
It’s really fun to arrange the pages before binding, and interesting to see the interplay of the two styles. It was only after I titled it that I remembered when I first started making collages in 2001 they were two sided. They were very difficult to display, so I gave it up after a while. With bookmaking, I can achieve that inclination.