I have been brainstorming and fishing around for some way to get that layered, shiny, ridged, smooth, color under color, and flat-all at the same time-look that encaustic gives surfaces into the classroom since I met the magical artist Robin Rose and his wife Judy Penski at our friends/alumni's house. I had a long, long talk with him about the encaustic process. It needs proper ventilation for one thing and heat for another. Preschool translation, not so much. Then bing-da-bing, melting crayons with blow dryers came on the scene out there in the early childhood blogosphere and we got ready to jump right on in though I was waiting for just the right project.
But wait, there's more. This year, I was also fishing around for a project this Fall for our Sense of Place project. I want to find an exhibit here in the Washington, D.C. area. In the past, we have used Guillermo Kuitca (Hirshhorn) and Chris Martin (Corcoran). Essentially, we are looking for mapping in art. Bing-da-bing, our galleries came through for us again, this time the Sackler and Jananne Al-Ani and her Shadow Sites. What better way to to imagine the ridges and lines of landscapes' deep textures, smooth and soft, rough and raw, than some kind of preschool-friendly encaustic?
These photographs collected here are from the first layer...a crayon melting session. There will be another layer in short order...so, so, so, cool! Please stay tuned, you will not regret it!
Tips -- Hot glue the crayons in place. These are being melted on a black tag. I chose this heavy stock so that it would hold up to future layers (stay tuned!). Try to find the lightest blow dryers possible, these make it easier for the children to hold. It takes a long time to melt the crayons. Some crayons melt better than others. Most of ours were Crayola. Don't buy crayons, ask for donations.
We are using only dark colors (shadows) for these early layers.