Crazy-working bees provide me with an abundance of beeswax to use in my encaustics, so I got back in the studio and started experimenting with some variations on my technique.
In my previous encaustic works, I did an augmented monoprint technique of melting the wax together with pigments on a heated surface into a thick puddle, laying the vellum on the wax, and pulling the piece up slowly. The stratification effect comes from removing the vellum with a sort of dipping motion--as the wax is pulled onto the paper, it begins to cool, but the dipping motion allows sections of the wax to stay heated for a longer period of time resulting in less wax hardening on the paper. For this round of prints, I expanded on that technique with multiple pressings of the same piece into the wax in an effort to achieve more advanced layering of the translucent material.
These works bring up so many nostalgic wonders for me--I think of the ghostly textures that misused dark-room chemicals left on my photographs in high school; of my grandpa's sand art that sat in the front window and mesmerized me for hours; of eroding lands and terraced hillsides and melting skies; of the art direction for the Nine Inch Nails album With Teeth (as well as my general sense of being when I am listening to Nine Inch Nails). As my eyes move across the works, some also remind me of the pathways of the bees flying through the air heading straight from bloom to hive in a direct zip or meandering through large circles of breeze to reach their home.
Back in February, I made the irrational, irresponsible, and spontaneous decision that Dave and I needed to get chickens immediately.
We have always talked about having our own little backyard flock, but it was a distant-future sort of desire. Sketched plans for a coop adorned our refrigerator since last October. I leisurely researched chicken breeds, space requirements, and care for months. I thought that once I really had this backyard beekeeping hobby down, some egg layers would be a nice addition to our little ecosystem.
On Valentine's Day, after my creepy pillow creation went viral, I was feeling weird. February 14th was spent in a daze of interviews and emails, and everyone wanted to know all about my whimsical novelty craft. My brain doesn't deal with that kind of attention well. It felt like a big whirlwind of horror craziness that I couldn't control. So, after talking poultry dreams with fellow chicken-desirer Rox at a baby shower (which are big whirlwinds of horror craziness unto themselves), I drove to the nearest farm shop.
I don't think I ever told you guys this, but back in October my bee hive was robbed by another colony, forcing my bees to take to the skies in a panic. It was a depressing day--Dave and I both loved watching the bees from our living room window, and losing the colony was like losing a beloved pet. I was pretty emo about it.
Since October, I have been continuing to maintain a few hives for some neighbors while they were on holiday vacation (which meant delicious educational experience and delicious honey). The plan was to keep the colonies going strong and to split the hives in Spring, allowing me to once again host some bees in my backyard. I am very impatient. Spring seemed like a really long way off.
The thoughtful and ever-adventurous Linden found out that some bees had moved into a coworker's tree--the hive had been there for awhile and grown drastically in size, and Coworker wanted the bees removed. What excellent news! Linden donned her bravest face and agreed to help me cut the hive from the tree.
The hive was pretty big.
We passed the one-month-in-our-new-home marker!
Everyone is feeling comfortable and finding new favorite spots in the new place. StarFox is fond of staring out the window and watching bikers pass our house on the Pinellas trail, Nemo prefers to cuddle up to anything that was recently laundered, and Dave has been reading/devouring an Orson Scott Card series my mom recommended.