Encaustic on Washi

Encaustic – heated beeswax mixed with pigment – was traditionally applied to wooden panels, but can very successfully be used on paper. Washi is especially good as it absorbs the pigment without flaking. The translucent nature of wax dovetails beautifully with translucent washi. Wax can also be used as a resist as in the textile technique of batik. What follow here are some suggestions of ways of using encaustic with washi

Tips and Things to Consider

 · encaustic can be applied directly to paper though we suggest working on a heated surface as it can be difficult to control the heavy impasto

· wax makes washi even more translucent creating interesting possibilities for layering

· try laying a sheet with wax over a sheet with other drawn or painted marks

· other materials can be collaged or embedded into the wax layer

· use encaustic for monoprint: paint on heavy paper or board & transfer to washi by ironing (use tacking iron for small areas): this takes practice to keep colours from blending over-much

· keep your iron clean by covering the hot foot with a fresh piece of aluminum foil

· use wax as a resist in combination with wet media as in batik

· scratch into wax and rub paints or printing inks into scratches as a form of sgraffito (excess color wipes off surface of wax, color stays in the scratches)

· wax can make paper waterproof with interesting possibilities for working with paper sculpturally

· adhesives won't work on paper with wax: consider joining pieces by stitching

· think ahead as to how work will be mounted/framed –  if piece is to be floated then consider incorporating hinges into back of piece before applying wax

· Hot Cakes made by Enkaustikos are a convenient and easy way to use encaustic paints on washi

Paper Suggestions

need a heavier paper to hold more impasto? Try
Usu Kuchi Extra Heavy

100%kozo small-format cards with deckle edges
Kozo Card
Etchu Shiksihi

Smaller format mid-weight paper with deckle edges
Mura Koban
Suzuki Squares

Gampi Smooth retains a crispness if wax layer remains thin

Artists Using Wax with Washi
Milton Jewell
Mary Jane Varro

Hotcakes encaustic paints


Image provided by The Japanese Paper Place  ·  Artist Milton Jewell  ·  Encaustic Monoprint

All information courtesy of The Japanese Paper Place
Reproduction by permission only