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W.D Quinn Saw Co. - US Made Picture Frame Blades

Fast Times At Waxmont High

Shayla

WOW Framer
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One of our artists plays fast and loose with her substrates sometimes. She's brought in six small encaustics on paper. Just, the wax right on printer paper. They look really cool, but is that even a thing? It seems like it could flake off. I take what works and send back what doesn't, so haven't put them out in the shop. I'm used to thinking that encaustics on wood need encaustic gesso underneath, so it seems like paper might also need something. Or at the least, is too flexible a substrate. What say?
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
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Hmm. No responses yet from framers in-the-know about encaustic artworks?

I'm no encaustic expert, but I'd be concerned about warps and cockles from normal expansion/contraction cycles, especially if the encaustic thickness is inconsistent on the sheet.

When you say "printer paper", are you referring to good quality paper used for wide-format, art-quality printing, or is it what we used to call copier paper? If the paper is too thin, or made of poor quality recycled fiber, it could deteriorate in a relatively short time.

If you can mount the art to a sturdy substrate without it cracking or deforming, that would probably extend its useful life. Dry mounting at any temperature might be destructive, but a substrate like Kool Tack's Insta Mount pressure sensitive boards, either repositionable or permanent, might be OK.
 

wpfay

Comfort Badger
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The issue I have had with encaustic on paper is just how the heck do you do an archival mount. I had a suite of 4 from an art dealer (NY Artist) and we ended up using very fine Japanese paper and encaustic wax to hinge them. I talked with the artist and encouraged her to have hinges attached prior to applying the encaustic media.

I contacted an encaustic art supplier and they said they recommended ATG. Same with a national encaustic society contact.

Jim, the encaustics I have worked with have had fairly malleable wax and any contact at all is discouraged. Putting them in a cold press would still flatten any brush stroke or hot knife work. On the other hand, cracking or becoming dislodged from the paper didn't seem to be an issue.

I framed a 40" square encaustic on canvas that had a considerable build up of wax pigment from the knife work. Went to deliver and install, and was instructed to hang it above the living room mantle. I asked if they had plans to ever use the fireplace again.

How do you clean these things? The surface remains slightly tacky, and any physical contact can distort the image. They're lovely, but time bombs as far as I'm concerned.
 

Jim Miller

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Jim, the encaustics I have worked with have had fairly malleable wax and any contact at all is discouraged. Putting them in a cold press would still flatten any brush stroke or hot knife work.
That's been my experience, too, Wally - limited as it is. Pressing would be bad, which is why I suggested the Insta Mount, because it requires only light hand pressure to achieve a strong bond.
How do you clean these things? The surface remains slightly tacky, and any physical contact can distort the image. They're lovely, but time bombs as far as I'm concerned.
When I asked a conservator about that, she said to display in a clean environment and expect the art's surface to develop what she called "a patina", which is a euphemism for unavoidable soiling. Of course, glazing would solve the sticky-surface problem, but I have yet to persuade a customer to accept that. Encaustic fans seem to be even more fanatical than oil painting fans about avoiding glazing.
 

wpfay

Comfort Badger
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All the encaustics on paper I've done , which might amount to 10, have been framed under anti-reflective UV filtering glazing. It's still paper and it still oxidizes.
 
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