Thursday, June 3, 2010

BeesWax Sculpting

Just about everyone has played with clay in some form or another- or at least I would hope so. Some get to use real kiln dried clay at some point in their lives, but most most get to play with Play Doh as a toddler at the very least. But, have you ever sculpted with beeswax? This stuff is really fun.

I came across it in a Waldorf homeschooling catalog years ago, and it reminded me of the wax around those little Baby Belle soft cheese wedges. I used to smash them up and sculpt with them as a child, and my own children have carried on the tradition.

Well, I am all about the recycling when it comes to crafty projects, and we do enjoy cheese and all. But, even we don't eat enough cheese to go very far in collecting wax to make a sculpture larger than an inch or so. Besides, I need variety, I can't just feed my family Baby Belle. Most of the cheese we eat doesn't have a rind except Brie, the edible rind of which just doesn't make for a lasting piece of art.

So, we got a box of the Stockmar modeling beeswax. It came in 15 lovely pastel colors, so not only could we make larger sculptures, but they were also no longer limited to the red of cheese wax.

This stuff is hard as a rock right out of the box, so you might want to put it in a sunny place to soften it up. Of course, not too sunny of a place, or you'll have a rainbow puddle on your hands. After letting it warm near the stove for a bit, we began to play. I was surprised at how hard it still was, but after kneading and rolling it in our hands for a few minutes, it began to become more pliable. It actually has a really neat feel to it once it softens up, very different than clay, with more of an oil, but very inviting and workable.

My kids often do handcrafts while I'm reading aloud, and the beeswax was very conducive to this. They loved working with it, and came up with some nice new artwork. It can't go in our sunny window shelf where we display a lot of sculptures- in fact, the skateboarding model my son made of himself started to slant a bit after spending a warm afternoon in the kitchen, and I'm a little nervous as to how it will make it through the hot summer anywhere in this house- but, we'll find a shady place and hope for the best. I still think it's a fun and worthwhile project in itself, and a great way to keep hands busy while listening.