Altered Map Encaustic Bowl

Today I engaged in some dedicated time in my studio to experiment with new processes. I’ve always enjoyed working with paper, especially maps*. And I’ve done coiled basketry for years. I recently learned encaustic, basically painting with hot beeswax. I thought I would try to combine them all. I came up with an altered map encaustic vessel.

(If you curious to know why my globe is upside down read this post.)

IMG_6670I started with this flat paper National Geographic map of Florida which I found at a yard sale. Yes, I rip up old maps. Horrors you say! I rip up old books too which may make some of you cringe as well. Because I like recreating one thing into another beautiful and useful new object. (It’s alright to deposit old road maps, atlases and the like, on my front porch). 
Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 6.16.55 PM

I ripped the map into strips and with jute macrame rope, coiled the paper around the rope and sewed up the vessel using a heavy duty stitched zig-zag. Shaping it is the hard part, like throwing a pot on a wheel. Keeping it from getting wonky is tricky. That’s if you want to keep it straight! My style is definitely not symmetrical.


Next I painted the entire bowl with encaustic medium using a hake brush. Layering and layering until all of the paper was basically covered. I suppose if I had done another couple of layers it could have been waterproof. My husband, funny guy that he is, suggested that it wouldn’t be a good idea to use it for his morning cereal. And it’s a whole lot too big for that.IMG_6665IMG_6677I like the thick, crusty wax parts and the drips. IMG_6674

A little buffing with a cotton rag and voila!  A bowl, substantial enough to easily hold something solid and smelling like honey too.IMG_6671

I suppose I should entitle this one “Florida Reimagined”.IMG_6673This is just a prototype so watch my Etsy shop for more to come.

Check out my encaustic board on Pinterest.

* This altered map is on the CBS sitcom set of Mike & Molly.

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