Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Beeswax Connection

My encaustic medium beeswax is always an adventure to get. The health food store carried beeswax for making beauty products and such but it is very expensive 15.00 per pound. A pound equals about one encaustic painting. Each painting is one-of-a-kind and made even more special because of the beeswax.

My connection for wax, "Joe" in Eagle River, Alaska was not returning my repeated calls, I don't know what's up with that. So I got with my friend Bob the roadside philosopher and Carin builder his Russian friends make candles so I asked him for their number and called; Alex, he couldn't have been nicer and offered to sell me 40 pounds for $280.00. Any other time I would love to get 40 pounds but alas the price was too steep. I asked him for one hundred dollars worth. Getting to his house about 60 miles away was a beautiful scenic drive we found him way out on Lazy Mountain and what a charming place his wife, son and old Russian Grandmother were working on the garden. Their family business is Holy Archangel Candles
http://www.holyarchangelcandles.com/ click on the pictures section to see some wonderful pictures of the area in which we live and some lovely photos of their family and homestead.

Long story short I made a great deal on about 20 pounds of wax at about $5.00 per pound and he gave me a beeswax candle.

Beeswax is not as easy to get as you think quite a bit of it comes from Canada but the shipping is very,very expensive as well as the lower 48 (thats what Alaskans call everywhere else in the continental U.S.). Raising bees in Alaska is also very expensive the bee keeper must buy new bees every year because they cannot survive the winter unless they are housed in heated trailers. It seems so sad they have to die off every winter.

Please don't get me started on the colony collapse disorder that is killing bees by the trillions. They leave to pollinate the flowers and gather nectar and mysteriously do not return to their hives. I think it's pesticides causing the problems and perhaps some more complicated issues. Bees are like the canary in the mine when they die - we die the cycle of life is broken.

Now I have my wax and am brewing up a batch of encaustic medium, (beeswax and rare damar resin) it smells delicious.

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