Book of Trees, spread 4

 |  December 15, 2009

I just got back from picking up a package at my mailbox that came with my “Book of Trees”, my project that is part of the collaboration with Seth Apter and Jen Worden. I haven’t seen this book for a few months so I was really excited to open up the box and see the magic that they have worked upon my plaster book.

I wish I could share the pages they have done in the meantime, but I will leave it to them to post. I post my pages here once Seth and Jen have both seen what I created in person, so the fun won’t be spoiled for them when they open up the box.

Anyway, here is my last spread I did in my “Book of Trees” which is made of plaster pages. The preceding page that you can kind of get a glimpse of is a spread that Seth created. I played off the palette of his last spread.

spread 4, open

One of the things that I wanted to explore with having a book made out of plaster pages was to play with the characteristics of having a plaster page, ie, take advantage of the fact that it is a hard surface. So I cut a window out of the plaster with the idea of placing an image inside.

When you dip a piece of paper into encaustic medium, the paper absorbs the wax, almost becoming a piece of wax itself. This creates a beautiful translucency when the piece of paper is held up to the light. The tricky part about that is, well, how does one find a way to display work like that? I haven’t quite gotten to that solution yet, but this is a baby step in the right direction. When the book is opened, like in the photo above, the light comes through the waxy image of the branches, which just makes my heart sing!

with book closed

Above is an image of the page with the book closed. I painted the rest of the plaster page with encaustic and oil paint. Scratching into the surface and letting the wax grab onto the nooks and crannies of the plaster.

Here is a detail of the corner:


I kind of felt bad for Jen who had to do the next spread as I wasn’t sure how she was going to tackle the challenge of having a window and an image already part of the next page since she was going to work on the back. But she did an amazing job. And she also played around with the metal wires that are holding the plaster pages. So cool!


  1. by Julie Jordan Scott on December 15, 2009  2:13 pm Reply

    absolutely gorgeous. I wish I knew how to do stuff like this!

  2. by tangled sky studio on December 15, 2009  2:47 pm Reply

    it's beautiful! i remember seeing this when it was just a stack of white plaster and now look it's all grown up!
    happy holidays!


  3. by jenw on December 15, 2009  2:51 pm Reply

    Don't feel bad Bri! It was interesting working on the backside of the page - not the least of which was to do a mini freak out when I used my heat gun to hurry up the drying process only to realize I was re-melting your wax. lol That was a CLOSE one! Go ahead and post the pages if you want. xo

  4. by Julie on December 15, 2009  3:14 pm Reply

    Bridgette- really awesome...I love the translucency of this...very very cool.

  5. by jennifer lorton on December 15, 2009  3:47 pm Reply

    I can't even tell you how inspired I am by this post. I too made one of these lovely journals in one of Stephanie Lee's classes. It is so beautiful, she is a great teacher. The book is so pretty it's a bit intimidating. But this post has given me the inspiration that I needed, thank you. I love the encaustic print in the window, it looks lovely! Thanks.

  6. by AnnK on December 15, 2009  4:54 pm Reply

    So beautiful...ahhhhh, the wonder and glory of trees.

  7. by Wild Somerset Child on December 15, 2009  5:48 pm Reply

    Absolutely stunning - as your work always is. But doesn't a plaster-paged book weigh a ton (metaphorically) and cost the earth to mail back and forth?

  8. by Seth on December 15, 2009  8:23 pm Reply

    The look and feel of your page is just tremendous Bridgette. The color was so rich and the texture you created with the plaster, the wax, and all your mark making was mind blowing! So happy I have been lucky enough to hold your page in my own hands.

  9. by Karin Bartimole on December 15, 2009  9:08 pm Reply

    This is so incredibly yummy Bridgette!! of to get my hands on the book :to experience it fully )

  10. by Kelly Jeanette on December 15, 2009  9:59 pm Reply

    A really nice piece, love the texture and tree imagey.

  11. by Evangeline on December 16, 2009  12:18 pm Reply

    Wow. This is so incredibly beautiful!

  12. by fheathermoore on December 16, 2009  1:13 pm Reply

    I have just subscribed to your blog, because I'm in complete adoration of your artwork. This is an amazing idea. I have used polyfiller, which is for filling in holes in the wall, in my artwork. I have never thought to try creating whole pages with it, but I'd love to find out more about it. I have also soaked my pages in wax, and love the firmness it gives to the paper. Thank you for such a great blog!

  13. by Sharmon Davidson on December 16, 2009  7:34 pm Reply

    this is really beautiful! The "waxed paper" is so translucent, it makes the tree picture seem filled with light, like the actual sky. I think making frames from plaster, like the book pages, and putting these translucent images in them would be very cool. you'd maybe have to hang them somewhere with light behind them, I guess.

  14. by bridgette on December 16, 2009  9:56 pm Reply

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments about this page! I really appreciate it.

    Thank you Beth, that's right, I showed you the virgin white plaster pages way back when. It's been fun seeing them fill up!

    That's so funny Jen! Heat will do that to wax. haha!

    Glad that this post inspired yoru Jennifer. I actually did not learn how to make a plaster book from Stephanie Lee. When I took her plaster workshop, she brought in a prototype of a plasterbook she was working on which of course got my brain working overtime to have a book of encaustic pages. But I made up the binding myself in a very haphazard way, so I am 100% positive that your book is much much nicer than mine! But have a go at it. Nothing is sacred when it comes to art exploration.

    thanks for subscribing fheathermoore! The pages were made on plaster gauze, so it's really light. You just have to secure them onto wire. You should check out Stephanie Lee's web site if she has samples of her plaster books, it was one of her books that I saw that inspired me to make my own.

    Thanks Sharmon, for the ideas...I may have to consult an electrician! How to wire a small light behind an encaustic piece, without giving off too much heat and without having ugly wires show. Or maybe make it into some kind of free hanging installation? hmmmm.......

  15. by Curio on December 17, 2009  8:10 am Reply

    Amazing book!

  16. by Meri on December 17, 2009  8:02 pm Reply

    Isn't collaboration amazing? The results are always intriguing, different from what you imagine.

  17. by Laura Hegfield on December 18, 2009  2:18 pm Reply

    This is so cool. I love the luminosity that the wax allows through the I want to play with this technique.

    gentle steps,

  18. by merci33 on December 18, 2009  5:56 pm Reply

    Well all I can do is echo all of the wonderful words that have already fallen onto this page...the waxed paper's glow is just mesmerizing...and in contrast with the plastered surface ya got that yin n' yang thing goin' on girl. gorgeous.
    Happiest holiday to you and your clan.

  19. by fheathermoore on December 20, 2009  7:08 am Reply

    Thank you for explaining Bridgette. I definitely want to try this method. I take it you create the page by covering it with plaster gauze? Perhaps I've misunderstood. Thank you for the supplying Stephanie's name. I've bookmarked her page to have a look at. I'm a new artist so trying to soak up as many methods as possible!


  20. by Jill on December 21, 2009  7:09 pm Reply

    Came across your blog by chance and find your art inspirational - I shall be visiting again and looking through your 'back catalogue'

  21. by Paula Scott on December 25, 2009  1:46 am Reply

    Oh, my! I want to make some of these plaster pages!
    This is fabulous. You are amazing!

  22. by Studio Sylvia on December 26, 2009  3:12 pm Reply

    What a great idea - plaster pages. Love the page. Love the tree. Gorgeous, Bridgette.

  23. by rivergardenstudio on December 28, 2009  6:28 pm Reply

    This work is filled with soul and magic... wishing you a beautiful, art filled new year, roxanne

  24. by Kathy Hodge on December 30, 2009  10:31 am Reply

    Very mysteriously beautiful. I've also been intrigued by transparency, and love wax, but haven't yet delved too far into it. Seeing your work is definitely inspiring.

  25. by Ophelia on December 31, 2009  9:35 pm Reply


  26. by Shayla on January 4, 2010  1:26 pm Reply

    It makes my heart sing too!

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