Description of the product, process and the business.
My name is Kitty Kiefer. I am a writer, poet, photographer and craft person. This medium is made from the wax of Louisiana honey bees. It has been cleaned, and filtered so that bee parts, grass, twigs, paint chips – all the parts of non-beeswax picked up during the honey extraction have been removed. Beeswax is a by-product of the honey extraction process. Honey bees store their honey in honey comb, which is capped or sealed comb in the beehive -- modern beehives have ten frames per deep box or shallow box. It is the stacked-up boxes that one sees on location in fields and clearings in the woods where the bees are placed for certain blooms or for pollination services.
To extract the honey, first the frames are either pushed through an uncapping machine, or if the beekeeper has a few hives, the beekeeper will break the honeycomb up with a knife or a rake like tool. Big beekeepers use centrifugal force in their extractors to move the honey, wax etc. out of the uncapped frames and into a drain to the settling tank(s) and the smaller, do-it-by-hand beekeepers use gravity. Either way, the honey and wax particles then go to a settling tank where the honey sinks to the bottom and the wax and other objects of the hive – called cappings (leaves, twigs, bee parts, wood chips, etc.) float to the top of the settling tank. The beekeeper then pours the honey from a valve at the bottom of the tank into jars for market or consumption. The cappings, some honey and all the other stuff are removed from the settling tank, put in 55-gallon drums. This very thick liquid is called “slum-gum” by beekeepers. "Slum-gum" must be filtered and cleaned before it can be used in this encaustic and is usually a lovely golden tan color and smells sweet. The wax I use has never been bleached, but has been cleaned. Any fiber in the medium is from the damar resin. I have some pictures of honey extraction included on this site.
These days people are very interested in honey bees and beekeeping practices. George Marks, of NUNU, has suggested that I offer encaustic medium made with Louisiana beeswax for Louisiana artists and for all artists. So that is what I am doing.
This product, EncausticKiefer, is made in small batches. It currently is only beeswax and Damar resin. I have not mixed in any pigments. Color is so personal that at present I am leaving the addition of colors up to the artists who purchase my medium.
I have two shapes that I make – a little block, 1-1/4” X 1-1/4” X 5/8”
And a little bar, 2-7/8” X 5/8” X 5/8”
These units weigh about 0.65 ounce each. I sell them as follows:
5 for $7.00 (plus tax and postage)
10 for $13.00 (plus tax and postage)
20 for $25.00 (plus tax and postage)
I have tried to pour the melted medium into various tins, because we all put the medium on our heated palette(s) in metal containers of some sort to melt it so we can use it.
I have a very small tin (tare .6 oz. & 1-1/2" by 2-5/8", half inch deep) that holds 0.9 oz encaustic medium – rectangular shape $3.50 per box (plus sales tax and US Post)
I have a mid-sized metal box (tare 1.25 oz. Altoid box size approx. 2-1/4" by 3-1/2" and 1/2" deep) that holds 1.5 oz encaustic medium (the hinges on the top prevent me from filling this box to the top) for $4.90 (plus sales tax and US Post)
I have a larger, to hold 8 oz, round candle making tin (tare ___ oz.) holding 7 oz of encaustic medium for $16.60 (plus sales tax and US Post).
If you have been doing this for a while, the metal containers are not necessary, as you already have your own system of melting the medium on whatever palette you use, but they are cute and kind of “gifty” looking. I expect that most artists will buy the encaustic medium, wrapped in waxed paper and boxed in the priority box in units of 5, 10 or 20. You may specify bars or blocks or mixed shapes.
Because I have registered this small, studio business with the NUNU Collective in Arnaudville, Louisiana, I will be charging sales tax for Arnaudville, LA which is St. Martins Parish rate (7.95%) on all purchases, no matter the final destination. Charging Louisiana sales tax gives NUNU “credit” for building the Parish economy and the arts community. I will ship the medium through the US Postal Service and no other way at the moment. It will be in Priority Boxes. I am offering these prices for shipping within the United States.
Payment will be credit card or debit card, through the website -- Stripe. Stopping by NUNU and getting the medium, you won’t pay shipping, but you will pay sales tax.
Files coming soon.