Beeswax block crayons are an art medium that is fairly unique to Waldorf education, and to the best of my knowledge, Stockmar is the only company that makes beeswax block crayons. When I first looked into Waldorf education fifteen years ago, or so, I went to homeschool curriculum fair, where a lovely lady convinced me to purchase a very expensive set of Stockmar Beeswax Block Crayons. I came home and set them out for the kids to use and three years later, they had barely been touched. I decided then and there that they had to be one of the stupidest art mediums ever invented by mankind.When I decided to use a Waldorf-inspired style of homeschooling with Dora, it was with great trepidation that I contemplated using block crayons again. It seemed, however, that using block crayons and the accompanying Waldorf style of drawing were absolutely essential to a Waldorf education. Since this time around, I had the internet at my disposal, I did some more research. The first thing that convinced my heart to soften towards block crayons was when I purchased Coloring With Block Crayons, by Sieglinde De Francesca. Then I purchased a video of a lecture that Sieglinde had given and I actually began to contemplate liking block crayons. When I finally found Sieglinde’s professionally made 3 DVD set (there is also a book/DVD bundle), I suddenly found that block crayons were my favorite art medium!The first thing I learned that we had been doing wrong all those years ago, was not breaking in our crayons. This means that you don’t want the sharp edges, but you want to rub the crayons on paper until they are more rounded, otherwise, the lines are too sharp (note in the photo above, the crayon on the left is much more rounded and smooth than the almost new crayon on the right). Another error I was making, was not cleaning my crayons. I’m still working on finding a storage solution so that our crayons don’t rub against each other, but even when just coloring with crayons, they will get bits of other colors on them and I need to clean them by either using the scraper that Stockmar includes or by rubbing them clean on paper (I gather that there are other methods of cleaning the crayons, but none that I have tried). Finally, I learned that when coloring with block crayons, one is aiming for more of an impressionistic style, without fine details and definition. At the top of this post is a drawing of a chickadee that I made today. I drew it in about 15 minutes. The colors are a bit “different” because ideally, one only wants to use the primary colors with young children. I actually allow Dora to use all the colors that we have, as that was what she was already used to, but I try to set a good example. I also outlined the bird too forcefully for a true Waldorf drawing, but given that I had never actually tried block crayons in a proper manner, until 6 weeks ago and that I have only had about 5 twenty-minute drawing sessions since watching the DVD’s and reading the book, I’d say that the drawing came out pretty good and gives a good idea of the potential of block crayons.
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