I read through each blog post today, the ones written by the other instructors. And I savored each post written about them by our fearless leader.


Trish. She hates to be called our fearless leader. But she is. Fearless.

And our leader.

I can hear her blowing me a great big raspberry as I type those words. Pffft!

But I digress.


It isn’t so much the fact that she is the mastermind behind the amazingness that is EncaustiCamp, or that we instructors work for her there that make her a leader. It has nothing to do with the Google chats, or emails, or text requests to brainstorm an idea with her. No, it has nothing to do with any of that boss to employee stuff at all. Being an instructor at EncaustiCamp means I am part of a team.

Truly it is a team.


What makes her a leader is nothing you can say in a sentence. Or paragraph. Or out loud in a conversation.

It is this energy and inner strength and imparting of empowerment and compassion and love.

It is the force of a typhoon building out at sea and suddenly washing over you with wave after wave of refreshment for the spirit. She does not lead from top down, but rather by example, side-by-side, and without intent.

And her fearless behavior has nothing to do with not having fear. She is human and feels plenty of it. But she moves anyway. Isn’t that the definition after all? To feel the fear and move in spite of it?

EncaustiCamp – I met this fearless leader friend of mine first in the pages of her book. I, as a collage and mixed media artist looking for something to preserve the fragile papers I use to create. And there she was on the shelf of my favorite bookstore.

I played with the waxy medium of encaustic and soon was using it in unique ways that fit my collage and assemblage sensibilities. And that’s when I met her again. First through a Facebook message after I innocently “liked” her post. And then in the classroom, where I taught my combination of wax with paper and wire.


I knew she was there, not for any expertise I had to offer up to her, but to see if what she thought she saw in me online were true. And then she offered, and I accepted, a place on her team – year one.

I never have considered myself to be an encaustic artist. But I am an artist. Collage is my first love. Always, my work comes back to that love of collage. And I love what encaustic can do with it.

I have always been clear to the camp participants, that I do not stand before them with expertise about the medium. What I have to offer is my vision. What Trish saw in me way back then was the way that I see.

Each bit. Each scrap of paper pulled together in my work, held together with encaustic or glue, represents a part of our lives. Some pieces more glorious than others. Many look too shabby to even be used. Yet, often it is the shabbiest piece that brings the picture all together, adding it’s strength to the beauty.

Stepping back to look, these scraps become a whole and beautiful composition. Not one piece could be removed without affecting the entire collage. Each piece is necessary in the creation of the final work. Just as each piece of our lives is necessary in creating us to be who we are today.

Just as each student. Each instructor. Each fearless leader, is necessary to the whole of EncaustiCamp. Not one can be let go without affecting the rest. That is what she has taught me. That is what makes this place special.


The wax is just a bonus.