This is it, a snapshot of the first time I watched wax melting on a griddle, the first time I smelled the intoxicating aroma of warm beeswax. This was at Artfest in Port Townsend, Washington. My instructor was none other than Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch. After this introduction, I took every encaustic workshop I was able to attend. A couple years later, my favorite instructor, ‘Trish’, made the announcement about the first ever EncaustiCamp. Adrenalin rush! And yes, I have attended every year, this year as an instructor.
One thing that really bloomed for me from my time at EncaustiCamp was the approval and encouragement to experiment. A unique approach was taught by each of the instructors which gave me permission to really push into my own style and approach in my home studio. I did not find the need to hold to hard and fast encaustic rules, but rather ‘what if’s. This allowed me to make an amazing discovery by marrying a craft of mine to the fluid properties of the wax. In 2011, I made my first wax sandwich and soldered a pendant I still wear.
And that was just the beginning. Next came adding all kinds of little things into the wax sandwich, beads, string, paper, feathers, insect wings, and fibers.
My heart stood still one day as I soldered a waxy pendant with a bit of Grammy’s lace. When the piece was done, I thought of my grandma and the dementia she experienced. The piece looked so tangled, so confused, and yet so beautiful. That spurred on a whole series of pendants dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, and also in honor of my husband’s grandma who was dealing dementia at the time.
I look forward to EncaustiCamp this year in a different way than usual. I get the opportunity to share what I have discovered and to encourage further experimentation. I get to ignite excitement that will ripple into the studios across the continent, just like I had the fortune of experiencing in previous years. It is all so good.