This week’s blog posts are all by Crystal Neubauer. Last week saw Amanda Jolley and starting us off was Michelle Belto introducing our collaborative series; this week Crystal! Enjoy and savor the uniqueness of each~


Looking at the seven blank canvases lined up with piles of colorful collage papers stacked on top, another image comes to mind.

day 4- doors

These colorful doors each lead to a different artists studio within a community minded building in an artistic community. Each artist is able to work in solitude but community is just a matter of opening the door.

The juxtaposition of this image in my mind against the blank panels reminds me of the theme of this show – “Seven Degrees of Connection”, inspired by the theory commonly known as “Six Degrees of Separation”, which examines the ever-increasing connectedness of the earth’s population.

It is more possible than ever before through the internet and especially with social media, to be connected to other people. But it is also more possible to live an isolated life. We can work from home, have our paychecks deposited directly in the bank, and order every good needed for survival and have it show up at our door, rendering it completely unnecessary to leave our homes. Ever.

Except for one small thing.

day 4- rocks

We need each other.

We are relational creatures. Our sense of belonging is an innate need essential to our survival. It is not logical to believe that only babies need this type of quality nurturing in order to thrive. Studies link mental health issues, dementia, physical healing from illness, and more to the quality of connections in ones life.

day 4- spiral

And so we swing open our doors and invite others to join us. We deliberately seek out paths that link us to those who have common interests and passions. We offer our unique gifts and experience the joy of giving.

This is what “Seven Degrees of Connection” means to me. Each panel is a door. A portal. Each scrap that I gather represents a part of ones life. Individual scraps may not hold much interest or value, but brought together they create the bigger picture. Not one piece of the collage can be removed without affecting all the others.

This place we call “EncaustiCamp” is more than just an art retreat. It is a place where connections are made and nurtured. It is the feeling of belonging that makes it so special and is talked about long after the week has come and gone.

This belonging, these connections. This very special community. This is what I will be pondering as I select each scrap and bit that will cover my panels for the show.