Thank you for following along for the past seven weeks on our blog share of this collaborative exhibit! The art work will be displayed live at Dumas Bay Centre during EncaustiCamp 20-27 July. Next week it will go live to auction on a page here on this blog and shared throughout social media. Instructions on bidding will be there as well! This wrap up blog is about our individual causes, and what we are funding with the proceeds of our sales. Thank you in advance for coming enjoying and supporting our work!




The Insulation Project~

Bring on the students! Bring on the instructors from far and wide! My cause is the necessary and essential addition of insulation to the studio space in the encausticastle. Making the space more conducive to group comfort is paramount in my mind as I embark on invited guest workshops beginning April 2016. It is my hope that the sales of my work in this auction will supply funds to make this happen; thereby having each and every purchaser not only the proud owner of the art they’ve selected, but a proud supplier of bales of insulation where I hope you will one day visit!

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The Living Room

The charity I’ve chosen is “The Living Room” in Santa Rosa, CA. The Living Room welcomes homeless and at-risk women and their children into a safe and comfortable environment during the day when shelters are closed. Information on temporary supportive social services are made available to them and their children, and they are offered a place to learn new skills and move toward independence and self-sufficiency.

The Living Room’s two core programs are the Women’s Program and the Mother and Child Program. Currently, the two programs serve over 1,200 individual participants annually who visit regularly or multiple times. An average of 70-80 participants receive services every day Monday-Friday.  This includes approximately 20-30 children and their mothers who attend the Mother and Child Program.   A nourishing breakfast and a hot lunch is prepared and served by their volunteers – about 2,000 meals are served per month.


310 ART Scholarship Fund –

310 ART was founded in 2006 as a fine arts educational center for active adults. Located in the vital River Arts District of Asheville, NC, it is now the oldest independent teaching center for fine arts in the region. Classes are offered year round in all mediums and are taught by professional working artists. The Encaustic and Cold Wax program began in 2009 and is a major component of the curriculum.

Fleta Monaghan, founder and director, is dedicated to providing arts education to all motivated adults. She says, “From the very start of our school no one has ever been turned away from our classes because of lack of funds. We fundraise by selling aprons and t-shirts, catalogs of shows, and special art sales so we always give something back to the donor for scholarship money we receive. If funds are low we take the scholarship money from our operating expenses, and many of our teachers have been generous by allowing deserving students to participate at reduced tuitions. Our mission is to promote the arts through the best and most comprehensive curriculum we can provide. We are delighted to be part of this Seven Degrees fundraiser and know the money received will be well used.”

I (Erin!) was one of those scholarship recipients, when I first left my public school teaching position due to health reasons, and now I hope to give back to others.  I’d love to see “Seven Degrees of Connection” turn into “Seven to the Nth Degree of Connection.”


As a gesture of international goodwill and friendship between Canada and the US, my proceeds from sales of my artwork will be applied directly to each of  my fellow Ecamp instructors causes.


Justice Project

The concept of Studio Joy and its philosophy of a safe place to explore creative expression began its foundation in 2006. That’s the year I began volunteering for an organization that reached out to prostituted women. At first I served whole and nutritious lunches, and then later introduced small creative exercises before their group meetings. I was intentional with these exercises, with a greater purpose of creating access to both sides of their brains. The right side was often shut down when they arrived, so we would do such things as blind contour drawings to open up the whole brain, so they could better process their issues in their meetings. The creative exercises not only engaged the right brain, but allowed them to relax and be more relational in the group.

In 2012, I created a series of art journaling assignments called the Joy Journal Project. These were created with the intent of retraining the brain to more naturally recall appreciate and joy moments, and to heal places in which memories were tender. I taught a new assignment each month both live and online through step by step instructions. The space we used for live classes was borrowed, so I would haul mass quantities of supplies in and out each month.

In 2013, the Kansas City Rescue Mission Women’s Center opened its doors. The space is a home dedicated to women experiencing homelessness for a variety of reasons. The women are welcome to stay, rest, heal and prepare for an eventual re-entry into society. There is no rush to move them along. I taught a weekly art journaling class at the center. I left dedicated supplies for the center in the basement, and would have to haul them up and set up for class and then tear down and re-store the supplies each week. It was very labor intensive.

Last year, my husband and I fulfilled a mutual dream of finding a work/live space that would house both our creative endeavors. Studio Joy opened its doors in April 2014. I broke in the space on my art journaling group from my Joy Journal Project. Yes, we still meet monthly. And then something very exciting happened. The women from the center began to come to me each week. Not only does it give them a field trip, but I also have the studio arranged in a way that maintenance for each class is a breeze. I still transport small projects to the meeting place of the Willow Tree group, a part of the Justice Project, but the ease of access to supplies for all of these activities has allowed me greater time for my own studio practice. Hurray!!

Now that the gals from the women’s center are coming to Studio Joy, I have had a desire to delve into more diverse (and messier) projects. I’d like to introduce clay and plaster and encaustic. Since I have always self-funded the projects, what we have created has been limited to the resources I can scrounge. Some very awesome people have donated supplies such as a nice variety of papers, stamps, jewelry making supplies. I have found that I am expending a great deal of time and energy searching for projects to use these supplies rather than bouncing off the ideas I have from my own studio time.

The focus of our group creative time continues to be an intentional practice of appreciation and to honor and validate the wounded places of the heart. This is a practice that I use during my own studio time, so it is easily translated into group projects. My dream is to be able to purchase any extra supplies needed for specific projects that introduce the women to what I’m currently playing with in the studio. Not only will this allow the women exposure to a wider variety of mediums and experience, but my preparation process would once again be reduced. All funds collected from the sale of my 7 Degrees of Separation paintings will be used for this purpose. Please join me in the intentional process of transformation through artistic exploration. These women’s lives are being changed.


Southwest School of Art

There are so many worthy causes out there, and I have to admit that I have changed my mind so many times. Having money to donate is a powerful affirmation to a cause, a belief, a value. I don’t take it lightly.

I keep coming back to the essence of who I am and who I have always been. I am an educator….artist, yes, but probably equally important–an educator. For this reason, my donation will go to Southwest School of Art.   Southwest School of the Arts has been foundational in my own art education. I first came here more than twenty years ago and through its visiting artist programs have been able to study with some of the premier papermakers, fiber artists and painters in the world. In 2012, the school generously offered its studios and grounds at no charge for encaustic, allowing IEA to host the first EncaustiCon® on its site. I joined the faculty in 2007 as adjunct offering encaustic intensives throughout the year.

The school was founded in 1851 by seven French nuns as the first girl’s school in San Antonio. When the school closed, after more than a hundred years of educating young women and fell into disrepair, another group of civic-minded women raised the money to purchase the site along the banks of the San Antonio River to create a community center for the arts. Today, the Southwest School of Art is a nationally-recognized leader in arts education with studio programs for more than four thousand adults, children and teens annually.


Tye Johnson’s Paper heARTs-

My hope is to raise enough funds to cover the tuition of one child attending artist Tye Johnson’s Paper heARTs camp this summer. Though the camp will have wrapped up by the time our art auction has ended, I’ve pledged my intention to Tye and plan to cover the funds whether with the sale of my art or through my teaching fee. Tye’s organization has come closest to my heart as an artist of any I’ve ever come across, and having connected with her at her studio many times I have been greatly impacted by her. I’ve lifted the following words from her website, because I couldn’t explain it any better. To stand up for the voiceless and to incorporate this through the arts and instill it into a child – it gives me hope: 
     “ We want people to understand and experience different social justice issues through a variety of art forms. Our goal is to engage in the struggles of our brothers and sisters… to ignite a complacent world to stand up for the voiceless… to foster compassion for the less privileged… and to tell the story of those who are often overlooked. We believe that art has an amazing ability to connect souls and to touch hearts in a way that no other outlet can. We plan to change the world through art and to raise money for direct care service organizations in the process.”