Beeswax with Damar resin, pigments and oil paints, indigo and wax, cyanoprints and wax, playing with wax, stencils and wax, charcoal and wax, Alabama Chanin and wax, cold wax, hot wax, cardboard, tape, plaster, taxidermy foam, canvas and wax......did I mention I was at Encausticamp?

A week of blissful, waxy play and creation and laughter and inspiration and demonstrations and instruction and and and.  I've been mystified, enamoured with encaustic wax for over a decade; took one amazing class with Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch about eight years ago, only to have to put it on a back shelf because of logistical issues, lack of studio space. Fast forward to last week, circuitous circumstances, and the knowledge that I would soon have space for encaustic work, and I was spontaneously, ever so gratefully off to Dumas Bay Retreat Center for Encausticamp.

Though a relative newby, everyone, and I mean e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e was welcoming, open, sharing, and helpful. Wax studios were open 9:30 am to 8:30 pm, three studios with multiple wax stations and oodles of accompaniments to create just about whatever your heart desired. There were a multitude of mini classes offered to whet your appetite, give instruction, divulge technical info, and get those creative juices flowing. It was difficult deciding just what to take because they ALL were intriguing.

My first class was with Cindy Clark, Marks in Space. We used charcoal to intuitively create a piece we would cut apart and affix to a wood panel and ......yes, layer with encaustic wax. I later used this piece with the beautiful Miss Lora Murphy in her cold wax class. Mind blowing! I LOVE this medium. I get excited just thinking of the possibilities.

Kathryn Bevier's classes imparted the technical knowledge with some color theory that I sorely need. Kathryn's in-depth knowledge of encaustic wax products was paramount; and she gave us a wonderful foundation as well as personal feedback.

Cyanotype prints on cotton are absolutely gorgeous, and Shary Barlett walked us confidently through all the steps necessary to create our own prints and then.....yes, mount them and encase them in encaustic wax. Shary, you have created a cyanotype fiend here. I must do this again and again!

I finished my first day...yes, this is only the first day!!!... with Whitney Buckingham-Beechie in Rambunctious Indigo. We dipped canvases, boards, papers, and our lovely canvas goody bags in indigo. Then other campers wandered out and started dying their shirts, pants, and hair. If the vat was any larger I would have thought someone might just dip themselves in it!

What gorgeous fun that was. And yes, I will do an indigo vat myself one day.

Let's pause here a moment to say that the Dumas Bay Retreat Center is a beautiful sanctuary. It was once a nunnery, right on the Puget Sound, with the most beautiful sunsets reflecting off the waters. The staff were quietly gracious and helpful when needed. The food was plentiful and delicious. My room and bed were very comfortable and simple. Highly recommended.

Each morning we had the option to join Amanda Jolley for Contemplative Approach. I enjoyed our short ritual of breath, poetry, and contemplation. It was the perfect way to begin our days.

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, woman extraordinaire, visionary, organizer, facilitator, artist, open-armed and open-hearted host, taught a class where we cut up taxidermy foam, attached fabric, then coated it in.....yes, encaustic wax. Another technique, another approach, another idea outside the box. Trish, thank you for opening our minds.

Creative Freedom Mark-Making with Crystal Neubauer was an exercise in freeing up your creative flow. Another class was Smorgasbord of Finishes with Tracy, owner of ArtSpot in Edmonds, WA. She brought all manner of tools and products to enhance our encaustic wax pieces, demonstrated and explained how to use them all, and let us all have a go at it.

Altered Photos with Shary put an array of useful techniques into my waxy quiver.

I made a tiny woven basket with Leanne Fry. I've always wanted to learn how to weave a basket, and now I know. I also know what to do with that pile of jersey cotton pulls I've been collecting.

Since I was playing around with wax, I took this little snippet from a shirt I was sewing, mounted it onto paper, stitched and waxed it up. Hmmmm...ideas coming from everywhere.

Plaster Vessels with Kristina Trudell taught me that cardboard, tape and plaster can be a great substrate for....yes, again, encaustic wax!

There were other mini classes offered that I wish I could have been two Pattis and attended ALL of them, but alas, I had to choose. Perhaps next time I'll have the opportunity to learn even more. I'm already sewing the seeds to attend Encausticamp 2019, July 22 through July 28. Sign-ups begin soon. Follow this link to have a look.

Encausticamp is bountiful in so many ways. I wholeheartedly recommend this waxy adventure for those seeking enrichment in encaustic wax and beyond.

"Think, dear Sir, of the world that you carry inside you, and call this thinking whatever you want to: a remembering of your own childhood or a yearning toward a future of your own - only be attentive to what is arising within you, and place that above everything you perceive around you. What is happening in your innermost self is worthy of your entire love;"

-Rainer Maria Rilke, excerpt from Letters to a Young Poet

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