Wednesday, November 9, 2011

National Gatherings for Encaustic

As the number of artist who work in wax grows, so do the opportunities for them to come together to share experiences.  There are now three such opportunities: The International Encaustic Conference (sixth year), the IEA annual conference (seventh year) and EncaustiCamp (second year).  I've been involved with each of these venues.  Each has its own unique flavor and value. 

EncaustiCamp is the newest gathering.  Today the new website goes online and registration for the summer event is open to the public.  Of all of the gatherings, this one has been the most fun.  The other conferences follow a traditional conference model with demonstrations, lectures and vendors. (More on those events in another post.)  EncaustiCamp follows a real "adult camp" model that allows for three full days of hands on experiences working with nationally recognized teachers. 

EncaustiCamp is held in a high school boarding school with college-like dorms, school cafeteria and classrooms.  For those who don't like the "closeness" that sharing rooms entails, there is a nearby hotel.  The closeness of EncaustiCamp, however, builds bonds of friendship that often last long beyond the week of creating.  The numbers are smaller at this venue and the meals are prepared on-site, so the experience is more intimate.  You get to know one another as only shared meals and learning or late night talks over wine and snacks can do.  The vendor experience is also more intimate because each of the teachers brings work, kits or materials to sell.  You won't be able to find these items in any of the art stores that vendor at larger conferences.  Last year, one of the teachers who works with found papers and images, opened her own stash to the campers for sale!  EncaustiCamp is a great concept and we thank  Trish Seggebruch for having the vision and making it happen. 

If you are fairly new to wax, have been working in isolation and want to get to know others who work in encaustic or want several classes in encaustic while only paying travel and lodging for one event, EncaustiCamp gives you the  best bang for your buck.  It has been held on the west coast, near Salem, Oregon, but there is some talk about opening a second location next year. 

I'll see you there this summer!