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Honey bee collage in encaustics

Bee collage by Janet Bocciardi

Napkin, mulberry paper, encaustics

One of the many classes I have on my schedule this winter was held last Friday at Wax Works West.  A dear friend of mine organized a workshop with Judy and Wendy, sisters and owners of said shop.  They allowed us to have a private class with just five participants so we received lots of hands-on attention.  They are both warm and approachable.  In fact they felt like old friends from the start.  Laughter burst out often during demonstrations, but we were focused when let loose.  Part of that was due to the hot steel platforms and torches required to use this medium, but also due to really getting into it!
The workshop was a basic encaustic painting class.  What is encaustic painting?  Well, it's basically painting with a medium that combines bees wax, tree resin, and pigment.  Most of us never handled this hot stuff so it freed us to just play and see what it could do.  Fun?  Goodness yes!

Encaustic painting by Janet Bocciardi 

Winter Forest by Janet Bocciardi


I just love the look of the surface of the artwork.  After polishing it shines like a cabochon, but it has a softness that comes from the medium:  wax!

Encaustic Painting by Janet Bocciardi

Primordial Soup by Janet Bocciardi

Encaustics, Perfect Pearls

The translucency of the layers is one of the main advantages of this medium.
I of course asked whether I could use encaustics in my jewelry after imagining using it similarly as resin.  They felt it was important that the surface of the wax not rest on a person since their temperature could affect it.  I'm also thinking that it would be important to let people know that the piece should never be left in a car, sun, etc.  While surfing around on the web to see what others are doing with encaustics I found Linda Lenart McNulty, sister of Susan Lenart Kazmer, who has already explored this using her sister's pre-made bezels.  (Click on Linda's name to see her colorful work.)

Encaustic Painting by Janet Bocciardi in primary colorsPrimary Explosion by Janet Bocciardi


Downstairs and outside of Wax Works West studio are displays of their artwork that ranged from encaustic work (paintings and 3-D work!) to stone sculpture to 3-D assemblage.  They are such talented artists in their own right, but they are also very vocal about their support for other artists in the area, especially women.  They also promote local suppliers and small suppliers that might not otherwise get the exposure.  I love to see that.
To one side of the working studio you'll find their shop of everything you need to work in this encaustics medium.  They've got it all online now, too, so even if you're not local you can find what you need to get started or find supplies.
I am going to explore this medium further, as I'm excited about the possible integration with not only my jewelry, but my mixed media work as well.


I am so stinkin' jealous! I

I am so stinkin' jealous! I have been wanting to try this forever. I have a book of some mixed media that touches on this, but I'm so a hands on learner. And yes, I have seen encaustic in jewelry in bezels, which is where I first wanted to try it. Deryn Mentock taught a class at Adorn Me! that I wasn't able to go to....I haven't seen her offer it again though. I'm wanting to combine it with my photographs in some mixed cool...and you did a fabulous job Janet!

What beauty you continue to

What beauty you continue to explore, Janet! Sounds like you really took to this and I am eager to see how it shows up in your jewelry.

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