My first full day at the John C. Campbell Folk School was just that – FULL. First, the campus is spread out just enough in the woods that it’s easy to get lost. One of my students, Phyllis, offered to drive my very heavy bags up to the painting studio and it took us two tries just to find her cabin.

Campbell Folk School

After I got all settled in at the studio we got right to work. I have nine students from Georgia, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Most have never tried encaustic painting before but a few were working on advanced techniques the first day. Constance and Jenny drove up with more wax than I’ve ever seen from Enkaustikos – buckets of fun! All of my students caught on so fast yesterday that today I accelerated the schedule so they’ll have more time to work on their own at the end of the week. We’ve already covered painting basics to get all of the workstations set up and get everyone familiar with painting, fusing, layering and scraping. Today we tackled collage and texture, and tomorrow they’ll learn how to mix their own encaustic medium and do image transfers onto the wax.

I’ve also made some new friends with the other instructors here. My studio neighbor, Phil Colson, made this wood turning which I’ll add some encaustic paint and shellac to in order to finish it off. We’ll donate it to the annual auction to raise money for the school. I’ll post the results here when were done.

Phils bowl

My class was also graciously invited by Harry Hearne to come to his clay studio this afternoon to cut shapes from a slab of clay that he will bisque fire for us. We’ll add wax to these pieces when they are ready on Thursday. One of my students, Brenda, was kind enough to bring some clay tiles for everyone to work on (as well as the propane tank I couldn’t fly with) so we all have a little experience with working on clay already. The spirit of collaboration is strong here and it seems to come naturally to everyone, which make this an even richer experience.

Ashley tile

Ashley heart

Ashley (above) and Brenda (below) work with bisque fired ceramic tiles as a base for their paintings.

Brenda’s tile

After teaching in the studio all day it was finally my turn to play. I invited the other instructors over to the painting studio for a quick demo and used to rest of the time to start a couple of new background for work I hope to finish this week. I think they are off to a good start.

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