I’m headed to the small mountain town of Snowmass, CO to attend a week-long workshop at Anderson Ranch. My instructor is artist Brenda Mallory and she’s teaching “Repeats, Rhythms and Rifts.” I met Brenda a few years ago at the 5th International Encaustic conference and I’ve been in love with her organic, sculptural work ever since. I even interviewed her for my art blog, Culture Seen.
Before registering at Anderson Ranch I considered taking an encaustic workshop but discovered my work had changed. Yes, I use encaustic as part of my work but I use mixed media. In fact, I realized I’m not even a painter anymore. I use a brush to mix paint and apply clear wax to photography and that is about it. My work is a three-dimensional composition of found objects, thick layers of poured pigmented wax and hand formed, encaustic dipped photography printed paper. Since Brenda creates sculptural work it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to learn some new things while being in line with the type of work I’m currently creating.
I have no idea what to expect from this week. It was weird packing because I brought items from the supply list but lots of them were items I don’t use in my daily practice (needles, thread, fabric, needle nose pliers). It’s closer to a supply list from my fashion design classes (I studied fashion design briefly in college). I think this new set of tools is a good thing. It will either lead me to a new place with my work or give me a week of play.
Some things that are fantastic about the upcoming week and a few things that freak me out a little. All of my meals are provided by Anderson Ranch. I’ve heard from previous visitors that the food is delicious and this seems like such an indulgence to me. Not having to think about, or actually make, food saves a lot of time and I relish the opportunity to spend that in the studio or chatting with other artists. Now what freaks me out a bit is sharing a quad, including bunk beds, and a shared bathroom with three other women. It’s been a while since I’ve been in college. I don’t have kids, I work from home and am very used to having my own space. I think this communal living experience will be fun. I’m keeping an open mind and trying not to think about the Buffy episode, Living Conditions, where her roommate turns out to be a demon. A demon that borrows Buffy’s clothes without asking, loudly trims her toenails every night and eats Buffy’s food.
Since I’m already on a pop culture tangent I might as well continue. The class supply list made me feel like I was getting ready for a challenge on Project Runway (I love, love, love that show!). What if this week my challenge is to create wearable art and I have to battle it out with a fashion designer from the show? I don’t think there is a runway in my future but I think Brenda is going to be a kickass Tim Gunn for me.