Artisans Expo and Art Opening at the Encaustic Art Institute

The Artisans Expo comes to Buffalo Thunder Resort every other year. And from what I understand it’s the biggest art supply expo in the country. The event has teamed up with the Encaustic Art Institute and the International Encaustic Association to provide workshops and demonstrations during the expo.

Buffalo Thunder has a patio that we used for the workshop. It’s outdoors but enclosed and we had most of the space to ourselves. Working with plants and rusty bits can get messy so it was nice to be working outdoors. Plus we use a stove to steam the wrapped bundles which has to be done outdoors. The only thing to worry about is sudden rain or wind but we’ve been lucky so far.

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Students working on their first batch of eco-printing in the patio at Buffalo Thunder Resort.

Students working on their first batch of eco-printing in the patio at Buffalo Thunder Resort.

Stove used for steaming the bundles.

Stove used for steaming the bundles.

I taught a class on eco-printing during the last expo and was invited back to do another one this year. When I did it the last time I only had my students do eco-printing for a half-day class. I extended the workshop this year. The morning session of the class was making eco-prints. I did a demonstration before I let them loose to wrap their first bundles. A lot them wanted to do their second bundles right away but I told them to wait and see how the first one comes out before working on a second. This way they would know what tweaks they need to get different result or if they like how they came out they can try to make the same type. After the group got their bundles ready we put them all into the pot to steam for an hour. 

There were a lot of happy artists as they unwrapped their bundles to see what had transferred onto the silk. I think they would have been happy making bundles to be steamed the rest of the day. After the second set of bundles were ready they were put into the pot and off to lunch they went. I stayed behind to get set the encaustic up for the second part of the workshop which was to incorporation the eco-printed silk into encaustic. The class moved inside to start on the second part of the workshop. The electric kept going out so I decided to move the class back outside and I’d just do a demonstration on how to incorporate the eco-print with encaustic. It was nice to see the students getting into the my demonstration with a lot questions. After my demonstration some of the students tried the incorporating eco-printing into encaustic process. All in all I think everyone enjoyed the class. I do a lot of talking about my world when I teach so they learned a lot about my art journey and my art making process.

The Museum of Encaustic Art had an opening Friday night of the same weekend. This was in conjunction with the expo. The Encaustic Art Institute and the International Encaustic Association jointly sponsored the juried exhibition. One of my pieces was juried into the exhibition. I’ve been to a lot of events at EAI and this opening seemed to be one of the best attended art opening. It was great talking to other artists and collectors about the show.

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People attending the opening at the Encaustic Art Institute.

People attending the opening at the Encaustic Art Institute.

"Three Blessings," 23 x 23 on floating panel.

"Three Blessings," 23 x 23 on floating panel.

Petroglyph workshop at Ah Haa in Telluride

Blog > Petroglyph workshop at Ah Haa in Telluride

Instructor Peter Pino standing by his work station. Him and his wife came from Zia Pueblo which is outside of Albuquerque, NM. The goggles and rocks for carving into plus the tools needed to draw with.

Instructor Peter Pino standing by his work station. Him and his wife came from Zia Pueblo which is outside of Albuquerque, NM. The goggles and rocks for carving into plus the tools needed to draw with.

Living in the Southwest I’ve always been curious about petroglyphs. Zia pueblo artist Peter Pino was teaching a workshop in Telluride on the process of how they can be done so I signed up. The workshop was held at Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride, Colorado. It involved a 3 hour drive to and from the workshop but I had to do it since it was only 4 hours of class time and there wouldn’t be any need to spend the night in Telluride plus the need to learn about how it’s done.

One great question that was asked from one of the students was what the history was behind the petroglyphs and what was the reason they were made. The teacher answered the question by saying that they were first used to let the people migrating know where water was available but drawing bird tracks on the rocks. The reason for the bird tracks was because small birds tend to stay close to where there’s water available. From there the rock art evolved into more designs and the communications between the people migrating increased.

We had first wet our rocks in the river to get all the dirt off before we started carving.

We had first wet our rocks in the river to get all the dirt off before we started carving.

After working on a small piece of rock carving it's ready to be dipped back into the river to clean it up.

After working on a small piece of rock carving it's ready to be dipped back into the river to clean it up.

One comment the instructor made that really struck me was that we're not doing this it's all up to spirit how this comes out. I feel the same way about my work. That I'm just the worker bee doing what's the energy is informing me.

One comment the instructor made that really struck me was that we're not doing this it's all up to spirit how this comes out. I feel the same way about my work. That I'm just the worker bee doing what's the energy is informing me.

The carving gets lost in the rock when it's wet.

The carving gets lost in the rock when it's wet.

The finished piece after it has dried. I'd like the technique to go into my work but haven't figured in what way yet.

The finished piece after it has dried. I'd like the technique to go into my work but haven't figured in what way yet.

What goes into my work

My work always seems to be evolving. I don't know if it's because I love the challenge of pushing the creative energy or just that there are so many ideas rattling in my head there isn't enough time left in life to get it all out into the world. One thing I never do is work when I'm not in a good space. I don't like the negative energy seeping into my work. Besides the creativity gets blocked and I end up running in circles and am never happy with how pieces are coming together. 

When I get into the trance state is the best place to be since that's when I create pieces that surprise me in a pleasant way. When I'm in that state I feel like I'm just the grunt putting the pieces together and some outside energy is telling me what to do. Does that mean the work isn't really mine? I question that at times but it also seems to be part of the process of my letting go and letting the pieces fall into place without effort. As I grow more into having the energy from the other side help me create I'm finding myself asking for it and wanting its help. That doesn't mean it happens every time but it's always a great day when it does. Always looking forward to that trance kind of day.

I have a lot of pieces that are in the process. Some panels that have been started but they sit there waiting to be finished. I had one that I had done the background on a few months ago. It has been sitting for some time but earlier this week I started getting the nudge of finishing it. There was no planning involved but just slowly adding and taking things away to see what works and by the end of the day the piece was finished. And that made it a great blessed trance day.


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There are a lot of steps that goes into making a piece. One of the first things I do is get my art supplies ready. In my eco-printing process I take plants and rusty bits to do mark making by seaming them. Each print does it's own unique thing and that's what's so amazing about the process. The other thing I love about it is that it's working with nature. 

After the rolled up bundles have steam and cooled they are ready to be revealed to see what imprints they've made.

After the rolled up bundles have steam and cooled they are ready to be revealed to see what imprints they've made.

The element of surprise after unwrapping the bundle.

The element of surprise after unwrapping the bundle.

There's always a pleasent surprise when unwrapping them as you can see above. The plants and rust have all made their own markings on the silk. Now they just have to be washed to get all the debre out and after drying they are ready be used. The piece that I was working on has this added in two places. They are both stredded wrapped. One is wrapped around the piece of drift wood and the other is wrapped in the bundle that has horse hair. It seems like an unneeded step in the process but it's about recycling and repurposing material. Destroying one to be sacrificed and given rebirth into an new piece. It's like the cycle of life and how always moving forward. Each bundle is always blessed to honor and protect the home of its new owner. The story behind the bundling is here

Getting an idea on where to place everything on the inset panel.

Getting an idea on where to place everything on the inset panel.

Adding some color to the woven rocks and the drift wood. I wanted to do something that honored and acknowledged weaving without being blunt by adding a rug. So when I learned the technique of weaving with river rocks that was perfect to represent rug weaving. Sometimes they become part of the composition by becoming stands for the bundles to sit on or more decorative elements. It's also a nod to my mother who use to be a weaver growing up. She made purses to sell and feed the family. I was her little helper in getting the materials ready for the loom.

Adding some color to the woven rocks and the drift wood. I wanted to do something that honored and acknowledged weaving without being blunt by adding a rug. So when I learned the technique of weaving with river rocks that was perfect to represent rug weaving. Sometimes they become part of the composition by becoming stands for the bundles to sit on or more decorative elements. It's also a nod to my mother who use to be a weaver growing up. She made purses to sell and feed the family. I was her little helper in getting the materials ready for the loom.

Looking In I Discover Peace - 12 x 24 x 3 1/4 - Encaustic and mixed media on inset wood panel. The finished piece after half a year in the making. Each piece has it's on journey and each one grows at it's own pace.

Looking In I Discover Peace - 12 x 24 x 3 1/4 - Encaustic and mixed media on inset wood panel. The finished piece after half a year in the making. Each piece has it's on journey and each one grows at it's own pace.



Studio Tour on Navajo reservation

A small family was going to be visiting the Four Corners and they wanted to do some studio visits on the Navajo reservation. Since I had put one together last year which involved seven studios I figured the ground work has already been done so it shouldn’t be a hard thing to do. I made some phone calls to artists in the area to see if there was interest. The plan was stitched together from the time they were coming and how long they were going to be spending in the area. I just needed a day and half for all the studio visits.

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First Day

Gloria Emerson


Day one of the tour started off by picking up the tourists at their hotel in Farmington. The fist stop was at Gloria Emersons studio in Hogback which is West of Farmington on your way to Shiprock. Emerson is a Four Corners contemporary artist. She paints, writes poetry, owned and ran a gallery in Shiprock which is now closed, lectures and has been in several exhibitions around the area. The last exhibition that just came down was at the Henderson Fine Art Gallery at San Juan College in Farmington. It was a very successful show a big attendance at the opening resulting in a lot of red dots. During the studio visit Emerson talked about what she was currently working on and ended with a poetry reading for the family.

Gloria Emerson can be reached at asdzaa.gje@gmail.com.



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Eugene Joe


The next stop was at Eugene Joe’s studio in Shiprock. Joe works with sand in his art making process. He calls himself a sand artist. He showed the group how he learned the process from his father who was also worked with sand painting. I loved his story on how he didn’t find collecting the sand the best part of the job. He had to go out with his father and collect all the different colored sand from all over the Four Corners. After the sand was collected it had to be sifted to get down to a fine quality sand which was used in the art making. Since sand painting is used in ceremonial events and are considered very sacred the art that Joe makes is modified so it doesn’t look exactly like the sacred designs used in the ceremonies.

Eugune Joe can be reached at ebjoe@yahoo.com.


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James Joe

The next stop on the studio tour was with James Joe. Joe is a contemporary painter and his work is mostly themed on social injustice on the reservation. He works in a studio and lot of Navajo artists would love to have a hogan as a studio. He does a lot of art shows around the area to sell his work. He also teams up with Eugene Joe and the teach workshops on painting murals in schools around the reservation. He and Eugene are also a part of the Shiprock Historial Society which is a group that’s preserving the history of the town of Shiprock. They put out a magazine once a year that has stories about the town of Shiprock.

James Joe can be reached at creative_research@hotmail.com.

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Roy Kady

The last studio stop of the day was with Roy Kady who lives in Teec Nos Pos which is close to the New Mexico and Arizona boarder. His studio is on the Arizona side. Kady is weaver who is always mentoring new students wanting to learn the weaving process. He raises his own sheep and the wool from the sheep which his incorporates into his art supplies after they’ve been sheared, dyed and spun into yarn. One of Kady’s biggest achievements is winning the 50th Annual Anniversary Ribbon prize at the The Heard Indian Market. His other big achievement is all the mentoring he has done over the years with the young weavers. The majority of Kady’s dyes are collected from plants around his area. We got a great treat when he revealed a big piece he was working on that is dedicated to his mother. He has a photo of his mother sitting inside the corral as one of the sheep came walking up to her and take something from her hand. The weaving was a pictorial weaving of the image. Kady said he learned the technique from French weavers that were teaching a workshop in Santa Fe. The piece is in memory of his loving mother.

Roy Kady can be reached at roykady@outlook.com.

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Aztec Ruins Monument

The next day started with a stop at Aztec ruins for a private tour. The ranger giving the tour went over the history of the site and she talked about  the other ruins around the area and the connections between them.

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Ambrose Teasyatwho

There was a little time before the group had to leave for Santa Fe so we stopped over at Ambrose Teasyatwho. He has a studio/gallery in downtown Aztec. Teasyatwho is a wood carver and has had that studio for as long as I can remember. He had just gotten back from Albuquerque after having surgery so he was still in recovery but back at it again in his studio. He talked about his work and showed us some finished pieces. I had visited him a few years ago for a video interview and he has just started working with some new pieces that were wall hangers. They were Hopi Kachina designs that I fell in love with. I had never seen anything like them and they just felt so new and fresh. I was glad to see he’s still making them and he can’t seem to keep them in stock which is a great issue to have.

After the last stop the group packed up and left for a few days in Santa Fe heading home to California.

Ambrose Teasyatwho can be reached at 505.701.9259