How much do you know about encaustic wax? We are exceptionally lucky to work closely with a phenomenal artist, who teaches students how to paint with molten beeswax, damar resin and pigments. This process is incredibly satisfying and we're eager to learn more about the art form and this inspirational Maker. Introducing the fabulous Lyn Kirkland.
I started teaching my encaustic workshops in 2016. I didn’t have a studio at that time, just a large potting shed in my back garden, so my first students were taught from my dining room table. I quickly realised that if I wanted to continue to teach, I needed a space large enough, and somewhere where making a mess wouldn’t be a problem.
Q2. Tell us about your workshop space/ surroundings.
To have your own studio is a real boon, and I was very lucky to find a purpose-built space only a couple of miles from my home. Set back from the road in a quiet courtyard, St. George’s Studios were built in the 1980’s to allow local artists to work and develop their practice on the Isle of Portland in Dorset. There is always a waiting list, so I feel very blessed to have this space to create my own work and to host students.
Q3. Tell us about the variety of courses on offer?
I offer three courses. An Introduction to Contemporary Encaustic Wax, Photo-encaustic and an ‘Improvers’ day. Encaustic wax is a little-known medium across Europe, and most of my students arrive not really knowing what to expect. I always start right at the beginning with a little bit of history, an explanation of the difference between my courses and the more well-known method of working with pigmented wax blocks a small iron and card. I run through the tools, materials and safe working practices before we get started. I find that everyone is amazed what can be achieved with this fascinating ancient medium, and I regularly have students return for more!
Q4. Tell us about your team.
I am supported by my husband, who makes my wood painting panels to my design and sizes. But then it’s all down to me. There are very few encaustic wax tutors in the UK working with beeswax, damar tree resin and pigments, so I make it my mission to pass on my knowledge and passion and am rewarded when I have returning students, or get to hear that they have continued to paint with encaustic wax.
Q5. Describe a typical month as a maker/tutor.
I am lucky enough to be able to be in the studio four or five days a week to work on my own paintings, develop new ideas, and any commissions which I regularly get. I offer my workshops on a ‘mutually convenient’ basis, so am happy to work weekdays or weekends to maximise my availability for students. In a typical month I could have five or six workshops, project work, and as a Director of a local arts community group I always have plenty of admin with exhibition organisation to keep up with. I have recently been involved with New England Wax artists in the United States on a project called ‘Transatlantic Fusings 2021’ which was very rewarding. I hope to do more of this.
Q6. Do you also craft in your spare time, are there other crafts that you enjoy?
If I have spare time from my business and family commitments, I can usually be found in my studio, but during the first lockdown I took the opportunity to develop my digital drawing skills on my tablet, which I have integrated now into my encaustic painting. Trying out ideas digitally, editing images for photo-encaustic and just practising my figure and portrait skills.
Q7. What advice would you give to other people looking to teach their skill?
If you have passion for your art or craft, love meeting people and enjoy inspiring others to create then I would say that as a tutor you will get as much out of it as your students.
Q8. What is the funniest thing to ever happen on one of your courses?
There are always lots of laughs on my workshops, making my students feel relaxed and confident to try things out is my aim. But a recent funny moment occurred when a student, (pictured above), arrived the afternoon before her workshop and just popped along to my studio on the off chance that I was there (which I was). I was getting ready to join an arts festival street parade..putting finishing touches to my outfit…and I suggested that she might like to come along. She and I had a ball, and it set us up for a fun weekend of encaustic painting.
Excited to try encaustic wax for the first time? Or practice a skill you've loved trying before? Find a full range of Lyn's workshops here.>