encausticamp: featuring Michelle Belto

 |  March 31, 2011

Well, I didn’t do a Wednesday snapshot this week as it would have been a pretty boring photo. The project that is currently on my table is one that I’m dreading and that is sanding down some large boards in preparation for a large commissioned project. I’m not dreading the project…just the sanding.

Have you ever been to Missouri Bend Studio blog? I love Patti’s delicate work and I always enjoy reading her posts. She invited me to be part of her special series “Made by Hand” and I am honored once again to be a guest on her blog.


In preparation for Encausticamp that will be taking place this July in Salem, OR, I will be sharing a blog post from each of the instructors in the coming weeks. Today’s preview is from Michelle Belto. If I weren’t teaching at Encausticamp myself I would just love, love, love to take her workshop. Paper making + Wax …. the possibilities makes my heart go pitter-patter!

All Roads Lead to Forever by Michelle Belto
Encaustic, Tar, Torch on Handmade Paper

“When I got married, I didn’t know the first thing about cooking. Unfortunately, my new husband liked to eat…and eat often! Thinking that it would be something easy, he informed me that his favorite side dish was mashed potatoes and that “it would go with everything.” What he didn’t realize was that even the lowly mashed potato was beyond the level of my expertise. I remember calling up my mom with a raw potato in my hand and asking the question: How do you get from here to there?

I often get asked that question about my work. How did you get there? For those who will be attending the first ever Encausticamp in [outside of] Portland this summer, you will get there yourself! Beating cotton and rag into a giant slushy pulp and then reforming it into something wonderful is addicting. What’s more making your own supports will open the door to endless new ways to explore mixed media work, sculpture, and, of course, encaustic painting.

Here is a visual overview of the process that you will learn when you come to camp:




Participants will first learn how to make pulp from ordinary recycled materials. We will use the pulp in a pour-mold (1) which will allow us to add cool things like glitter and cut up newspaper or embed threads or botanicals. Our form, created from foam core and other materials, will be embedded in the pulp. This will make the support stable enough to take the wax. (2)The next step is to remove the water by pressing. One of my students is hand-pressing the pulp. See she is smiling! It is fun! (3) The final step is to allow the form to dry…and voila! You have just created your one-of-a-kind support.”

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