Red Thread

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. – Chinese proverb

This past weekend I packed up my car and drove straight west to Knoxville, MD, a town right on the border of Maryland and West Virginia. As I drove west, the hills became more rolling and the colors of the leaves were changing. I was heading there to teach an encaustic and mixed media workshop at Lesley Riley’s Red Thread Retreat. I had made these plans to teach in Maryland so many months ago, even before I knew that I was going to move to Maryland. I just had to shake my head at the strangeness of it all. And yet, not so strange. Life has been finally feeling like it’s all falling into place.

After I teach at one of these retreats, I feel like I have been filled. The people that I meet, the stories we share, the time we spend creating and learning is just such a gift. I feel very fortunate to get to experience this communion of creative spirits. I learn so much when I teach and I love that.

Here are some of the art that was created this past weekend. To see more please visit my flickr set called Workshops. On the first day we covered the basics of painting with encaustic, including studio safety. I also introduced using one’s own photos as transfers or as embedded images

Hands at work #redthreadretreat #workshop #encaustic


Student work- Judy. #workshop #redthreadretreat #encaustic



Student work. Wen's painting. #redthreadretreat #mixedmedia #encaustic



On the second day we stepped beyond the panel and created plaster books that were either bound as accordion books or sewn so that the book could hang down. The day before a few of us had gone down to the path along the Potomac River and collected leaves, sticks, vine, even an empty wasp nest to incorporate into our books. We strolled, explored, laughed and gathered.

Kathleen binding sticks into her book. #bookart #mixedmedia #workshop #redthreadretreat
Kathleen binding sticks between the pages of her book





One of the exciting things I love about teaching is when someone takes something you’ve showed them and then takes it a step further. Sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes it’s not! But the end result is always amazing to me. Below is a book that Wen made as she attempted to problem solve. I love it.


This is the group of Red Threaders at the end of our two days and three nights together. An incredible group of women that I hope to cross paths with again.

Red Threaders. Made some great new friends and reconnected  with old friends this weekend while we all made art. A truly wonderful time in Knoxville, MD.  #redthreadretreat #workshop

Art is not a thing; it is a way. ~Elbert Hubbard


  1. Loving the variety in all these pieces. You are certainly a wonderful instructor and guide to have brought out the individual artist in each of your students!

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