As mentioned before, I will be spotlighting the different instructors who will be teaching at Encausticamp this July in Salem, Oregon. Today's spotlight is on a fellow Illinois artist, Crystal Neubauer. I have been fortunate to have visited Crystal at the One Of A Kind Art Show here in Chicago last December and her work is just as beautiful in person, actually even more so. Computer screens just cannot capture the nuance of wax, but it also leaves out the impact of the strong, quiet essence that is in Crystal's work.
Anyway, I have always been a huge fan of her work and am excited to be teaching with her this summer. Without further ado, here is Crystal's post:
‘When you share your strengths you create competition. When you share your weaknesses you create community.” ~Rick Warren
Recently I have been sharing a dialogue about a dream of developing a series of workshops and retreats where women can go deeper in their creative lives, a place where they will be supported, encouraged, and strengthened in their identity and worth as a woman and come away with the tools they need to begin to trust the voice they hear inside to guide them. A place that feels more like a community of friends who have gathered for a weekend of fun and fellowship then just a series of art-project oriented workshops.
The process of using art as a tool in healing from the past and uncovering my true identity has been such an integral part of changing my life that I’ve begun to share it with other women in some of my art workshops, uncertain of how they would respond or receive it knowing they were expecting to simply learn how to create a specific project. But each time I’ve included something as simple as a breathing technique I learned in my own journey, I find at least one woman who writes to say it was the most important thing she learned that day.
As the dialogue with my artist-women-friends begins to solidify into a clearer vision of a deeper more meaningful art retreat experience and dates and locations begin to be penciled in on our calendars, I’ve wrestled with letting go of my desire to teach at some of the larger more well-established venues, but then an email shows up in my inbox telling me of how the breathing technique I shared became a lifeline during a family crisis and I know in my heart this is the direction I was intended to go.
This July I will have my first formal opportunity during a two-hour breakout session at EncaustiCamp to share what I have learned along the way. I will bring a kit for each student who wishes to participate, that will include collage materials to be used as we walk through exercises designed to release that “inner-self” and allow one to experience what it means to “hear” or “listen to” their own voice and allow it to tell their story. The tools I hope to pass on in this exercise will go beyond paper and glue. This uncovering, discovering and releasing-of-self, is a journey so many women find themselves in the midst of and often without the resources or knowledge of what to do with all of these unexpected feelings and emotions. I will come, not as an expert or teacher, but a fellow sojourner sharing what I have learned along the way.
Of course, encaustic art will be the main focus of EncaustiCamp, but I am excited that the intention is to create an atmosphere that will be safe, cozy, intimate and restorative. This is where art becomes more then just a pretty picture; this is where it becomes a seed through which inner-healing can flow.
To find out more about this retreat, please visit the Encausticamp website.