This month, Kellie Weeks had the opportunity to interview fellow New England Wax artist Catherine Weber about her work.
Kellie Weeks: When/how did you start making art?
Catherine Weber: From a very early age I took art classes whenever I could, often with my mother. I wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember but was discouraged by my mother from making it my career. An artist herself, she told me I needed a career to make money. By the time I went to college, I had decided on a career in business, but was always creating things. I made all of my clothes, and made bridal gowns during my summer breaks in college. My jobs always seemed to have an artistic component and I found myself organizing exhibitions as part of my marketing job at the Newton Free Library and then as PR director at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. At one point I realized that I needed to change the scenario and be the artist. It was in 2006 that I started taking workshops and finding my way.
Kellie: Who were your early influences?
Catherine: Definitely my mother. My mother was an art teacher and taught me how to sew at an early age. She was always there to encourage me and sign me up for classes. Another big influence has been Renee Rubin, a Newton watercolorist. We met at the Newton Free Library in 1993 when I was helping her hang her exhibition. We became friends and Renee supported and nurtured the artist in me- both with writing and painting. It was at the Davis Museum that I was exposed to art of many periods, and learned, for the first time, about contemporary art. I was enthralled to learn about Pollack, Calder, Rauschenberg, Frankenthaler, Olitski, Schwitters and so many others.
Kellie: When/how did you start working with wax?
Catherine: In 2007, I came across Joanne Mattera’s book, The Art of Encaustic Painting, on Amazon. I didn’t know anything about it, but I put it on my wish list and forgot about it. For Christmas, my husband bought me the book. On Christmas Day, I read the book cover to cover, and as soon as I could, I went and bought everything I needed to set up an encaustic studio and taught myself how to work with wax. Not long after that, I had a private workshop with Tracy Spadafora, a longtime teacher of encaustic. Finally, I joined New England Wax, which has been instrumental in my development.
Kellie: What inspires you?
Catherine: Everything! My morning walks in the woods are very important to me because they clear my mind and help me to think. Also, looking at work by other artists is very inspiring. I look at Pinterest often and collect images on a board to jumpstart myself if I feel stuck. I want to immerse myself with images. I also use YouTube as a learning tool, watching artists from all over the world demonstrate technique. If anything, I am over-inspired, if that is possible. I have explored so many things; I feel as though I am doing a
“self-directed MFA”. I have created work using photography and encaustic, collage and encaustic, and textiles and photography. My challenge is to choose a direction and stick with it to create a full body of work before moving on to the next thing.
Kellie: What are you working on now?
Catherine: I am making tiles out of encaustic paint and creating mosaics paintings. Some of them are all tiles, others are mixed media.
Kellie: One thing I know for sure, Catherine will never be done exploring!! See her latest mosaic creation here.
View more of Catherine’s Work on her website.