The 16th International Encaustic Conference

The 16th International Encaustic Conference

The International Encaustic Conference (IEC) brings together artists who work with encaustic and cold wax to beautiful Provincetown, MA. This year’s sixteenth conference was organized by artist Cherie Mittenthal, Executive Artistic Director of Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. This conference offers demonstrations, talks, panel discussions, networking, a keynote speaker, and vendors who sell encaustic products and tools.

Joanne Mattera, artist and author who helped popularize the encaustic medium, founded the conference.

The conference takes place at the Provincetown Inn with stunning views of the water. Many attendees stay at this lovely inn.

The 16th International Encaustic Conference people gather for opening night at the Castle Hill Gallery.
Opening of Sweet Sixteen at the Castle Hill Gallery

Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill hosted a reception the night before the conference. Pizzas were cooked in an outdoor brick oven while artists from all over the globe chatted together. The opening for the annual juried show of encaustic and cold wax work took place that night at Castle Hill’s gallery.  “Sweet Sixteen” was the theme of this year’s show, juried by gallerist and artist Adam Peck. 

Some of my favorite conference sessions this year: A demo on intentional and emotional content by Kelly Williams; a demo on paper lithography with wax by Leslie Giuliani; and a talk about artist books by Dorothy Cochran

Kelly Williams at the International Encaustic Conference giving her talk
Kelly Williams giving her talk and demo on intentional and emotional content

The keynote speaker was Hrag Vartanian, editor and co-founder of Hyperallergic. Vartanian is an art critic, curator, artist, and lecturer on contemporary art with expertise on the intersection of art and politics. He spoke about his unusual upbringing, and how Hyperallergic has helped effect change in the art world and our culture. He spoke at length about the importance of community.

Artists can sign up for pre and post conference workshops at Castle Hill for a variety of intensive hands-on workshops: Richard Frumess, of R&F Paints, the developer and manufacturer of encaustic and cold wax supplies, gave a day long course on solving color problems. Encaustic Meets Fresco was offered by Bettina Egli Sennhauser of Switzerland. There were workshops on Pro-Create, paper lithography, alternative surfaces, residencies, and many more.

The 16th annual encaustic conference had art by Dietlind Vander Shaaf
Dietlind Vander Shaaf’s display at the hotel fair lobby
The 16th annual encaustic conference had art by Cheri Mittenthal
Cherie Mittenthal’s paintings and sculpture in the hotel fair lobby
The 16th annual encaustic conference view postcard art show views by attendees of the conference
A few displays of the postcard show and sale

Artists contribute handmade postcards for a sale to benefit the IEC’s scholarship fund. This takes place during the hotel fair on the last day, where artists can sell their work in the large lobby.

Last, but not least, and a big highlight is the Vendor Room! Manufacturers and vendors who supply artists set up shop at the hotel, offering great discounts. R&F Paints, Enkaustikos, and Paper Connection filled the vendor room this year.

Thank you to Nancy Whitcomb, New England Wax member, for contributing this article.