Morpho’s 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition

On Friday, I will be attending Morpho Gallery’s National Call for Encaustic Entries Opening party. This annual exhibit of encaustic artists will be held  August 4 at from 6 to 9 pm at 5216 N Damen Avenue in Chicago.

The 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition includes 2D and 3D work made with the hot wax method of encaustic. Juried by Kathy Blankley Roman and Dan Addington, the exhibit includes works by several FUSEDChicago members and some encaustic artists I look forward to meeting that evening. The exhibit will be held August 4th through September 2nd 2017. Morpho Gallery’s hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 6 pm, and Saturdays from noon to 6 pm.

Artists included are: Brad Hook, Cat Crotchett, Laura Graveline, Anna Wagner-Ott, Brenda Erickson, Candace Law, Carol Myers, Carrie Baxter, Cindy Lesperance, Claudia Hollister, David Brown, Deborah Martin, Derek Brennan, Jeannette MacDougall, Jodie Sutton, Karen Ruth Karlsson, Katelyn Patton, Kathryn Isbister, Kathy Blankley Roman, Kay Vinson, Kaylee Dalton, Lamia Holden, Laura LaRue, Linda Mayer, Elizabeth Hubler-Torrey, Patricia Lagger, Penny Park, Rinat Goren, and Teresa Foster (the ones in bold are my FUSEDChicago friends).

For this show submission, I made a whimsical wall hanging. I was inspired by Brenda’s Now That’s A Jig! Shapes and put a bunch onto the Jig, initially thinking I would work with a 6 x 6 shadowbox.

Of course I went off-jig right away and started rearranging the wire as I went to make the shape more freeform.

Soon I had the basic shape to make a wall hanging.

I wanted to incorporate a vintage book page, which then determined the rest of the palette.

After some rearranging, I settled on purple and blue tones in addition to the text papers.

Then the fusing began.

With the fan going for ventilation, I had to weight the snippets down to keep them from fluttering off the table.

As always, the Xacto knife is my friend.

My friends recruited me for an evening meal, and it is always good to call it a day after a few hours in the studio anyway, because you need perspective and also don’t want to rush the design process.

While I liked the piece where it was, I still wanted to add the remaining papers as planned. I did swap out some swatches as the remaining papers were attached.

With big (to me) pieces like this, the wire isn’t always flush. It is a delicate balance of making sure the forms will be straight enough to hold the paper and also keeping in mind how the piece will hang in the end.

A Traveler’s Whimsy by Maike’s Marvels.

I am curious to see how the accepted pieces came together. Morpho Gallery always showcases a variety of techniques at this annual show. 

I didn’t get into the show, but this piece proudly hangs on my own wall until I am ready to part with it.

Wax & Wire with Crystal Neubauer

heart by Crystal Neubauer and wire form by Maike's Marvels

Wire heart by Crystal Neubauer,
wire shape by Maike’s Marvels

I took a fabulous class with Crystal Neubauer on Saturday. PerficalSense Studio hosted “Moving Beyond the Canvas with Wax and Wire.”  I had met Crystal at the “Meditations: Looking In, Reflecting Out” exhibit, and knew I’d enjoy learning more from her.

Workshop with Crystal Neubauer

First, we were introduced to the tools we would need, wire of various gauges and metals, pliers to cut and shape, a hammer, an anvil, paper or fabric, and encaustic medium.

workshop with Crystal Neubauer


Crystal, who enjoys bringing new life to old objects from her vintage finds in both collage work and this wire work, had brought several samples from which we could take cues.

 Class samples by Crystal Neubauer

Crystal noted Tia Kramer, Brenda Mallory, Lorrie Fredette and Lee Bontecou as her inspirations, along with finding shapes and patterns in concrete, glass work, and even the earrings I was wearing that day.

Inspirational idea books

First we sanded the rebar wire, shaped it, and hammered into a form to our liking.


Wire shapes by Crystal Neubauer

Copper flower frame by Maike’s Marvels

Then we picked out papers while the wax was melting.

Encaustic Medium

These papers were cut to smaller sizes and dipped in the wax.

waxed and unwaxed paper

We then adhered the paper to our forms with a quilting iron, and burnished the warm paper to fuse the wire and the wax.

You can layer any way you want, and then cut or tear the paper to fit your shape.

wire heart by Maike's Marvels

A few of us played with colored wax, pan pastels and PearlEx pearls to add color to our creations.

Adding sparkle to my wing


Some people created multidimensional shapes.

At the end of class, we were all quite pleased with the results.

Crystal Neubauer Wax & Wire Workshop at PerficalSense Studio

Creations by 5 of Crystal’s students

I am already looking forward to the next class in June, “Moving Beyond the Canvas with wax and 3D.”  The La Grange Art League will host Crystal’s Wax and Wire Works on April 29. These classes and exhibits by Crystal can be perused here.

Wax and Wire creations by Maike’s Marvels

I’m so excited about the possibilities these new techniques offer!


Radvent: Challenged Authenticity

“Challenge yourself,
it’s fine not to be a totally finished person.” 

~ Leigh Steinberg  

Happy Radvent to you! I’m following Princess Lasertron’s series and will try to blog my own version as I can (not necessarily daily). Her post from yesterday asks:

Radvent Day 1 by Princess Lasertron

Reposted with permission from Princess Lasertron

I declared this my year of authenticity. After being miserable not being able to pursue my dreams with a draining job, I stripped away all expectations of what I was supposed to do with my life at my age, and ventured on this sabbatical year with some expectations of what would happen, but trying not to plan too far ahead.

It’s been a very interesting journey that challenged me to break away from 9-5 job thinking, forced me to change some aspects of my business plan, and still has me learning to be patient and allow things to unfold. I am not where I projected myself to be, but it is OK.

Being authentic forces me to evaluate what is truly meaningful in my life. Without work deadlines and peer-group expectations distracting me I can be more true to my aspirations. The challenge is to stick to that and not fall into old patterns. People have recently been trying to lure me back to my ‘old life’ on a professional and personal level. Going back to the familiar would have been ‘safe,’ you know what to expect. I almost fell back into “bird in the hand” thinking.

Yet the whole point is to embrace the unknown in order to grow.

“I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece.
I challenge you to join the ranks of those people
who live what they teach, who walk their talk.”
~ Tony Robbins 

True authenticity is harder than it seems. But I also feel so much better knowing that I am finally pursuing what fulfills me instead of being ‘practical’ and conforming to the logical path my degree, my professional skillset and ‘communal standards’ would dictate.

I guess the theme I tell myself is to not look back, to break away from the familiar, and to have faith that I am on the right track. There are plenty of affirmations telling me so, but I tend to give the negative more weight than the positive.

It goes back to the scarcity thinking vs. abundance thinking. Even though I know that what is in my heart is what I deserve, there is always an inner voice saying ‘maybe you don’t and you should just settle for what you know/is logical.’

“We need to find the courage to say NO
to the things and people that are not serving us
if we want to rediscover ourselves and
live our lives with authenticity.”

~Barbara de Angelis 

On a lighter note, I had a project challenge too this week. I had copies of pages of a library book for a fun wire ball project that I attempted to replicate this week. But in spite of the wire class I took at The Creative Connection Event, it did not go as easily as it looked. I could not replicate the pretty ball in the photo. After a frustrating evening, I pressed on the next morning, spraypainted, and declared my non-ball “modern art”. 🙂

Christmas wire ball project by Maike's Marvels

Believe me, it looks nothing like the picture in the book!

Christmas wire ball by Maike's Marvels

“The truth is that our finest moments  are most likely to occur
when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.
For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort,
that we are likely to step out of our ruts
and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
~ M. Scott Peck

This project certainly gives me more appreciation of the scribble heart my friend Jennifer Swift gifted me with, which got a bit of bling this year. It represents “Love Came Down at Christmas” during this season.

scribble heart by Bird from a Wire

“Being authentic is the ability to be true to oneself.
Living an authentic life requires the ability to be true to our own wants,
needs and desires and not live our lives by the opinion of others.
Being authentic is the ability to make self-honoring choices and
stand firmly in who we are in our core.
Being true to ourselves gives us the insight and
compassion to see others for who they are, not who we expect them to be.
It frees us up from the judgment of ourselves and others
and it gives others the freedom to be themselves as well.

~ Victoria J. Reynolds