Encaustic Workshops in Ontario

Encaustic Teachers

I have been teaching encaustic since 2002, and leading creative workshops for over 20 years. I love teaching this medium because it lends itself to experimentation, which allows for a sense of freedom and play in the classroom. Recently, we have added some new teachers: Tania Wycherley, Daniel Beirne, Christina Lovisa and Jane Burgess! All are enthusiastic, experienced and talented encaustic artists—most having gone through a teacher training program with me.


Learn Encaustic at the Alton Mill, Caledon, Ontario

We offer on-going, 1 to several day workshops, and recently added a half-day introduction. No previous artistic experience is needed for any of our Encaustic 1 or Half-day Workshops. Experience is needed for our Encaustic 2, 3, 4 workshops, the Sinking In workshops and for Open Studios.

All of our workshops take place at our encaustic school: ‘the hive’ in the Alton Mill, near Orangeville, Ontario. The Alton Mill Creative Centre is a wonderful place to come and visit, with over 30 artists, galleries, and a fresh food bakery and cafe on site. Walking trails through the woods make this a fantastic getaway.

NOTE: Pre-registration is required for all workshops. Dates listed may change, so please check first, via email or phone.

Available Encaustic Workshops:

Encaustic 1: Introduction to the medium, brief history, safety concerns, the use of the heat gun, blow torch and iron as fusing tools, mixing colours, basic layering, creating smooth/textured surfaces, incorporating collage, photo transfer, gouging and filling gouges with medium and oil paint.

Encaustic 2: working with glazes of colour to increase transparencies, ironing techniques explored, working on boards covered with encaustic gesso, transfer papers (carbon, graphite, etc), masking off areas, gold/silver/copper leaf, stencils, water on wax, and making your own medium.

Encaustic 3: intense vs. subtle colour layering, india ink on transparent papers, tips for difficult collage items, transferring colour photocopies, scraping at layers, metallic powders, ironing things in/out of wax, iron as a gouging tool, and pastel usage.

Encaustic 4: exploring various surfaces: drywall compound on wood, plexi-glass, rusted metal, colour theory, advanced glazing methods, metallic transfer papers, using oil sticks, water-soluble wax crayons and carving out straight lines.

Technique Toolbox: a two day intensive with Andrea that covers all of the techniques offered in Encaustic 2, 3 and 4. Filling up that toolbox of ideas! (See all the techniques above) is two day intensive combines all the dozens of techniques from Enc. 2, 3 and 4 into a weekend! Newly offered as a way of filling your ‘toolbox’ with so many options.

Sinking In: this three or four day intensive focuses on the creative process, with time for group discussions, 1:1 time with Andrea, written exercises, brainstorming, trying out new techniques (the encaustic stylus using various heads, pan pastels, using duochrome colours and more), and lots of time to ‘sink in’ to your practice! Note: only for students that have taken at least Encaustic 1 and 2 (or equivalent). Students bring their own substrates.

Which Encaustic workshop is right for me?

Encaustic 2, 3. 4 workshops are intended for those who have a) taken encaustic workshops/classes with me/someone else in the past and/or b) those who have been experimenting with encaustic on their own. It is important that the student have experience with all three fusing tools: the iron, heat gun and blowtorch. The focus of each builds on the one before, with new techniques being added, increasing in complexity. It is fine to take Encaustic 2,3 and 4 out of sequence!

Half-day Introduction to Encaustic Workshops give students a chance to try it out over a three and a half hour period. Basic layering, introduction to the fusing tools (iron, heat gun and blowtorch) as well as photo transfer and basic collage will be demonstrated. Can be morning or afternoon.

Extended Give it a Whirl! provide an opportunity for students to attend a mini workshop… great for all ages, 7+ please. We will be working on matt board/plywood, by the end of the workshop creating some beautiful greeting cards +/or small paintings to take home. Minimum age for child: 7 years.

Our workshops are usually self-directed, which means that we don’t teach people to paint in a particular way, but rather support each student to explore their own creativity. There is sharing within the class, as students inspire each other to try new things. Encaustic is a uniquely spontaneous medium, and working with wax helps one to let go of “attachment to outcome”. Students are encouraged to take risks, let go of preconceived ideas/attachment to outcome, and most of all, to have fun exploring this versatile medium.

For workshops/classes, all supplies provided – exception: Open Studio and Sinking In (bring your own boards to work on)

If classes are full, we can add your name to the waiting list… Call: 519-323-3437


A few words from students…

“I was able to break through my fears, reaching out and trying new things. The energy was the best – I am more willing to surrender and trust. I’ve been looking for that for five years. It was the best workshop ever!” Heather, after a 4 day Intensive: Sinking In Even Further

“Dan was so helpful – he had a great sense of when to leave space and when to step in. I would absolutely recommend this to my friends!” Darlene, from the hive

“Andrea’s teaching style really encourages experimenting and risk-taking. It opens up a creative channel because you are not afraid to make mistakes. Such a great, creative exploration – thanks so much!” Penny, from ‘the hive’

“…thank you for a wonderful learning weekend. I had a great time and you are a terrific teacher. I will be busy in my studio this week applying what I learned – can’t wait to get started.” Elsie Campbell, after Encaustic 1 & 2 at ‘the hive’ in Alton

“Andrea is an excellent teacher. She demonstrates each step and method slowly, in a logical fashion, and yet she’s having fun with it. It’s clear that she loves what she’s doing. As you watch her, you just can’t wait to try it yourself.” Leslie Newumann, Annual Encaustic Conference, Beverly, Mass. USA

“The most organized and giving instructor that I have ever had at the Art School.” Sandra, Southampton Art School

“…very relaxed and fun class, Andrea’s organization was great and very thought out…” Wendy, St. Thomas Artists’ Guild

“Students felt free to ask any questions, Andrea’s style was precise and very comfortable… this was the most interesting workshop I’ve taken in a long time.” Beth, St. Thomas Artists’ Guild

Prices* for Workshops @ ‘the hive’!encaustic-studio


Give it a whirl! The space will be set up and those interested can give it a try – A demonstration will be given and then you’ll have a chance to try it for about 40 minutes. Takes an hour in total. Times listed with dates. Cost is $20 per person or 2 for $35.

Open Studio: only for those who have taken an Encaustic 1 or Half-day Introduction workshop with us. Sign up for 3 – 6 hours of studio time. No teaching/facilitation. Bring your own substrates. The hive will provide everything else. Cost is $18/hr. for minimum of 3 hours. Times: 1 – 4pm unless otherwise arranged. Connect + Create is an intentional, invitational, seasonal open studio for advanced students only. Call for more information.

Workshops: these run all day from 10am til 4pm with a lunch break of 45 min. Cost for one day workshop is $200 (+ hst) or $370 for two workshops/people.

Half-Day Introduction to Encaustic: Now available for those who would like to try it out, but cannot make it to a full day workshop… 1pm – 4:30pm. Cost:$130 each or two for $240 ($120 each).

Connect + Create: An intentional open studio for advanced students that are interested in delving into the creative process on a monthly basis – with each month exploring a new theme. Most of 2017 is already full, call for availability.  10am – 4pm. Cost:$330 for one season (3 open studios, either the first Saturday or third Sunday of every month).

Encaustic Class Schedule:

Sat., Oct. 15 – Encaustic 1 – (10pam – 4pm)
Oct. 2/8/29- Give it a Whirl! (1 – 2 & 3 – 4pm)
Oct. 16/22/23 – Open Studio (1 4pm)

Sat., Nov. 12 – Encaustic 2 Workshop (10am – 4pm)
Sat., Nov. 19 – Half-day Intro  (1 – 4:30pm)
Sat., Nov. 26 – Give it a Whirl! (1 – 2 & 3 – 4pm)
Nov. 6/13/27 – Open Studio (1 – 4pm)

Sat., Dec. 10 – Encaustic 1 Workshop (10am – 4pm)
NEW! Sun., Dec. 11 – Half-day Intro  (1 – 4:30pm)
Sat., Dec. 17 – Give it a Festive Whirl! (1 – 2 & 3 – 4pm)
Dec. 4/24/31 – Open Studio (1 – 4pm)

Sun., Jan. 8 – Half-day Intro (1pm – 4:30pm)
Sat./Sun., Jan. 21/22 – Give it a Whirl! (1 – 2 or 3 – 4pm)
Sat./Sun. Jan. 28/29 – Technique Toolbox (10am – 4pm)
Jan. 14 – Open Studio (1 – 4pm)

To Register: Call Andrea or Dan at 519-323-3437 or email: waxworksencaustics@bell.net or go to the Waxworks website and now register on line!
To hold your spot you need to pay the workshop fee in full. Other options can be offered, depending on circumstances.
Visa/MC/Amex available, or mail a cheque payable to: Andrea Bird, 8818 C11, RR1, Moorefield ON NOG 2KO
All prices include supplies, please add HST.

Cancellation Policy:
If you cancel 7 days or more before the workshop, you will be refunded (minus $25 admin. fee) – 6 days or less there is no refund. Rainchecks are sometimes offered depending on the circumstances.

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