In 1986 Shona bought a painting at a big craft show in Alexandra Palace where we had a woodturning stand. It was an oil pastel and wax background, then finished off with a small iron by a French Canadian man. The mystery caught my imagination and I couldn’t resist trying it at home. These are my first 3 creations. Ten weeks later I sold a load at St.Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, and it all grew from that.
2. Your shows were a hit with our customers in November; everyone loves your designs and techniques, where do you get your ideas from?
It’s a joint effort really. We both have a willingness to explore and try stuff out. A sort of “Keep your eyes open” where we play with the wax colours and iron and watch the results appear! Ideas just pop up! Not only with wax and Encaustic Art though – with everything in life. Have you ever wondered where ideas actually come from?
3. When you’re not creating master pieces, what else do you like to do for fun?
We both enjoy nature, so walking in the hills or on the beautiful coastline are vital activities. I often have a camera at hand – loving taking shots for reference, for capturing beauty, for practising composition. Gardening is another thing we both find very rewarding and gets us out into the open air. Good food, cooking and eating it are high on the list – we both cook pretty well and that has had to evolve and expand since we became vegetarian in 2008.
4. What was your first “when I grow up I want to be…?”
Michael – I grew up on a farm – my dad was a herdsman, so I thought farming might be my future.
Shona – I loved gymnastics at school, so thought I might be a gymnast one day.
5. Christmas is fast approaching, how do you like to spend your Christmas Day?
Christmas Day is brought to life by children, so when there are kids or close family around it is a very happy fun filled and peaceful day. Good food, some fresh air and a log fire make it work for us.
6. How did you feel before appearing on Hochanda for the first time?
We were both pleased and excited. Being invited to work with Hochanda gave us a fresh opportunity to share our enthusiasm for Encaustic Art. Television has played an important role in expanding Encaustic Art into a worldwide activity enjoyed by tens of thousands globally. Michael began TV way back in the day on programs like “Art Attack” and “How 2”. Do you remember them?
7. I’m sure everyone (including us) is dying to know, what 5 piece of kit can you not live without?
Michael – I’m going to keep this question for myself….
A camera – I LOVE using pictures to tell a story.
An A4 spiral-wire-bound plain paper drawing pad & black rollerball pen – I like to write, to sketch rough ideas, to make notes – not for great drawings at all – more for reflective understanding and to help my memory hold it all together.
Large cutting mat with strong sharp knife, a metal rule & masking tape – presentation is key to all artwork. So a clean cut edge makes all the difference. This item is an essential for me. … and I can’t live without masking tape!!!!!!!!!
The encaustic art painting iron – quite simply it is an extension to my hand – a heated and oversized palette knife that can enable so very much creativity to magically manifest.
The encaustic art low-heat Stylus – without this I could not express in detail using wax. The stylus allows the graphical side of wax creativity to be defined carefully and facilitates painting, drawing, writing, blending and much more too.
8. What is it you think make Hochanda different?
Hochanda has the intention of connecting the demonstrators to the viewers as closely as possible. The channel is young and new, and meeting that intention pretty well I think. But as it develops and evolves I can imagine many of the favourite demonstrators finding themselves involved in a fresh expression of shopping TV. One where sales do not intrude on the connection between demonstration and viewer understanding. But of course sales are the income stream and must happen too – otherwise it cannot function.
There is a new format of presentation just waiting to pop-up, like ideas that just come to life. It could be a very exciting and leading light arts & crafts TV channel as this unfolds. Not every demonstration needs to sell something. Every demonstration needs to be valuable to the viewer. And viewers need to encourage specific ideas and contribute to the way the channel works, remembering that the sales are a vital factor, the very one that pays for us all to enjoy this fantastic TV/web interface. Viewers need to co-create Hochanda’s success. The demonstrators and product manufacturers need to inspire and mature the audience with steps and products that liberate the creative soul within us all.
9. What does your studio look like? Give us a tour!
Hmmm… glamour is not the name of my current workspace. It is a building about 3.5 metres x 10 metres. It is very condensed to work inside but this is great for making YouTube video and producing artwork to encourage, inspire, teach and help others. It is peaceful and well soundproofed, so I can turn up the music and get lost in the creative processes of encaustic art – and there are so many ways to work with heat and wax.
10. What can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
Encaustic art is under redesign. We are working toward an expanded range of products with fresh ideas and techniques, all just waiting to be explored. We hope this will become ‘live’ by next autumn, so that will be an exciting time for us. The pathway is from “I can’t” toward “I can”. It is a step by step process of learning skills & repeatability, of realising that we cannot hide ourselves – a signature is also an artistic expression – individual and uniquely personal.. We are always keen to encourage the viewers to “cross the line” and leap out into the unknown.
Tune in to Hochanda every day 24/7 for lots of fun and crafty demonstrations! Watch our programmes live > Hochanda.com
You can also tune into Hochanda on Freeview channel 39, Sky channel 663 or Freesat 817.