Best laid plans and all that….

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This week, I was supposed to be in the States…  

You might remember I won the Binnie Birstein Scholarship, to attend The International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown?

I’d been drooling from afar about attending this conference for years…  all those encaustic wax suppliers, choices of workshops, and people who know what painting with wax IS….!   

All together under one roof…?!!   Amazing… and totally unheard of in the UK…!! 

Travel, accommodation, and the cost of the conference, makes it an expensive trip however… so I was so full of gratitude when I saw the scholarship opportunity…  and jumped at it.

Here’s a blog I wrote, and a video the day after I heard the news, which shows just what it meant to me.


Well, 2020… 

We all know what happened next…  Best laid plans and all that…………..


The extra time has allowed me to dig a little deeper into who Binnie Birstein was however.  I’ve enjoyed connecting with some of her friends, through the Conference’s virtual online exhibition, and been finding out more about the name behind the scholarship.

Binnie with silkscreen and encaustic work, early 2017 Photo: Jen Greely

A remarkable artist by all accounts.  She studied art, taught painting, and created memorable paintings for nearly 50 years.  She attended 11 encaustic conferences, ran workshops, and gave many talks. 

Here is an interview with Binnie from “ProWax Journal” in Spring 2018.   Binnie sadly passed away in May of that year. 

I have enjoyed learning more about her life.  I also smiled at the parallels of events and timelines; 2011 was the year I discovered encaustic… I recall with a shudder the only job suggestions available being a nurse, teacher or secretary…!   As for “Hotel Binnie” and her friends travelling antics to New York “arting” well… that sounds just up my street!     I would like to think we would have got on just fine.

Anyhow… Rather than travelling to The States, and coming home with a million more new ideas, this enforced time has led me to go within, and enabled me to look at my own work more deeply, which is evolving into a new direction of work for me…. on a much larger scale…  maybe Binnie would have approved of that.

Lets hope The Encaustic Conference will be back on the cards for 2021, and the scholarship will continue to honour her name.   

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