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Carrie Greer

The wax dares one to continue


Editor’s note: “She Waxes” co-artist Janet Zibert was featured in the Sept. 6 Bulletin.

In her own world of a workspace, artist Carrie Greer continues her long love affair with the format of wax which began in the 1970s with candles.

She has been contributing to gallery shows across Las Cruces for many years, one at Rokoko Gallery about eight years ago. So, when the gallery offered to feature her and fellow encaustic artist Janet Zibert in an exhibit, “She Waxes,” she was pleased to do it. Samples of her wax work will be featured through Oct. 26 beginning with a reception Sept. 14 at Rokoko, 1785 Avenida de Mercado.

Greer’s workspace is large, full of light and full of stuff, bins full of jeans, shelves full of paper rolls, and a big center table covered with two hot plates (turned on and very hot), wax in various forms, pigments, hand torches of various sizes and art work in progress. There is a television playing YouTube videos about encaustic projects and two rambunctious standard poodles bounding about the whole house.

“I’m usually in here listening to videos about encaustic,” she said. “It’s really busy. I have to have a lot of stimulation around.”

In an artist’s statement Greer wrote, “The wax calls to me as I enter into a journey with it, it invites me to places unknown. We set out on a loosely charted course. The destination becomes visible as the flame has its way with the wax. Along the way it demands I choose a direction to use more heat, add color or to embellish with a shellac burn. These not-so-subtle additions morph into a final destination but there is no finality with wax – melt and begin again. An exhilarating journey with no absolute end. It dares one to continue.”

Greer’s latest wax adventure is encaustic bowls: “paper mâché, plaster, mix them together and bake and coat with wax. It’s hard to know when to stop.”

Her interest in the encaustic form – the building up of images with colored wax combined with a resin that hardens it and keeps it from melting – began in 2016 at a Las Cruces Art Association workshop with Georjeanna Feltha. But it was in 1976 as an Army wife at Fort Huachuca in Arizona when somebody down the block offered a batik class

“I loved it, so I started batiking,” she said. “Wax is very versatile, buttery, surprising. You can’t always know what it’s going to do. Especially with a batik, but probably especially more with encaustic.”

Her Batik creations include Flo, a stuffed snake crafted of carefully batiked denim.

“That’s the interesting thing about batik,” Greer said. “When people see those, they think ‘oh well she just stuffed something.’ But there is a lot of work there. I take old jeans and wax and dye them. It’s repurposed denim that’s batiked, then you have to remove the wax and the dye. When a batik is done, it’s all wax so you have to iron it all out with newspapers and then take it to the cleaners to get the rest out. I am really passionate about encaustic right now, but I love doing the batik.”

She sometimes incorporates her repurposed denim batik style into large rag quilts.

“I have been saving my kids’ jeans,” she said. “I made them king-sized quilts with all their old jeans, and they love it. I haven’t got all of them done yet for all my kids. I still have one child to do then I’ll start on my grandkids.”

Elva K. Österreich may be reached at elva@lascrucesbulletin.com.



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