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York County artist embraces encaustics

Bill Kalina
York Dispatch

When artist Judy Orcutt came across a new art form a couple of years ago, she found a medium in which she could meld much of her professional artistic talent.

She discovered the ancient art of encaustics — an art form that employs the use of melted beeswax and various means of color integration. The medium, according to Orcutt, was used to preserve artwork in Egyptian tombs that still survives today.

Quilligraphy owner Judy Orcutt poses in her work area at her Spring Garden Township Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The artist has been creating encaustic artwork incorporating her photography. Bill Kalina photo

She took an “intensive” six-week course to learn the process.

“I thought in the middle of it, ‘I’m never going to get this,'” she said. “I kept doing it over and over until I got the right technique.”

Drawing on her library of photos, she began to perfect the art of photo encaustics in her Spring Garden Township home studio. Among her favorites were the encaustics she made from a 1924 photograph of her mother. She made five unique encaustic renditions of the photo, keeping one and sharing the others with family.

In addition, she uses her calligraphy skills in some of the pieces.

 In 1997, Orcutt launched Quilligraphy, which she still operates, offering handmade pressed flower and calligraphy-framed prints, greeting cards and photography.

“I just love having a new medium,” she said. “I think this is the one I’m going to stick with because there’s a myriad of possibilities with this.”