Making a Living from Art (part 1) by Emma Ashby

I had no regrets in laying down a successful career in fashion and textile design in order to raise four children. However, twenty years later, I found myself in a bit of a quandary. I needed an income, but was out of touch with the world I had left behind. Was there a way for me to put my previous training and creativity to work?

My love for the arts was fostered in me at a young age by my mother, who would regularly take me to London to see inspiring art exhibitions at the Royal Academy and the gorgeous window displays on Regent Street.

It led to a BA degree in Fashion Design and then a Masters degree in Textile Design at the Royal College of Art. My career was launched creating freelance designs for fashion brands such as Missoni and Aquascutum. I was then invited to become a full time knitwear designer for Jaeger in London. It was work that I loved. Overseeing the creative process from concept to final production was of great interest to me, even though the work environment at times was not too dissimilar to 'The Devil Wears Prada’!

Part of my portfolio from my Jaeger days.

Part of my portfolio from my Jaeger days.

Twenty years and four grown children later, I found myself in a different country and a different season of life looking for ways to put my creativity to work. The opportunity came while volunteering my time for a local non profit organization that worked with the homeless in New Hampshire. It was suggested that I might create a series of mixed media artworks to be displayed in Starbucks to help raise awareness. I agreed and called the series "Heartwork"

A detail from my 'Heartwork' series

A detail from my 'Heartwork' series

In this series I enjoyed experimenting with print and fabric, as I had done at college years ago. I wanted to create more three-dimensionality to my art, so I tried dripping hot wax onto the surface. This was how I inadvertently discovered "encaustic". A friend, seeing my use of wax, gave me a book about this ancient medium. I had never heard of encaustic before, but quickly fell in love with this amazing art form. I made a trip to R & F Paints in Kingston, NY, the mecca for all things encaustic at that time and over the last eight years have taken classes from some of the best. 

But was this something that I could make an income from? 

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Oceans Twelve by Emma Ashby

The sea is a popular subject for artists working in encaustic. The fluidity and translucency of the medium lends itself well to the subject matter. It was 2011 when I first created a series of twelve 'Oceans' encaustic artworks for the Enormous Tiny Art Show at Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth. People seemed to like them. People love the ocean. I love living by the ocean - the rhythm of the waves and tide has a calming influence on the soul. At the same time the power and the ferocity of an ocean storm can take your breath away. I shall be attempting to convey both aspects in a new series I have been asked to do by Nahcotta for a three person group show this July. I'll let you now how I get on! Here are some initial works in progress with a short video teaser. I will probably make a proper video of the series before the show.

"What Goes Around..." by Emma Ashby

I am excited to be taking part in this inaugural show at Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth NH. 34 artists have all been asked to produce a new work on 12 inch round panels. I thought this was an excellent and creative idea from gallery owner, Deb Thompson. Working on a round panel does force you think a little differently and I certainly enjoyed the challenge. What would you do on a round panel? Can't wait to see what everyone else has done, I think the combined result will look amazing! I called mine "The Ocean Path"

Do please drop in if you are in the area, I will be at the opening reception at about 5pm on Friday April 1st. No joke!


Welcome to my new website! by Emma Ashby

I wanted a fresh look for my website, one that could easily be managed by myself. This is the result! It was cooked up by a good friend - Seth Hoffman from Catchfire Creative in Portsmouth NH/Brooklyn NY, on a Square Space platform, and I am thrilled! If you want help with your website and social media, I highly recommend Seth and the team at Catchfire!

One of the things I wanted to be able to do is write a blog to be able to give regular updates on my workshops and exhibitions as well as share my ongoing journey of discovery with this amazing wax medium! I hope you like my website as much as I do. Please do subscribe and I would love to have your feedback and to learn from your experience too!

Boston's AD 20/21 Show by Emma Ashby

I am excited to be participating in this year's AD 20/21 show with Bowersock Gallery during the Boston Design week. It will be April 7 - 10, THE CYCLORAMA at the Boston Center for the Arts. One of my artworks to be exhibited is called 'Sunset Poppies'.

Sunset Poppies 2016

Sunset Poppies 2016

AD20/21 was the star in the constellation of Boston Design Week
— Maine Antique Digest