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Wax and hot air is transformed into unique art in the hands of Jenny Hill.

Her journey into art began after she had been running a business and raising children.

She decided “it was time for me” and in 2003 she began taking art classes at New Plymouth’s Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki.

In the beginning it took some time to establish what suited her most.

Taking part in an embroidery conference in Wellington with her mother was a key moment in finding her niche.

“We did a free machinery embroidery course, which was basically drawing with stitch.”

This resonated with her. is me’.”

Another change began when she and her husband Chris Hill bought Locharburn vineyard in late 2004 and moved to Central Otago in 2007.

That was a chance to immerse herself in the “amazing” artistic community in Central Otago, she said.

Nature was her inspiration but her work tended to be fairly abstract, she said.

Her first exhibition was at Carrick Winery near Bannockburn.

“That was really great. It just threw me in to having to spend hours in the studio.”

A big eye-opener was when she began exploring encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting.

“I call myself a collage artist. It was anything I could pull apart and put back together again.”

She began using a range of materials alongside encaustic painting techniques, using cutouts of photos, pictures, as well as dried leaves, twigs, soil and even gold leaf.

Using hot wax meant working quickly.

“You use layers of wax and I’m able to put my collages in between them.”

Both clear and coloured wax was used, giving her work a muted far-away look as images revealed themselves through the layers, like a landscape viewed through mist.

“You build up a 3-D depth to them, and there is a sort of moodiness to them.”

She is running a workshop on encaustic painting for beginners at the Central Art Space in Lake Hawea this weekend.

“I love taking workshops .. it is that spark you get from other creative people.”

Play, exploring and making mistakes was all part of the artistic journey.

“You learn a lot and sometimes you can find you use your mistakes.”