This week I'm in an R and F encaustic class. Driving here, I thought about all the fabulous places my work has taken me. We are studying at the studio of Mary Black, which is surrounded by her vineyard, Black Emerald. They grow chardonnay grapes for Sonoma Cutrer and the Freeman Winery. Mary, besides being a fabulous encaustic artist, also designs wine lables for Eric Kent Wines. Several of the students nearby have vineyards, apple orchards, and another student grows olives for award winning olive oil! This is definitely encaustic for foodies. We've been having marvelous food here in Graton and Sebastopol. Lastnite we had a lovely dinner at Underwood for classmates, partners and friends. My esteemed classmates are Lorna Strotz, who also has a vineyard and grows grapes for Ravenswood. You'll find her fruit in bottles of Pickberry. Desire Thomopson-Duford from the Seattle area will begin teaching encaustic in the Pacific Northwest. Ed Musante and partner Madeline Modica live nearby and you must see Ed's current show in SF at the Paul Thiebaud Gallery. Lynn Kishiyama makes wonderful handmade paper, and with her husband Art, grows olives and raises alpaca in Paso Robles. I can't wait to taste their award winning oilive oil, Olio Nuevo. Other classmates, Julie Shaw and Nancy Nelson are doing fantastic work. We are all loving the style and amazing ability of our teacher, Cynthia Winika who is R and F's instructor extraordinaire. She has filled us with enough information to last several lifetimes!