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Santa Cruz Stoves and Fireplaces Presents Some Hot Art

The three women behind Wax Works West gave live encaustics demonstrations at the reception of their show 'Encaustic and Paper'.

Santa Cruz Stoves and Fireplaces is draped in melted wax until October 20th of this year.

Encaustic and Paper is the store's Artworx Gallery's latest exhibit; a bold and colorful display of encaustic works by the three artists of the Wax Works West studio in Corralitos: Wendy Aikin, Judy Stabile, and Daniella Woolf. Encaustic art is made from colored bee's wax and dates back to the mummy's in Egypt in 100 A.D.

On Friday night's opening reception, the showroom was swarming with well dressed art lovers who sipped wine, nibbled cheese and took in the beauty of melted wax, alongside elegant fireplaces and stoves—a few of them glowing with flames.

The real hot spot, though, were the live demonstrations given by the three artists themselves.

"We enjoyed showing our process on opening night, illustrating the versatility of the encaustic medium," said Woolf, who showed onlookers how she folds her famous paper and encaustic boats seen in many of her creations.

Stabile and Aikin also showed how they print directly from the hot palate onto paper to create the monotype effect. Encaustic and Paper is a mix of individual works as well as collaborative, and vary from the brilliantly colored curtain of monotype-printed streamers to abstract faces and colorful cubes to a smattering of carefully folded paper boats parading along one wall.

Suzanne Etienne attended the opening reception and is an artist herself who has shown her paintings at Santa Cruz Stoves and Fireplaces in the past.

"This is a stove shop and yet it becomes an art gallery for the creative people in this town, it really grasps the artistic roots that Santa Cruz represents," said Etienne.

"I've been enjoying the people that are here this evening, people love art in this town, people love to go to see art, they appreciate it, and they're artists themselves. I've been admiring all of the women with their vibrant dresses," said Etienne, of the"youth and vitality and pizazz" on Friday evening.

Encaustic and Paper is one of many art shows that has transformed the fireplace and stove showroom into a gallery since 2007 when the owners first decided to go for it. Now, they showcase about four artists a year in their retail space.

"My husband and I both really love the arts, and I'm an artist myself so we thought why not?" said Melyssa Cowles, who owns Santa Cruz Stoves and Fireplaces with her husband.

"Our mission is to support artists locally and have a good party too, so we love it," Cowles said, over the guitar music of Ken Constable.

Even from the outside of the store, you can tell the couple is passionate about the arts: the entire outside wall of their store is covered in a mural by local grafitti artist Elijah Pfotenhauer.

"Showing at the Artworx Gallery in the Santa Cruz Stove and Fireplace store is a dream. Their beautiful design showroom has wonderful wall space to accommodate large works. Melissa Cowles is a wonderful curator, and Steve Vorhees is a gracious host. We are thrilled and honored to exhibit in their magnificent space," said Woolf.

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