MASTER’S CLASS: Encaustic explorations in mark-making, memory, and matter

Encaustic explorations in mark-making, memory, and matter
May18th – 25th, 2024
Kefalonia, Greece

Well, then, let’s say [there is a wax block in our souls and that] it is a gift of Memory, the mother of the Muses, and whatever we want to remember of the things we see, hear, or we ourselves think of, by submitting it to our perceptions and thoughts, we strike off into this, as if we were putting in the seals of signet-rings. And whatever gets impressed, let’s say that we remember and know as long as its image is in it, but whatever is wiped off or cannot get impressed, that we forget and do not know. -Plato, Theatetus
Wax is a substance synonymous with memory: wax tablets were amongst the first writing technology, wax seals enclosed and protected the integrity of important documents, wax cylinders were used to first capture sound, wax was applied as a preservative coating on wood, paper, parchment, and other surfaces. On the other hand, in the Odyssey, wax was used to seal the ears of Odysseus’ crew to redact the irresistible call of the Sirens as they sailed past. Wax is a material that asks critical questions about how we know of and remember the world.

Led by artists/researchers Alexis Avlamis ( and Kurtis Lesick (, Encaustic explorations in mark-making, memory, and matter extends an invitation to visual artists, working in any discipline or medium, to the Greek island of Kefalonia (once the kingdom of Odysseus) to engage in directed professional development, research, and creation focussing on encaustic practices and the material and metaphor of wax to think through issues of memory, identity, and materiality. Practitioners in arts restoration-preservation who work are interested in wax as a material, or researchers focussing on materiality and memory may also find this workshop useful.

Hosted at the Ionion Centre for Arts and Culture (, participants in this 8-day master’s class will be introduced to a variety of encaustic production techniques for 2D and 3D works including sun bleaching, wax molds, encaustic shellac, etching and channeling, scraping, incising, collage, image transfer, and others. They will also be participating in lectures, discussions, field trips to natural and cultural heritage sites to help develop their own thinking on the power and significance of “the mark” (whether it be artistic, archaeological, geological, linguistic, or emotional) to fabricate a memory, necessitate history, and obscure alternative pasts. The class will culminate in a show of research results at the Ionion Center for Arts and Culture.
What does the program offer?
This program offers a structured experience for artists to engage with intensive studio, field, and conceptual exploration around the specific themes of the course. The fee includes accommodation, transportation during formal fieldtrips, and daily breakfast and dinners. Participants will also be provided with basic materials required for instruction. Additional materials will be available for purchase if required. The program provides opportunities for peer interaction amongst participants and mentorship from expert faculty so that participants are exposed to new thinking and practices toward the professional development of their work. Participants will also be provided with working time in the collective workshop or outdoor studio space.
Participants are also encouraged to apply for extended residencies at the Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture where they can pursue their individual research, artwork, or show their work. Information on the Center’s residency program please email here:
Who should apply?
This master’s class is for experienced artists equipped with a portfolio of work and who have completed formal training at the post-secondary level, OR have equivalent experience and recognition from their peers through informal, specialized training such as mentorships, self-study, and traditional knowledge and practices. Both emerging and established artists are encouraged to apply. Researchers working with concepts of materiality and memory who are interested in exploring these ideas through the metaphor of wax and the physical environment, or practitioners in arts restoration-preservation interested in learning more about wax as a material may also apply.

Who will you work with?
Alexis Avlamis (Greece) uses both painting and language to investigate the complexities of memory and identity. Through improvisation, intuition and by tapping into a stream of consciousness his work blurs the boundaries of both material and imagined worlds. While his practice has engaged collage, acrylic painting, and colored pencil, he is best known for his use of encaustic techniques. Avlamis’ work has been exhibited internationally, published in numerous American poetry anthologies and literature journals, as well as for Art21’s blog: Inside the Artist’s Studio, 2010. He has attended artist residencies in the United States, China and Finland. Alexis was the recipient of the International Emerging Artist Award (Drawing and Illustration category) based in Dubai. His works may be found in private and public collections worldwide.
Kurtis Lesick (Canada) is an artist, curator, researcher, and award-winning creative content specialist. His installations, media works, digital performances, and cross-media collaborations explore the limits of materiality, knowledge, and themes of indeterminacy. Lesick’s practice draws heavily on his experience in archaeology, anthropology and philosophy, as well as both his love and disdain for technology. His work has been presented and exhibited internationally in Canada, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A. He is an Associate Professor at the Alberta University of the Arts, has held an adjunct professorship at the Digital Futures Initiative in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (Canada), has been visiting faculty at the Banff Centre (Canada) and the University of California at Irvine (USA), and was a Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol (UK).
The Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture ( operates in a Global environment in the fields of Higher Education, Arts and Research. The Center is located on the Greek Island of Kefalonia with close proximity to the Kefalonia International Airport which provides easy access to the island by flight from most major European cities after May 1st.
All applicants for Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture programs must complete tax registration as part of their applications. For more information on the program and the registration process please contact: