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A little bit about Me.

Originally from Michigan, I received a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theater and Dance. Then, in 1982 fresh from college, was (one of 7) original members of the New Dance Ensemble, a post-modern repertory dance company in Minneapolis, and in ’89 joined the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in San Francisco. Those were amazing formative years and deep in my matrix.

Dovetailing dancing was my bodywork practice including Therapeutic Massage, Trager, Feldenkrais and Pilates. I loved these beautiful careers and feel they inform me to this day. Family life, with its magical worlds and learning adventures was packing creative energy for all of us. Over the course of our kids lives, I volunteered in the schools, doing arts and crafts and running events with other dedicated parents.

During that time I joined the team of amazing artisans at the Renaissance Institute, which runs the booth called Past Times Garden within the Northern California Renaissance Faire. It was there I created the Venetian Mask Painting Workshop, which became a popular activity during faire. I have always been interested in paper Mache, creating objects and creatures, so working faire was a perfect blend of teaching and creating. You can see some of my hand built masks at Open Studios.

Seven or eight years ago, I discovered through local workshops, painting with Beeswax! That was a life changer; and since, began finding materials and mediums that work well with encaustic. Seeking a way to blend my new found visual art with my movement and bodywork background, meant a steep learning curve into life drawing, methods of painting, how to blend colors, and so much more. This learning adventure is ongoing and expansive; and so much fun I can’t wait to get to it everyday.

These past “Covid” years I’ve delved further into life-drawing, and the very addictive, fun, and nature oriented world of cyanotype printing. An historical and alternative method of photography which can be either wet or dry, using negatives or botanicals fresh from the garden. Cyanotypes have captured my spirit, as it involves nature and processes which are both magical and peaceful. The colors are so vivid, and processes to alter prints are exciting. Best of all, they blend with Encaustic very well. Thank you for your interest, I’m so happy to share my artwork with you.

I’m on Instagram: @susanchilcotewade. Feel free to contact me for purchases, or questions.; and you’ve found me on the web at

All the very best to you and yours – Susan