6 December 2022

Riverina Made: Sharon De Valentin's painting with fire and beeswax

| Oliver Jacques
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woman with art

Sharon De Valentin recommends her cross as a Christmas gift. Photos: Oliver Jacques.

Who are you and what is your business? My business is Sharon De Valentin Art. I’m an encaustics artist, which means I make my art from beeswax and resin.

The word encaustic means ”to burn in or fuse”. It’s a now-obscure, ancient painting medium first practised by the Greeks for waterproofing boats as far back as the fifth century B.C.

Where did you begin? I’ve been doing this for five years. I first saw it being done on YouTube, and I instantly fell in love with it and thought, ‘I’ve got to do this’. There was nobody I knew in Australia who did it, so I got in touch with this lady from Seattle [in the US] who has been doing this for 30 years and she became my mentor. I talk with her every week and asked a lot of questions.

Then a lady from South Australia saw me on Instagram and asked me to set up a group. I’ve also got a grant through Western Riverina Arts to do a 12-month course.

READ ALSO Riverina Made: Kristy-Lee Agresta’s permanent jewellery that’s welded onto your wrist

What do you produce? I’ve done a number of paintings, sculptures and vessels, which are for sale on my website. You’ll find my full stocklist, everything will be on there.

Where can we buy your products? Apart from my website you can go to the Leeton [Art] gallery, the Griffith [Regional Art] gallery, the Whitton Malt House and the Griffith Community Centre. There is also another market coming up at Griffith GreenGecko Garden on 11 December.

A board full of art

A selection of Sharon De Valentin products.

What should we buy for gifts this Christmas? I would go with the cross. That’s what Christmas is about for me.

What’s your favourite product that you make? I don’t think I have a favourite product, I like them all.

How would you promote the Riverina? I think the Riverina is a hidden gem. We have food, we have wine, we have art, we have sport, we have everything you’d want here in the Riverina. Just come and see.

What’s your favourite coffee spot? That’s a bit of a challenge. I’m going to say I spread myself all over. I know a lot of people who own coffee shops.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Luke Piccolo of Limone Dining in Griffith

Coolest local thing you’ve ever bought? Wine is actually pretty cool. For my first solo show, I bought a case of Prosecco from Calabria Wines.

Who is another local producer/business you admire? They are all here [in the Rooms of Requirement markets].

What do you want for Christmas? I love Kristy-Lee’s jewellery. I just poked my husband that way [to her nearby store at the Rooms of Requirement markets].

Woman standing outside her shop

Kristy-Lee Agresta outside her jewellery store.

Region Riverina is committed to celebrating our local producers and creatives and encourages everyone to buy locally.

If you’re aware of someone who’s making something amazing, let us know!

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