Ruth Tolerton works with encaustic and fibre arts.

She has been a resident of the Nicola Valley for 14 years. She is an avid photographer who recently discovered encaustic painting, which is an ancient art that goes back thousands of years.

It involves applying or painting with a mixture of beeswax and damar resin. The combination of these two materials must be carefully balanced and applied hot.

The wax or resin is then manipulated with brushes, palette knives and a heat gun.

A good friend of Tolerton’s also introduced her to spinning, and a new love of fibre arts took hold.

Ruth has experimented with needle felting, which is where fibres are blended with barbed needles.

Tolerton says her animals come from guiding spirits — and by that she doesn’t mean she often sets out to make a particular piece, but rather the creature evolves from the wool.

The fish, for example, was originally meant to be a simple pin cushion but it turned out the fish wanted to swim out.

Ruth has also branched out into nuno felting, where layers of wool are stretched over each other, covered with a mesh then soaped down and rolled until the wool fibres press into each other.

The final product is soft and durable, washable and wearable.

Ruth is also an author, a cook, a traveller, a gardener and a renaissance gal!