Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Perceptions

Winter Blues
Pirate's Creek, Lubec, Maine

 Icy Reflection
Pirate's Creek, Lubec, Maine

 Missing Mowry Beach, warm wind, and the sound of waves.

 Downtown, snowed-in.
Lubec, Maine

Buried in snow.

 Me, after shoveling many feet of drifted snow. (See photo above!)
What a winter!

 
Sea smoke on Johnson's Bay
Lubec, Maine

 Icebergs at Pirate's Creek
Lubec, Maine

 
 The Fieldguides, heating things up on a cold winter night at Crow Town Gallery.
Speaking of Crow Town Gallery, I am excited to be part of the artist collective this summer, along with Bonnie Beard, Sheryl Denbo, and Stephen Dinsmore.
Check back for more info and exhibit schedule.

 
 Bello and Bouli sneaking in some cuddle time on their crazy cat mama's lap and legs.
It's hard to get work done with two cute cuddle bugs in tow.
 
 Sharon, Katie, and Erika on the bench, my thesis drawings above.
Holly Garner-Jackson, at Woodwind Gallery and Framers in Machias, did an awesome job framing my work for the show!

 "Rising"
Ink on Arches Hot Press, 22" x 30", Shanna Wheelock, 2014

 "Source"
Ink on Arches Hot Press, 22" x 30" Shanna Wheelock, 2014

"Merge"
Ink on Arches Hot Press, 22" x 30", Shanna Wheelock, 2014

Ghost of me, with Dean Susan Wilder, 
at Heartwood College of Art MFA graduation ceremony.


I'm in the midst of one of my winter hibernations. The past few months picked-up intensity as I rounded out five years of graduate studies. As of last month, I am the official recipient of an MFA degree. Thesis work kept me secluded much of September through January, but the drawings were finished and the paper written. I suppose one would wonder why, after nearly five months of minimal human interaction, I would find yet another retreat from the outside world necessary.

I found the process of writing a thesis, though a somewhat sedentary procedure, to be taxing on my body, mind, and spirit. I have a new found respect for writers and the struggle to find just the right words to express an idea. While I have an amazing ability to focus on project-at-hand, I also have a mind that scatters in a zillion directions at once, hopping from idea to idea. It was a challenge to narrow all that I wanted to say into a concise paper without my typical rambling. When all was said and done, I felt that what truly inspired me and snagged my interest most was contained (and only hinted upon) to perhaps one-quarter of the entire dissertation. I likely will not be truly happy with my words until I take that one idea and expand upon it, giving it the full attention it deserves.

Coming off graduation and thrust into a series of intense winter storms of record-breaking proportions, I was relegated Queen Shoveler for about three weeks running. Having lived through forty-five Maine winters thus far, I can say that this was the most snow that I have ever been privy to. Back-to-back blizzards did not afford my mind much else to think about other than how to get the snow moved so that the car would not be forever stranded in the barn. The whole town was in a bit of a tizzy with broken plows and highly-drifted and impassable roads. Needless to say, as hearty a Mainer as I am, I am feeling ready for spring to emerge. Bring on the daffodils and daily beach walks. Please.

I am taking this week to "regroup". The phone is off and internet connection is minimal. I will not venture out unless absolutely necessary. It is not people that I run from, rather, it is me that I run to. I use this time for self-care and to re-focus my thoughts. In the height of spring, summer, and fall when production, vending, exhibiting, and running the shop is in full swing, time for such personal reflection is fleeting at best.

During one of these recent introspective moments, amongst glazing, shoveling, meditating, drawing, and kitty-snuggling, I thought about "Perceptions." Follow as best you can...stream of consciousness is at work here.

We all have a perception of who we are.

In a recent small-group discussion, it became clear to me that each one of us has a strong self-perception based on how we feel we are perceived by others. I concluded from this that our perception of ourselves is distorted. We build our personal perception on what we perceive others to perceive of us.

(Have I lost you yet?)

Basically, we believe what we are told over and over, irregardless of the truth.

Beyond that, we often have a false perception of what others truly perceive.

For instance, I have been told that, through the eyes of some, that I am a type A personality. They see me as someone who is always working, professionally-driven, on-the-go, plagued by anxiety of the deadline. I came to believe this to be true. I have come to realize, however, that this is NOT who I am. Yes, I work hard. Yes, I am focused. Yes, I get cranky now and again. However, it is not in line with the inner me, with what feels to be a natural, peaceful, relaxed way of being. Only a small handful of people perceive me as a Type A, (or I perceive them to!) yet, I allowed my perception of their perception to in part define me. There is no fault, as each person bases their perception on their own experience, whether it is in relation to the self or to others.

This makes me question all perceptions that I have, not only of my self, but of everyone.

When I hibernate, I feel total peace. The flow is simple, graceful, and relaxed. I begin to touch base with my true essence. I realize that I am not a type of personality, nor am I a potter, artist, or teacher.

I am, most simply, everything and nothing at once.

I am a conglomerate of all that exists, yet I am less than everything that people perceive me to be.

Each of us is a single great being, and each of us is a tiny cell in the universe. This universe is a tiny cell in a greater existence. We are both the creator, and the created.

We over-exaggerate our role and our importance on an individual level, yet on a greater level, we underestimate who and what we are.

Our distorted perception of ourselves is based on others distorted perceptions of us.

And none of it is real.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In the Thick of Thesis

Annual Holiday Sale
at Cobscook Pottery
Lubec, Maine
December 5-7, 2014
Fri. 3-7, Sat. 10-5, Sun. 11-4
Refreshments and Holiday Cheer! 


 Herring Platter

 Bouli in the nook helping me write the thesis paper.


 I've been like a cat moving from space to space while writing the thesis. Cold snowy days are perfect for working by the fire. (Okay, so we have only had one snowy day so far this season...but you better believe I took advantage of the opportunity for getting cozy!!!)


 Found bone at Mowry Beach. What is it?


 Heart Stone at Hamilton Cove
Lubec, Maine


 Cascading waters at Hamilton Cove
Lubec, Maine


 Me at the beach. The woolens are in use!


 Seaweed Slugs
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine


 Gull braving the waves on a grey day at West Quoddy.
Lubec, Maine


 Greens and blues at West Quoddy.
Lubec, Maine


 Sunset at Low Tide, Mowry Beach
Lubec, Maine


Gulls and Cormorants at the Breakwater
Lubec, Maine


 McCurdy Smokehouse at High Tide
Lubec, Maine


Gulls on the Breakwater at High Tide
Lubec, Maine


Driftwood
Severed and uprooted, drifted over tides to settle in sand along the shore in some fishing village at the edge of the world.  I feel your pain, amputated at the trunk, plucked from the rich brown earth and tossed to sea. Weathered you wear the sensuous lines of an O’Keeffe oil, like petals resembling hills, undulating like a woman’s curves except where a chainsaw sliced you from your limbs and leaves, exposing rings hundred-fold. If only those rings could talk we would hear the tales of children who built treehouses, birds who perched a lookout, and bears who climbed to reach for honeybees’ hive. Fated to be solitary, landlocked until the next big wave musters the strength to carry you away.




I've been in thesis hibernation for the better part of two months now. Other than a couple walks with friends and a couple evenings out, I have considered myself sequestered. It's a tight schedule that began with four weeks of drawing followed by the current four week writing stint. I will admit that I am getting a bit stir crazy at this point but must stay the course. My friends and family have all been understanding all are allowing me the space I need. Today was a shifting point in the project where I finally felt a bit of peace being able to see how the rest of the paper might come together. The start was rocky. Very rocky. Research took longer than planned and then, I who enjoys writing, hit writer's block. For months I had been looking forward to working on this project and now, suddenly, my voice decided to shrink away.

After a few days of moving from room to room, pacing, grumbling, reading, posting on Facebook, and eating far too much chocolate, I finally settled in. Research writing definitely is a slower pace than blogging. In all honesty, though research is part of my paper, the bulk of the writing revolves around the thesis project.

My thesis project is a series of drawings. I created five drawings and from those have selected three for the final exhibit in January. The essence of the work is a combination of sense of place, vibration/energy, and artist as channel. It's a bit "out there" but, I think, sort of interesting to ponder.

So, tonight I felt I had a handle on the paper and where I am going with it. To celebrate I decided that a bit of normalcy was in order. I took to the cave and started in on holiday orders and here I am after a day of writing....writing a blog. At one time I blogged weekly. I miss these weekly ramblings but, as with most people, life gets in the way sometimes.

During this thesis crunch time I had to let go of two major shows (aka winter income!!!) and my holiday sale is a bit later than usual. It has been scheduled within the two week window of when I pass in my thesis draft and before it is returned to me for edits. I am a bit behind with everything and hope that the later-than-usual holiday open house sale steers clear of nasty winter weather and that I still get to see all the usual suspects that I enjoy catching-up with.

Next week is Thanksgiving. May you all have a happy belly full of pie and time with the ones you love.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Self-Induced Semi-Hibernation


Water, Wind, and Time
An interpretation of Lubec Factory Ruins by artist Shanna Wheelock
 On view at Lubec Memorial Library through September 30, 2014

Thus far the largest showing of my factory-themed drawings, many never-before-seen. Yes, some drawings, paintings, and columns are for sale (I have been reluctant to part with any drawings before this viewing). The library does not handle sales. All inquiries should come directly to me. Information is available at the library.


 Herring tiles that I made last spring were finally installed!


 
Republic of Georgia arttist Valerian Jikia on his first day to Lubec/U.S.
Valerian was here as a participating artist in the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium. He created a granite sculpture for Lubec (see pic below).
Photo by Jesse Salisbury

Valerian Jikia and his finished/installed sculpture at Stockford Park here in Lubec. Pictured with Valerian is our local SISS sculpture committee (aka the money beggars and event planners). Pictured: Rachel Rubeor, Valerian Jikia, Shanna Wheelock, Barbara Frazier, and Sara McConnell. (committee members not pictured are Karen Burke and Denise Rule) THANK YOU to local businesses who assisted in our fundraising efforts: Cohill's Pub, McFadden's Market, Emera,The Masons, American Legion, Lyon's Market, Crow Town Gallery, everyone who donated prizes for our raffles, chili cooks, and all of our generous financial supporters!!! There were many!!!)
Photo by Katherine Cassidy

 "Beyond the Horizon"
by Valerian Jikia
Located at Stockford Park, Lubec, Maine


"What If I Dived Into This Dance"
Encaustic painting on birch panel
for the third annual invitational "Night" show at Catbird Seat Gallery, Eastport.

 West Quoddy on a late summer day.
Lubec, Maine


 Cat Food Factory
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Lazing Kelp
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine


 Calligraphic
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine


 Whelk eggs
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine


Making LOVE on the rocks
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine


Move over Sothebys! Karen Burke and me on the stage getting ready to begin the art auction in an effort to raise funds for the Valerian Jikia sculpture. There was a great turnout at Crow Town Gallery (thanks for letting us use the space Bonnie!). Chris Crittenden gave us quite a show as the live auctioneer! Thanks to all the artists and art supporters who participated!
Photo by Goodman/VanRiper Photography.


Live auctioneer Chris Crittenden fetches a high price for this oil painting by Leslie Bowman. Bonnie Beard was our resident "Vannah White".
Photo by Goodman/VanRiper Photography.


I happened upon a film production at McCurdy Smokehouse, downtown Lubec.

Herring work in production.


Sabbath meal with the Rubenstein/Motzkin clan. Always a treat!
Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein shows off his freshly baked challah loaves. They were DELICIOUS!!! Lucky us to be sent home with some!!!

Rabbi Linda Motzkin and son Ari with this magnificent foraged-berry pie that we gorged on for dessert!


Rabbi Linda Motzkin with her artwork on handmade deerskin parchment. Learn more at:
http://breadandtorah.org/artwork/

My first mackerel catch down at the pier! 
A fisherman I am not, but it sure was yummy!


Biking with Chris along the trail in Machias.
(well, taking a break in this photo!)


Pirates arrived in Lubec by air, sea, and....Harleys?


My pottery display at the 29th annual Mount Desert Island Directions Show in Bar Harbor.

I know. The post title is confusing. Those who know me well know that hibernation time does begin for me normally until January.  This has been an exceptionally hectic summer with committee work on top of vending, running the shop, and a bit more travel for family and friend functions than usual. I am just now tying up ends and beginning the last leg of my Heartwood College of Art MFA program. Five years in the making and the final four months is a delve into the world of thesis. It is a tight schedule that we have been handed and that means no time to fool around. Okay, so you may find me at the Tavern for one last hoorah and there are a couple more art festivals to vend, but other than that, it is me, a stack of books, an array of tasty hot press deckled-edge paper, and a pile of my favorite pens. I know that you all will understand my planned absence and why at times I will have to decline those tempting invitations to all things wicked, wild, and fun until the project at hand is complete.

I have been away from blogging due to all the other hooplah but the neverending stream of photos above gives you an idea of what has been going on in and around Lubec. If I am not at the Lubec Farmers Market on Saturdays I am away at some other craft fair. Bar Harbor was extra fun this year as my friend Becky vended her wares a few aisles over from me. Martha Stewart did pass by with a smile and a hello but she declined my dinner invitation. Imagine that! Passing up a chance to eat from handmade Herring ware! Maybe another time.....

The past year and a half I have worked with a committee of five other women to raise funds for the Valerian Jikia sculpture via the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium. Excitement abounded yesterday as the massive granite artwork arrived on two flatbeds for installation at Stockford Park.
This is the first of its kind here in Lubec- and puts us on an official downeast sculpture map. Kudos to all who made this happen! It was a pleasure to meet Valerian who hails from Republic of Georgia. He put his heart and soul into this artwork and we are all so proud of him!

A collection of my factory-themed artworks are on exhibit at Lubec Memorial Library through September 30th. This is the first time that I have seen the bulk of my drawings (over fifty!) as a collection. I have been working on them for almost two years and most times they rest in folders and pads. Occasionally a few make it to my studio wall but the turnover rate is steady as I am always creating new works. For the first time I decided to price some of the drawing. Not all are for sale as I hope to have them printed in limited editions, but some of the smaller detailed works are up for grabs. Artists understand this....it is sometimes hard to let go of new work. Alas, I am ready for some of my "babies" to make their way out into the world.

This week I will be firing and glazing to prep for my next two shows while segueing into the thesis work. There is much ritual involved. If you see me out and about with camera in hand...that is part of the research component. I am looking forward to the immersion that is soon to come!