Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Best Laid Plans....

Due to Covid-19, Crow Town Gallery is Closed to the public until further notice.
Please visit my website to shop the Collectors Series.

Something I have avoided like the plague, and now the "Plague" has forced my hand. I spent the last few days of self-isolation updating my website. I have listed a few pottery items from the gallery collection and will continue to update as items sell, for as long as the gallery is closed to public. (Per state mandate, all "non-essential" businesses are to be closed.) For those who are ready for some retail therapy (or need a gift for a loved one) I will happily ship AND provide curbside pickup for those who would like that. All monetary transactions can be done through my secure online payment site in advance and packages left outdoors on the front stoop. ALSO, for those who live in Lubec or Trescott area, I will deliver to your front door. If you have been to the gallery before, you know that I have far more stock than you see online. Just shoot me a message about what you are looking for and I will send photos.

Today is the day that I WOULD HAVE BEEN hopping on a plane to return home from a month-long residency at The International School of Beijing. Planning began over a year ago. What a strange twist of events this has been. My visa arrived on January 17th and within four days, news broke of the new coronavirus in China. By mid-February my flight had been canceled and the school I was to visit had closed with no re-opening date. If I had made my way there, gotten through a quarantine, the US likely would not have allowed me back in by this point in time. Ironically, as the virus began to quiet in China, it reached the U.S. as well as other countries, and is now ramping up. I don't think  that I have ever washed my hands so much!

Another casualty of Covid-19 is the Bay of Fundy International Marathon. For the past eight years, I have designed and made the main awards and age-category awards. This year's design was to be the sand dollar...but now you will have to wait until 2021 to win one!!! With the Canadian border now closed and so many things unsure about the near future and travel and possible infection, it made sense to cancel now, hard as that decision must have been for the organizers. It's a huge loss for the community and the runners as it is one of the most uplifting events of the year. See you all in 2021!!!

I had created about forty small urchin vessels to take with me to China for gifting. I am enjoying the process of slip trailing and working tiny. I love how these little pots nestle so sweetly in my hand. They have become a bit addictive to make! (Note: there is one listed on my website for sale.)

I count my blessings every day, but now more than ever, that I ended up in this off-the-beaten-path little fishing village nineteen years ago. While others are finding themselves in cities and quarantined, unable to leave their apartments or homes, I am grateful that I have trails and beaches nearby to visit. The sunshine, fresh air, sound of water and soothes the soul. And right now, souls need soothing.

The view out my back window NEVER gets old, and is ALWAYS changing.
Again...counting my blessings...every day.

A new item that is now stocked at the gallery are these coppery-glazed noodle bowls with chopsticks. I made them originally to donate to an Empty Bowls project. I liked them so much I decided to keep them as a regular item. (As much as I make anything regularly...which means...for NOW I am making them! Haha!!!)

The beach behind the gallery....Love me some stones!

Two years running Crow Town Gallery has hosted CRAFTED: Holiday Artisan Market. It was another huge success! It takes a few days of shifting and moving and storing pottery to make room for the guest vendors...but it is worth it! We have a blast!

And here is the crew from the 2019 CRAFTED: Holiday Artisan Market at Crow Town Gallery.
Mona Ingrid Love Designs:  Jewelry  / Lisa Marquis-Bradbury: Mosaics  / Kathi Denman: Lubec Lavender  / Jolene Doran: Down East Fiber Gypsy / Heidi Herzberger: Pondview Studios  / Shanna Wheelock: Cobscook Pottery

Fred Pierce of Cobscook Bay Music produced a great summer 2019 concert line-up at Crow Town  Gallery. We started the season off with a sold out show by Slaid Cleaves (Americana), followed up by Scott Ainslee (blues), and Jack Williams (folk). Jazz favorite, The Mike Levine Trio,  returned with power vocalist Wendy Pedersen. (Check out the clip below). Universe willing, celtic music by North Sea Gas is slated for June 2020 and is set to be another fantastic show. Keep posted. Due to Covid-19 (getting tired of saying that!) things are unknown at this time. The band is to travel from Scotland, and travel by plane is a big unknown, as well as whether or not the gallery will be yet open to the public. Crossing fingers!

04/03/20 UPDATE: Due to Covid-19, North Sea Gas has canceled their US tour, thus will not be playing Crow Town Gallery in June 2020.

Click here to see a clip from Mike Levine Trio LIVE at Crow Town Gallery, Featuring Wendy Pedersen singing "The Take Out Queen."

This little doodle graces me with her company once in a while. I was able to sneak Daisy off to the beach on a beautiful autumn day. She's learning to be a better leash walker! (She already has the smooches and food-stealing down!)

The last event for a while, I suspect, that I will be enjoying out in public. We are lucky to have such wonderful musicians downeast. A post-Valentine's concert at the Lubec Brewing Company with the Fremont Street String Band. Check them out live if you can!

It's an annual ritual! Mom, Sis, and I spend the week celebrating mom's birthday at the Samoset.
My parents bought a timeshare there when I was 13 years old...and since then we visit the same week every year. I've only missed two or three years in the last 37 years!!!

Stairs!!! To the loft!!! I finally have a meditation and thinking nook!!! Thanks, Scott, for helping bring this to fruition!!! In my former studio I had a tiny nook that I would use for sketching out ideas. I have been missing that. I'm a quirky artist (most all artists are, right?) and it's a thing for me that I need to be out of my normal work space and in a space dedicated to just thinking in order to get the really juicy creative ideas.

This place is for the birds! Seriously! This is only the second time I have seen a Sandhill Crane. Both times, I heard the bird before I saw it. I saw one a few years ago and have looked every spring for its return. Spring of 2019....I heard that distinct call...and there she was!

Another interesting bird that showed up last summer was this Northern Shoveler. Just gorgeous!!! This one had the serious birders visiting to sneak a peak!

Also making an appearance...the Snowy Egret and the Great Blue Heron.

Now here are some serious birders! John and Sharon flew in from Maryland for the birds, and here they are with Fred checking out the sights in the marsh.  (Yes! We have a - tiny- little airport. Or is that an air strip? It's basically a bunch of grass in an open space that small planes occasionally land in.)

A sweet day in St. John, New Brunswick. It's the first time I have had a bird land on me. I know I know...there are countless pigeons there and they are all looking for a nugget of food, was a super cool feeling to have birds land on my arm. I was later admiring an exotic bird in a pet shop thinking...a bird would love these rafters in the gallery! Then I heard the price of said birds. I'll be sticking with the cat.

Not sure when I will finish this urchin installation now. It requires another day of raku firing with assistants, and well, assistants are sort of off limits until Covid-19 shoves off. Please, Covid-19...Shove off!

In case you were wondering...Bouli is still kicking and enjoying her new digs here at the gallery. She is a very athletic cat and there are two options for her to choose from to make her way to the loft. Until the stairs were built, I was not able to get up there to visit her. She loves having company when she is up there! (I wasn't so sure she would.) She has become a very loving cat, more so than usual, the past year or so. It's getting hard to have any personal space on the bed!

Just me. In a car. Alone. Germ free. Still smiling.

This was a new design for me, and I only made one of its kind. 

Yes...always...follow your bliss. It's a little hard to follow every blissful whim while much of the world is in quarantine, but this time offers us (likely) some quiet reflection about how we have been living our lives and what we may choose to do the same or differently. I am happy to report that I am ….following my bliss. (Well...within legal limits, anyway!!!)

     What a surreal moment in time this is. As much as I am an introvert, I have to say that I am missing human contact, and especially hugs. At the very start of March, I told my mom and sister that I would be spending the month pretty much in my own world, meditating, creating, building stock, and sticking close to the gallery. I have done this several times in the past for a week or two where I forewarn family and friends that I will be out of touch, no phone or email, no human visits, just me and the cats, work, and my own mind. Time to focus.

     I was to be in China this month doing what I do; creating and teaching. Since the residency trip was canceled, I figured I should use that time to create something new. I had been sitting on some sculpture ideas for the past year but had not been able to bring them to fruition for lack of time. I did not expect, though, that a virus would first cancel my trip to China, and secondly, that I would be basically forced into isolation at home here in the U.S. It's a whole different thing when HAVING to stay home versus CHOOSING to. And while I am here in self-isolation mode, it has been anything but removed from others. The emails, phone calls, texts, messages...have all ramped up ten fold. At least. For this, I am grateful. I am grateful that I have so many wonderful people in my life to connect with during a time when we are asked to connect less in the physical.

    We often hear people say that technology is separating us socially from each other - that instead of actual human contact - we have dived into this virtual world where our heads rarely raise from the computer or phone screen. But now, since we are needing and required to physically distance from others,  technology is what is holding us together.

    March has turned into a busier month than I could have ever planned. I have not yet gotten to the sculpture and instead have been either glued to the screen for news, researching loans and relief packages, working on website updates,  or I have been plotting pottery to prepare for summer, not really knowing when the gallery will be open again. I still have to prepare regardless of there or not I have sales not knowing what is coming.On top of all that, as most know, the prep for a long-term at-home quarantine is quite time-consuming, too. 

I suspect that at some point things will slow a bit and I will segue into working on those sculptures that I have been thinking about for the past few months. Or maybe I will draw....or paint....

I miss it all.....

And the muse has been knocking at my door for a while now.

Please keep yourself healthy and safe.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

What Was and What Is To Come

Don't miss this great weekend of Music at the gallery!
Presented by Cobscook Bay Music

Two great shows are slotted for Mother's Day Weekend at Crow Town Gallery. Slaid Cleaves and Scott Ainslie are both masters of their craft and we are super excited to share their talents with you.
Check them out at:

All concerts are presented by Cobscook Bay Music. Tickets on sale now!

Holiday Artisan Market at Crow Town Gallery
One of the things about the gallery that former owners Bonnie and Ukey started, which I hope to continue as possible, is the community aspect. In December we hosted a Holiday Artisan Market with five guest vendors: Lisa Marquis-Bradbury (Mosaics), Sherry Ashby (art), Heidi Herzberger (organic homegrown goods and art), Lisa M. Dellwo (Timberdoodlz notecards and gifts), and Jolene Corey Doran (The Fiber Gypsy). The first year was a great success! Thanks to all who came out to support us. 

The Subdudes
Portland House of Music, March 10, 2019
It was bucket list item of sorts. My favorite band had dismantled shortly after I saw them in the mid 90's. I was so excited to see that they had reunited and were coming back to Maine. Despite obstacles (car brake issues while traveling six hours in a snowstorm with slippery roads) I made it to the hotel two hours late just as the Subdudes pulled in next to me. Of all my years working with musicians/backstage etc., I had never in my life been starstruck until this moment. My insides shook for nearly an hour. It's good for the soul of a forty-nine year old to feel like a teenager once in a while. My spirit sister Lisa and I had a night full of smiles and dancing. Check out their unique, eclectic music. A mix of gospel, funk, blues, rock, and folk. You won't be disappointed!

Some of last summer's pottery, showcasing the new handcarved design top left:  the Periwinkle series. 

The new Pottery Den
In progress. Thanks to some dedicated, expert help, sheetrock was installed, spackled, painted, and trimmed. Thank you! We're waiting for the concrete to warm a bit more before painting the floor and moving in.

Me at the potter's wheel. Doing what I do best...getting dirty.

This year's theme for the Bay of Fundy International Marathon...
The sea urchin.

It was the hottest, most sweaty day of the year, but the volunteer team pulled it off! We hosted a public Raku Feast and Fire. Here the kiln is loaded, ready to fire, while more work sits on top to warm for the next load. 

….And the results were gorgeous!

My favorite moment of the year (and maybe life) was to be out on the water looking for whales. I had never seen a whale before other than at a very long distance, and it was brief. This particular morning, whales breached, slapped fins, voiced, and even swam right under our small boat. Thank you for this experience, Scott. I will always remember it. 

While out looking for whales I got to see a fully intact herring weir. Weirs are one of my favorite art subjects, and this one was hauntingly beautiful. 

Bouli. Queen of the guitar case, and anything else she wishes to be. 

Interior of Crow Town Gallery

Pat Fry, Crow Town Gallery guest artist last fall, stands with her oil painting "The Clam Digger."  I was so happy to see this piece sell to the subject of the  painting, who was also an art student of mine many moons ago.

Once a weekly blogger, I am now hard-pressed to manage even one post a year. Finally, I am sitting down long enough to post a few photos and write a few words. The first season at the helm of Crow Town Gallery was a huge success and I am gearing up to open the doors for the second season, starting in April. It's important to me that the community aspect remains intact under my ownership and in 2018 I think that goal was accomplished. There are some aspects that I have not been able to continue as they are not feasible (like dances...since the gallery is full of fragile pottery) but with the help of friends, live music was presented, guest artists showed their work, events were open to the public, and I was able to greet people from all over the world as they found their way here.

Spring through fall is primarily about keeping the gallery running, and in winter, both last and this year, renovations were done to create living and work space. The "pottery den" is in progress (thanks to an immense amount of help!) and hopefully will be finished off in about a month. The temps need to warm a bit so that the floor paint can dry. It will be nice to keep some windows open to air out as well.

I'm excited about the upcoming season. While the doors open in April, the real kick-off is in May when live concerts are up and running and the tourist population returns. Hope to see you around these parts!

If you are interested in learning a bit more about Lubec and why it is so special, check out the December 2018 article in DownEast Magazine:

Monday, January 1, 2018

As the Crow Flies

My new digs.
Bonnie waving goodbye at Crow Town Gallery. After three years as a resident artist, the keys are in my hand. Bonnie Beard has been the main gallerist since 2003 and is taking a break. I can't wait to get things rolling! I'll be taking a few months to think about the vision for this space then will re-open with pottery and art at this location in May 2018. I have a multi-year plan forming and can't wait to see how it all unfolds!

 Belvedere Handcraft Award
2017 was off to a great start when I learned that I was the recipient of the Belvedere Handcraft Award. 
(photo by Lisa M. Dellwo)

 I was a Crow Town Gallery resident artist for a third summer running. It was an honor to exhibit in the opening show alongside Richard Van Buren and Kathrin Hilten. In this photo, Richard Van Buren's colorful resin sculpture is in the middle, and my ceramic work is to his left and right.
 To the moon and back!
I have not been much of a traveler the past few years. I am sort of a nester, but....I could not pass up the opportunity to do a ceramics residency in Croatia at the American International School of Zagreb. I worked alongside phenomenal art teacher, Kendra Farrell, and loved having k-12 students from so many different countries.

Work by students in Zagreb.

Even though the teaching schedule was pretty tight in Zagreb, I managed to get to Zadar, located on the coast, for one weekend. The Roman Ruins were incredible to see in person!

Looks like the teacher in me is still alive and well even though I left public school almost six years ago. I am now teaching Art History at UMM (one class, part-time adjunct). It's been demanding time-wise.  I am like a new teacher all over again writing a curriculum from scratch. The students have been such a joy to work with, though!

Teaching art history, we cover many different periods/cultures. Bernie Vinzani (head of the book arts department at UMM) had this vase in the university art collection, a Korean vase from the Silla period (668-935 AD)

2017 marked my fifth year of creating the awards for the annual Bay of Fundy International Marathon. This year the theme was starfish. I love meeting the runners and hearing a bit of their stories. What an accomplishment for them! And this past year, an Ultramarathon was added!

The "New" year has begun and like most, I have been reflecting on the past 365 days. And like most, It can be summed up as a mix of both joy and challenge. I would say that for me, 2017 was primarily about limbo and transition.

While I was somewhat out of my element in 2017 with having to shuffle from space to space on a daily basis (home, studio, gallery, shop), I allowed myself the process, and from that process, learned much about my needs, goals, and probably most importantly, that I can move through the challenges somewhat gracefully as they are presented. While I understand that we are in control of how we deal with our challenges, I have also learned that there is so much out of our control, and that sometimes we just need to let things play out.  I am one of those that, thus far, has seen that even the difficulties in our life are part of the path that leads us to our ultimate personal evolution, and in the "end" it's all good. In a manner of speaking.

If we take the approach that all experiences are opportunities for us to learn and grow, it is perhaps "easier" to accept what is before us. Acceptance does not mean that we allow unhealthy things to continue. Rather, it means that we acknowledge the natural ebb and flow of life, and from each experience, we pick up from that point and move forward.

As 2017 approached, I was facing some of my biggest challenges thus far, but at the same time incredible opportunities were opening up for me. I learned that taking a leap (physical safety intact!) leads to new adventures. Is it scary to jump outside the comfort of what we have known for so long? Absolutely! But without leaving our comfort zone, there is seldom growth.

All this being said, I have had an incredible support team of friends and family behind me as I made these leaps. As soon as I was flying into the unknown, doors opened and new opportunities came into sight. In 2017 I rented living space from a friend, received a prestigious arts award, traveled to Croatia to teach, relocated my business to a downtown space on a long term basis, taught art history for University of Maine, exhibited with artists that I have long respected, created new artwork, met new friends, and bought a gallery.

In 2016, I did not "see" what was to come. All I knew at that time was that I had difficult decisions weighing on me. I was scared and had to face fears, push myself out of the nest, leap, fly, dream, and work hard. 2017 was a bit wobbly but now it is as if I am a plane that is finding it's smooth path once again after unsettling turbulence.

Going into 2018, I am excited to see how the journey unfolds. I sit here typing from my big comfy chair, newly relocated to Crow Town Gallery. As May approaches, I will be setting my intentions for this space and will re-open with excitement and new vision. A lot of folks have been asking what I plan to do here. Taking the advice of a friend, I have chosen to take time to work out the plan while I resettle, and will reveal more fully in a couple months. For now, what I can comfortably say with certainty is that my pottery will be located here starting in May. Yes, some things are changing from the previous gallery format. While my pottery and art will be sold from here, there is a larger vision for this space, and that will require much planning.

And patience....

The universe has its own timeline.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Follow Your Bliss

Cobscook Pottery Pop-Up
Through November 2016

Cobscook Pottery has taken it downtown!
Handcarved stoneware by the Easternmost Potter in the U.S., fine art, and jewelry.
Located at 37 Water Street, Lubec
Nestled between Lubec Hardware and the Lubec Brewery in Karen Burke's "Daylily" building.
Hours are by Chance or appointment

Rice Festival
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Cobscook Community Learning Center,Trescott, Maine 
I'm on the schedule to demo my encaustic painting technique. Come on down and say hello!

Stone Soul Rise
Encaustic on birch panel, stone

 Crow Town Gallery 2016 Season

Raku Vessel: Mowry Beach #6 by Shanna Wheelock

It was a successful season showing alongside fellow resident artists Bonnie, Beard, Sheryl Denbo and Kathrin Hilten with guest artist Nina Bohlen. Stay tuned for info on the 2017 Crow town Gallery season....we have some goodies in store!

2016 Maine Craft Association Exhibition at
Common Street Arts
September 30-November 5, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 1st, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Factory Construction 2
Ceramic/wax/iron, Shanna Wheelock, 2016
On exhibit at Common Street Arts, Waterville


 Located at 93 Main St., Waterville, Maine
Gallery hours: Wednesday-Friday 12-5, and Saturday 10-1

Drawings on these vessels are inspired by ink drawings that I have done that depict local factory ruins and environment. Once drawn and bisque-fired, vessels are raku-fired. See pic below!

Raku-fired vessels by Shanna Wheelock. Fresh from the kiln and cooling on the grass!

Raku vessels from the most recent kiln firing were on display this past summer at Crow Town Gallery in Lubec.

A little bit of Hamilton Cove, in Lubec.

Kundalini Rising (raku-fired ceramic) and ink drawings by Shanna Wheelock.
at Crow Town Gallery.
(That one stone, third from bottom, was driving me crazy. I edited the sculpture and shifted it to the left a bit. Much better! The sculpture is sold and going to a very good new home!)

 What a treat it was to visit the studio of sculptor Richard Van Buren! 

Van Buren with his cast-resin sculptures

Detail image of a sculpture by Richard Van Buren.

Sculpture by Richard Van Buren.

River Flames
Raku-fired clay, Shanna Wheelock, 2016
On view at Common Street Arts, Waterville

Boot Head, Lubec, Maine

 Karen and Barbara have kept me well-stocked with flowers in the shop!
Thank you!

A rainy, foggy afternoon in downtown in Lubec.

Ten years ago it was that I opened the tiniest of pottery shops in an 11x9 section of the barn. At the time I could not envision myself as heavily into production as I have been the past few years. I recall the advice of a friend and business counselor who suggested, when I said that I wanted to be a successful artist, that I make and sell pottery to help me move toward that goal. I had the basic skill in place and with time at the wheel, I found my little business growing a bit more each year. I think that I could have continued down that path exclusively as a full time potter except that the artist spirit in me kept calling to bring into the physical the ideas and visions that kept my mind colorful and awake at night. My life is blessed for sure, living the artist's life, following my bliss. Of course there is a fair share of grunt work and frustration that goes with any job, but as far as jobs go, I have a good one.

Being in Lubec fifteen years now, I have watched a transformation from "ghost town" to "on-the-verge" of something very VERY cool. Okay, Lubec is already super cool, but what I am talking about is a growing community of visionaries: artists, writers, musicians, farmers, and entrepreneurs.  It's still small scale and I expect it will stay that way, but what a beautifully eclectic mix of creative souls we have. And to top it all off, this little corner of the map is surrounded by gorgeous terrain, powerful tides, and abundant wildlife.

I continue to find inspiration in all that is around me and after a summer packed with artwork and openings, I have spent the past month focused on carved pottery production. With holiday season upon us, my hands are never idle. After this long run of production, though, I do look forward to the coming silence of winter and time to paint and draw.

In the meantime, though, I continue to pot, fire, and glaze while tending shop downtown. In August I moved out of the barn for what was to be one week in a vacant storefront. A pop-up of sorts. It was successful and taking it a week and month at a time, I am now planning to rent through November. My annual holiday sale (mid November) will be housed there this year. Being downtown is a bit of a mix of both business and pleasure. It's been a real treat to neighbor The Lubec Brewing Company (locally crafted organic beer) that hosts live music four nights a week. On the warmer eves, I could be found sitting on the stoop, carving pots while listening to the tunes and looking out at the narrows.

Before I sign off, I will mention that I will be demonstrating my encaustic painting technique at this year's Rice Festival at the Cobscook Community Learning Center, October 8th. A lot of people ask about the process, so here is your chance to see my playing with the wax and learn a bit about how these paintings are made. On top of art demonstrations, there is live music all day and other fun activities. Check out the schedule and come on down! (Or up, or over!) Click here to view the schedule of events.