Monday, July 19, 2010

Inspiration Strikes

Shanna working on a tapestry

The ferry boat from Campobello to Deer Island (New Brunswick, Canada)

Newly-designed shop entrance

New "Official Business Directional Sign"

Downtown view looking at the bay, Wags N' Wool sign on the right

New yarn waiting to transform into a tapestry

Inspiration is one of those things that you have no control over. It sneaks up on you at the most unexpected, sometimes inopportune, times. It may be 3:00 a.m. or middle of the day. It denies sleep and steals your attention for hours on end, causing you to ignore the things that you KNOW you should be doing.

This past week was one of those kinds of weeks. The waking at 3:00 a.m. is nothing new. That's when my mind seems to be the most active with ideas. Since I don't need a total alert state for teaching right now, I allow myself to go with the energy and early-rise from darkness. I listen to the first bird of the morning greet me as the orange ball of sun slowly burns its way over ocean's edge and above the trees. The fiery colors against cool dark sky is wildly serene.

Perhaps I was already in the kind of mood that allowed for inspiration. My aunt was visiting from Bangor and I had mentally prepared myself for a break in the usual routine to spend time with her. There was no set plan and I told myself that I needed to not be a party-pooper and would, instead of burying my nose in work, be open to spur-of-the-moment exploring and fun.

The visit began with an impromptu homemade pasta-making mess, flour and sticky dough everywhere. We ate heartily, conversed at length, and set no plan for the next day. I arose and began the bookwork and prep for Lubec Arts Alive. With the event nearing, there is lots to do. When June called and suggested a bog walk, I said "sure", and immediately double-paced my LAA work efforts until she arrived. In hand were several brochures for various local hikes. Given that it was raining, we opted for the closer West Quoddy hike, which is one of the most beautiful I have ever experienced. Shimmer (her whippet/lab mix canine) was obviously pleased with the choice! The evening was topped-off with a superbly delicious meal at Water Street Tavern, followed by a walk up the hill to the Summer Keys concert.

We ended the day exhausted with a plan to wake and head over to Campobello Island and catch an early ferry. Our plan to leave at 7:00 a.m. was foiled when my body rebelled and decided to sleep-in until 6:30 a.m. We eventually began the excursion, missing the first ferry by 2 minutes, watching it pull away from the shore. That little snafu led us to East Quoddy Headlight and some great photographic moments.

I hadn't been on a car-ferry since I was fifteen, when visiting Aunt Aggie and Uncle Carlisle one summer over on Swan's Island. This was a much smaller ferry, but incredible fun just the same. We ferried first to Deer Isle, then caught a second ferry to head back to mainland U.S., Eastport. I know, it seems kinda ridiculous to ferry to a place we could have driven to in fifty minutes. Our total trip to reach a destination that is literally only about 1500 yards from Lubec (by water!) took (including time lost in missing the first ferry) was about three hours. But boy was that a relaxing three hours!

In Eastport we found a little water's-edge picnic table kinda-place that served lobster rolls. We enjoyed a lunch then some downtown shopping. I finally met a fellow clay enthusiast whose work I had admired for the past fifteen years. I know, I know. I have lived here almost ten years now, and it took me this long to meet Donald Sutherland. His huge architectural-styled ceramic sculptures are powerful. I couldn't walk away without purchasing a small vessel for myself. Someday, perhaps, one of his larger fantastic pieces will grace our home.

So, you must be wondering by this point in the blog - where is the creative inspiration that I mentioned earlier? It's coming!

The break in schedule threw me off my usual routine of roll-out-of-bed and head into the pottery cave. This recent humid weather has prevented the pots from drying at any good clip, and the shelves are full. I cannot throw another piece until that kiln gets loaded to make room for more work. My aunt headed home on Friday and I was back into full work-mode swing. The day began with two meetings which consumed about six hours of my day.

It was the second meeting with a very creative, vivacious, intuitive person that got me buzzing around like a bee with new ideas. The word "turquoise" spurred the desire to weave with turquoise colors. As soon as she left, the yarns were flying out of the cabinet, all over the floor, and I was sorting through, matching-up, and warping and weaving. Come six o'clock I realized I needed more black wool yarn. The local fiber shop was already closed, so when I woke the next morning I made my plan to shoot on over to Wag's n' Wool (yep, it is a yarn and dog supply shop all in one....unique!). I bought myself not only the needed black skein, but two other gorgeous colors - one a teal and the other a variegated mix of teals, rust, and blues.

I wove my heart out all day, feeling quite content to be surrounded by plush fibers, sitting in the shade on the deck, finding some relief from the extreme heat of summer. I thought for sure I would wake the next morning to finish the tapestry, but instead, inspiration took me in yet another new direction. I drew up a design for a new entrance to the pottery shop and made a list of necessary materials, and off I went to Machias for landscaping supplies. I worked, possessed, eight hours straight hauling shovelfuls of rock and cedar into a curvilinear pattern, painting a chair, shelf, and sprucing up the door and even the old chipped shingles. I still have some planting to do and some arranging of pots on the shelf, but that little unexpected project is nearly complete.

Today.....anxious to get back to the tapestry that I started three days ago. If finished, I will move on to the second tapestry with the new wool/silk mix yarn (see photo above!!!) and hopefully soon begin an earthy woods-inspired tapestry on the beaver-stick loom. My hunger for weaving right now is insatiable.
Check out Arthur Cadieux's exhibit at Lubec Landmarks/Mulholland Market!!! The show is up through August 3rd.

thinking of visiting Lubec this summer?
Lubec information link


Creative Creations said...

I have been enjoying the weekly visits to Lubec but this time I will respond as well as enjoy. As I looked at the photo down the street to the water,past the yarn shop I could almost smell the ocean. On our last visit we stayed on Campobello...Loved the ferry ride. In fact we were the only people on board. How can a person be so enthralled by water! We love Ohio but wish we could visit your area a bit more often.
I am preparing for an art event - a Final Friday in July celebration and will be working with the owner of a yarn shop where I will demonstrate and display my work.
Soak up the marvelous environment - sights, sounds and smells - for us. Corrine from Ohio

Lili said...

Oh Shanna I have alot of catching up to do over here!! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment for me. That is so cool that you have that directional sign for your business, and your place looks so inviting with that fresh coat of yummy purple paint. I get sidetracked so easily, but I love your little trick to just go with what you are inspired with at the moment! You sound very busy and much more disciplined than I for sure though! ~Lili