Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Schedule in Full Swing

 Coming soon:
My official artist website! It's almost ready to go live!!!!
Also, later this summer, my online Cobscook Pottery shop. 
I'll keep you posted on the progress!

 Cobscook Pottery is open for the season. 
Open by chance or appointment most days this summer.

 Jerry Kasunic and Gary Howard expertly move "Razed" from Lubec Landmarks to across the street at Lubec Memorial Library. Thanks guys! 

July 14 -August 8
Bookman, Mosley, and Wheelock
Painting, Sculpture, Encaustic, and Glass

I'm back at the wheel! 
Mead mugs started off this current production run. 

(Sea glass artwork lit up in the window while Royane's opening reception was in progress inside)
Showing at Lubec Landmarks until July 3

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge that unites Lubec, Maine (U.S.) and Campobello, New Brunswick (Canada)
The bridge's 50th anniversary is this summer with a re-dedication ceremony that occurs the same weekend as this year's Lubec Arts Alive event.
View of Water Street from Lubec Landmarks' back deck. Low tide!

Apparently the heat has got to Bouli prompting her to get herself a tall glass of fresh brewed iced tea.

Awake since 3:30 a.m. wondering when I should finally give-in and start my day. Once the mind started buzzing with blog and potting I decided to get out of bed to feed two hungry cats and get things rolling. It's another misty morning. Last night the fog horn lulled me to sleep and this morning I wake to the same. There is a mystical feel to the environment and it is this type of day that ranks high on my most-favorite list.

My mom's visit last week kept things at a slower "vacation-mode" pace, but I have recouped from my down-time and things are heading back to full swing. I finally got into the cave to do some potting which I had not done since perhaps early May. It sure feels good to get my hands dirty again! The glaze firing came out well and production work is about to become serious business. The calendar is about as full as it can be for the summer months with lots of excitement on the horizon.

I am looking forward to vending the Lubec Farmers' Market on Saturdays this summer. We haven't had such a market in years and this one is sounding to be a fabulous line-up with fresh baked breads, herbal teas, garden produce, and cheeses, all locally made. It's pretty cool when you can drive down the road and visit the cows that are providing the milk for your lunch! I won't be milking any cows or selling potatoes grown in a barrel, but I will display my wares that are market-food friendly. Opening day is July 7th, rain or shine. I hear that the ukulele band will be playing, too! So, fabulous food, friends, pottery, and live music. I can't think of a better way to spend my Saturday mornings.

My show at Lubec Landmarks came down on Tuesday and the big shingled column was moved over to the library. I had been stressing over how this would occur without breaking any shingles. Yes, in good ol' Shanna stress-mode fashion I concocted various scenes of mass shingle destruction and nightmares of having to press and fire replacement pieces. So while I am at the gallery with a heap of blankets, pillows, and moving strategies, in walks Gary Howard who immediately assesses the situation and says confidently how easy it will be to move it, "all we need is some rope, a cushion, and a hand truck".  I was of course thinking no way will this seven foot nearly two hundred pound column get from one building to another down a bumpy bricked sidewalk and across the street, up a ramp, and into a new building without some sort of catastrophe. But then Jerry Kasunic showed up and between he and Gary there was not more than a moment of brief reflection on how to accomplish the task. They strapped "Razed" onto the hand truck and scooted it quickly down the curb and across the street. The column will remain at the library into August for the duration of the Bookman, Mosley, and Wheelock exhibit, which officially begins on July 14th. Thank you Gary and Jerry!!!!!

Currently at the library is an exhibit of my students' artworks. The fourth of July committee organized this student showing. Last spring they juried student art from our art show at the school which represented all students in grades Pre-K through eighth. Kerry Brown, Denise Rule, Tami Lee Profit, and Walter Plaut took on the task of selecting representative work from each grade. They hung the show at the library and have set-up a voting system for library patrons to judge the work for various categories. The students will be honored at a reception on July 6th, 5:00-6:30 p.m. Yesterday some of the students gathered at the library for filmed interviews with SAIL (Supporting the Arts in Lubec) which will air on local TV and also be uploaded at some point to YouTube. The kids did a great job and I do appreciate the parents taking the time to bring them in town for the interviews. A huge thank you is in order to Denise, Kerry, Walter, and Tami for organizing this exhibit. I really do appreciate all the work they have done!!!

If you are in Lubec this coming week and have not seen, or want to see again, Jon Wing Lum's documentary "Lubec Arts Alive", the library will be hosting a viewing on Thursday, June 28th, at 6:30 p.m. This year's planning for Lubec Arts Alive is in full swing. For more details on this year's event which includes a "create-in'Lubec" weekend, live art auction, Kids' printmaking, art on the beach, and a Leslie Bowman photography workshop (in conjunction with Tides Institute), visit the official website at:

I just heard a rumble of thunder (I thought it was my stomach at first!) Looks like some more rain coming in. The garden is getting a good soaking and that relieves me of having to water at night. I'm still trying to figure what is spinach and what is weed. It all kinda looks the same to me! Things are sprouting slowly and I still have a few more things to plant (yes, very late!) and the growing season is short here. It's still an experiment about finding our way with what grows and what doesn't in this cool coastal climate. Swiss chard and lettuce grow fine, however, swiss chard and lettuce are apparently the first to succumb to hungry hares.

More thunder rumbles out there. I think I will shut down this computer and start planning my time in the studio. Hoping for a long, productive session this morning.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Perspectives Change

 Bonnie Beard in her Crow Town Gallery studio with some of her recent paintings.
Catch Bonnie's exhibit at Lubec Landmarks July 5-17, 2012.

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine

My mom has been visiting the past few days. This is her annual spring trip to Lubec and we seem to have a routine that we follow each visit. This year we mixed it up a bit with a trip to Bar Harbor. I hadn't been in years and Mom was itching to get back, too. She and Nana, who passed away in 2007, would spend a couple days there each summer. Mom and I trekked out Saturday taking a leisurely pace down route one. We found ourselves at Jordan Pond eating at a restaurant famous for their homemade popovers and their spectacular view of Penobscot Mountain and the Bubbles. A master baker of popovers herself, Nana loved to eat at this restaurant. It was quite fitting to be there at that time since the day before was what would have been Nana's 90th birthday. 

After lunch, we walked down the hill to the pond.  Throngs of tourists were gathered snapping their best shots of this "untainted" piece of nature. I couldn't help but compare the woods to our own back yard. I saw fell trees, but not as many as we have behind our house. Clearly the woods had been "culled" and "preened" to be more aesthetic, but not so much as to lack some semblance of authenticity.  The trail was perfectly laid with crushed rock that directed the flow of humans. I found myself thinking how beautiful a spot, but that it lacked for me the same spiritual feel that the secluded woods offer in our own back yard. Somehow, the mass of people who moved at a speeded pace, directing small children to pose by this or that rock, after gorging bellies on mounds of strawberry jam and popovers took away from the reverence that one might have felt perhaps two hundred years ago, before the tea house was built,  before the path was trucked-in, before thousands of people hopped on a plane to find this spot to snap a picture and buy a sweatshirt that said "Bar Harbor Maine" even though the inner label clearly stated that it was made in some overseas country, presumably in a sweatshop.

Still, I enjoyed my popover and the view and the stories that Mom recalled of Nana and summers spent on Swan's Island. 

After lunch, and after fifteen or so touristy snapshots, we drove in town to the village. I have fond memories of visits in my younger days, shopping in the nifty boutiques, sitting by the waterfront, listening to live music, and watching the people stroll by. The exterior of the buildings are beautiful and well maintained and people seem joyous carrying their bags and licking at their ice cream cones. I made a mental comparison to my New York City trip two summers ago. In New York, people hustle down the street, cell phones in hand, hurried while passing by windows that house upscale goods in air conditioned spaces, interspersed with the local corner bodega. In Bar Harbor, it was shopping bags and ice cream in hand and a turtle pace as people window shopped and sauntered in and out of the open-to-the-sidewalk doors.

Still, Bar Harbor did not have that same pull that I felt as a child or teen. The exterior of everything was appealing, but most shops disappointed with trinket souvenirs and bric-a-brac. I found it ironic how so many people traveled from other countries to visit a destination that sold a lot of plastic and cheap metal trinkets made overseas.  Along the beautiful waterfront, the sound of hammering and heavy equipment prevailed as a large hotel complex building project consumed the street. One of our favorite shops, Song of the Sea, which sold beautiful handmade musical instruments,  was no longer there. Many waterfront shops had been bought-out to accommodate the huge hotel.

I came away from the day trip with a new perspective and reverence for our own area here in Lubec. The environment is still pristine and untouched by corporate development. When you walk into a shop, the owners greet you with a smile and stories are shared. The waiters and waitresses know all the local digs that one should visit, and cars still stop mid-street when recognizing a passer-by for a chat. The eagles circle over head and other wildlife (bear and moose) may be found sauntering down the street without a care to human ogling. Hiking at West Quoddy is peaceful and reverent with trees all in their natural state, some tall and majestic growing out of cliffs, others listing and uprooted and decomposing back into Mother Earth. Nature's recycling at its finest.

Yesterday we spent a day at home but enjoyed an afternoon drive around Campobello Island , which is just over the Franklin Delano Roosevelt bridge downtown, and then out to West Quoddy to see the famous red and white striped lighthouse. Today we will make our way up to St. Andrew's By the Sea, a ninety minute trip from here by car, about a half hour over the Calais/St. Stephen border. It's a quaint little town with art galleries and boutiques.  Along the way, we will stop by The Red Sleigh in Perry and say hi to Georgie.  It's a sweet little shop set in a rustic old barn with local yummies and gifts/art and I am so pleased to be selling some of my pottery there this season.  Somewhere in our travels, we will hit downtown Lubec as well. So much to see and do here - it's hard to fit it all in on a five day visit!

It feels real good to have some breathing space after such a wild and hectic spring. I am managing a few minutes here and there in the cave to do some glazing and I am starting to open the pottery shop on a more regular basis. Tomorrow I take down my exhibit at Lubec Landmarks and hopefully the installation piece, the shingled column, will be successfully moved over to the library across the street. Rachel Rubeor, president of Lubec Landmarks, has recruited some muscle to help with that task. Crossing fingers on it! After that happens, I will remove shelves and pack up the unsold works, patch some holes, and by Wednesday morning have the space all ready for Royane Mosley who will be showing her paintings and glass works. If in the lubec area, check out her show! Her opening reception is Saturday, June 23rd, 4-6 p.m. I hear that there will be some live jazz music!!! I'm looking forward to showing with Royane and Jean Bookman mid July at the Lubec Memorial Library, too.

And, don't miss Bonnie Beard's exhibit which opens July 5th, also at Landmarks. I had the privilege of visiting her studio last week to view some of her recent paintings. I love LOVE LOVE her most recent painting of seaweed. It looks a beautifully orchestrated underwater dance. When you travel to Lubec be sure to stop by her Crow Town Gallery to see her work. It's a beautiful space overlooking Mowry Beach with her studio located in the upstairs.

Time for me to get moving and get showered so we can begin our excursion over the border. It looks like Mom is sleeping in a bit and the cats are still being relatively quiet. I see some clouds outside but we won't let that deter us! The birds are still singing - that's a good sign!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Post-Presentation Relaxation

 Ahhhh...taking some time to put my feet up and wind down. Chris and I enjoyed an afternoon of kayaking on Rocky Lake in Whiting. This place is definitely one of those undiscovered hidden gems!

Series of six pods, ceramic with encaustic.
Shanna Wheelock, 2012

Garden has been planted!
Sun Gold tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, basil, pole beans, squash, zucchini, chard, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and sunflowers.

Yep, That car sure was long overdue a good washing.

Today was the last day of school and in preparation for the impending celebratory circumstance, Chris and I spent yesterday sans work. (Well, almost!) After planting the bulk of the garden in the morning we headed out for a kayak adventure. Had we checked a tides chart, we would have known that our first choice destination in a secluded bay would be primarily mud flats. After that little discovery, we reached for the atlas and found a small lake about 14 miles from home. Rocky Lake, with bright yellow Monet waterlilies in bloom, was a peaceful slice of heaven. The rockface was powerful, the bullfrogs loud, and eagles plenty. We found clusters of frog eggs and several beaver dens. Dragonflies flittered about and not another human soul was to to be found. Home that evening, exhausted, we had a quick meal of scrambled eggs and for the first night in several, I fell sound asleep quickly and deeply.

The weekend previous found me in central and southern Maine. Saturday was my MFA end-of-semester presentation at Heartwood College of Art. I always enjoy my time on campus with my mentors, pod mates and advisors. One thing that I love about being back in school is the critique. It is an invaluable dialogue that gives me a sense of how others view my work and the interpretation of that work. I always come away from the meeting with a lot of food for thought. Luckily I had several hours and over 500 miles of driving this past weekend to process all that was said. I am, at this point, halfway through my master's program. I am proud of my self for coming as far as I have, and I look forward to the second half of the program and seeing where I am taken. My artwork has evolved and gone in directions that I wouldn't have predicted two and a half years back.

After the presentation at Heartwood, I felt a huge sense of relief. The past few weeks were a cluster of mad-artist high energy events: the Landmarks show, the closing of my MFA semester, pottery orders that needed filling, and the "winding down" of the school year, which isn't so much a winding down, rather a cyclone of celebrations, field trips, and art distribution. Today I delivered student work to the West Quoddy Lighthouse Visitor Center and three weeks ago student artwork was prepared for a summer student art showing at the library downtown. So, I am happy to say, that my young student artists are well represented here!

Saturday afternoon was spent with my mom and sis, tooling around in Portland which culminated in a fine grilled meal. There was an impromptu late-night furniture arranging at my sister's place in Hallowell. Her house is on the market and we decided to put in some muscle and start packing things in preparation for her and Neal's move. Chances are the house will sell fast (awesome location, well maintained, historic district, one block from downtown in a a super artsy city and the price is right! I wish I could afford to buy it as a getaway house in Hallowell!!!!)

I'm looking forward to the summer to be the potter for a while, enjoy the garden, and to have some time with family and friends. The bulk of my time will still be spent in the cave and tending to the folks who trek this way to visit the shop. This summer Lubec will try its hand at a farmer's market downtown, Saturdays beginning July 7th, from 9am-1pm. I am planning to set up a pottery display to sell wares. I'll probably spend far more than I make as it is hard for me to resist fresh homegrown and handmade goodies!!!

It is super exciting to see my new website coming together. Phase one of the development is the artist portion of the site which will house primarily photos of my artwork. Phase two, later in the summer, will be an online shopping site for Cobscook Pottery. I am hitting production in two days and will make some final decisions on which pieces to offer online. In the meantime, people who are looking for my functional pottery wares may find them here in Lubec at my shop or at Northern Tides, at The Red Sleigh in Perry, The Commons in Eastport, the Center for Maine Craft in West Gardiner, and at Ironbound Gallery in Camden. Also, my show at Landmarks is up until June 19th. There are still a few items from my Herring Collector's Series available.

Mid July, my work, along with art by Royane Mosley and Jean Bookman, will be on exhibit at Lubec Memorial Library. I'll post updated info when I have it. 

Enough for now. It is getting late and I am on dinner duty tonight. Cooking a special celebration meal for Chris and myself. I am celebrating the end of semester and Chris is celebrating an unusually high number of poetry acceptances this month. The guy is on fire!!! Woohoo!!! Congrats, Chris!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Enjoying the Post-opening Quiet and Solitude

 Chris is hard at work preparing this year's garden plot. We are a bit behind as usual with planting, but the past few weeks have been super busy.

 A picture of Lubec Landmarks where my show "RAZED" just opened. To the left are the old McCurdy Smokehouses. It is Landmark's mission to preserve local history/culture through restoration of the smokehouse. They already restored the skinning shed which is now a little museum. I am pleased that the commission from art sales helps toward this goal!

"Facade" was the final piece to be hung in the show. I finished work right down to the wire, so to say, and am happy that this piece is going to an excellent new home!!!  I love it when one of my artworks resonates with someone that I so greatly admire.

 The opening reception was filled with people that I adore. I am still overwhelmed by the incredible support that I have received in this community. I feel truly blessed and am grateful for the presence of such talented, caring, loving, and uplifting people in my life. Thank you!

 How could I not post this picture? Tina is waving a friendly "hello" to everyone! Incidentally, Tina is an amazing jewelry artist and it was an honor to have her join us at the opening. In the background, Fred Pierce, who organizes Cobscook Bay Music, was a sweetheart to offer up some impromptu guitar playing.  His talent was a beautiful addition to the opening. Thank you, Fred!

Sunday was wonderfully relaxing after all the wild energy and excitement of the previous two weeks. The winds were whipping wild in Lubec so Chris and I took a ride out to the lighthouse to see the waves.

Aaaaahhhhh. Laying in bed at the moment thinking about my blog, listening to the silence in the house save for the wind that occasionally kicks up. The past week or so has been a tornado of activity and this gentle re-entry into the work week is much needed and appreciated. The art opening at Lubec Landmarks was wonderful and all I can think is how fortunate I am to have the life that I have and to be surrounded by such genuinely caring, supportive, and talented people.  It was a real treat that my parents and sister were able to make the trek to Lubec. I loved introducing them to my friends and showing them a bit of what the community is like here. This really is a special place and I think they were able to experience a bit of that.

There were so many highlights of opening day which included seeing friends that I didn't expect to show up due to travel distance. I wish that I could have spent more time with each person but know that I will see them all later in the summer. Have you ever been to an opening where a Maine Coon cat steals the show? It happened here in Lubec. Thank you, Lulu, for coming to the show! Oh, and I must not forget, Daisy Dog arrived in her little buggy as well.  I really do appreciate the furry-friend support!

The night before my opening Chris and I were in Eastport at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art for Nina Bohlen's "Lubec Woods Monotypes".  When viewing Nina's work, I felt a sense of deep reverence for the woods and was transported to a space of great spiritual meaning. Her work particularly resonated with me because it is these same woods of North Lubec that Chris and I look out to and walk in every day; the woods in their natural state of growth and decay, with trees uprooted and leaning. I particularly enjoyed Nina's remark: "I once heard someone say that asking an artist to speak about their art is like asking a plant to speak about horticulture." If you haven't been to the Tides institute to see Nina's exhibit, please do. It shouldn't be missed.

I enjoyed the quiet and solitude of yesterday that allowed the introvert in me to have full acknowledgment. After a hearty home-cooked breakfast with family, I was gifted time in the studio to work on a gentle encaustic piece. I have upcoming deadlines that still loom and a lot to get done this week, but I am feeling pretty good, at this moment, that I will be able to accomplish everything while working in a serene space with much time for reflection.

I am waking quite early lately (around 4:00 a.m.!) and now that three hours have passed, it is time for me to get some wax melting. Copper chakra pods, here I come!