Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harvest Howl Postponed

I have woken to major downpours here in Lubec, which means that the Harvest Howl has been postponed until Next Weekend, Saturday October 6th. . Crossing fingers for clear skies for a few hours so that vendors can set up and hay rides and games can take place. I'll be back to blogging soon...busy busy!
The Lubec Harvest Howl
Saturday, October 6th
Downtown Lubec
For updated the link below:
As scheduled....
Lubec Arts Alive hosts an
Saturday, September 29th
37 Water Street, Lubec
(next to Lubec Hardware)
Supplies generously donated by Claudia Mahlman to help support Lubec Arts Alive.
New and gently used paints, canvases, frames, drawing supplies, specialty papers, art bins, portfolios, tools, sewing supplies, and more!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Busy Autumn for Cobscook Pottery

Save these dates!
Cobscook Pottery mugs by Shanna Wheelock from the Herring Collectors' Series
Cobscook Pottery will be showing at:
16th Annual Crafts at the Museum Maine Crafts Guild Show 2012
at the Maine State Museum Cultural Building
230 State St., Augusta, Maine
Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
FREE Admission
"Come meet 30 of Maine's finest craftspeople and begin your holiday shopping at this beautiful light-filled show of heirloom-quality work that will enrich any one's home, body, and soul."
Stoneware mugs by Shanna Wheelock of Cobscook Pottery
Fifth Annual Cobscook Pottery Holiday Open House
At Cobscook Pottery and Fiber Arts
Lubec, Maine
Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11
Friday 3:00-7:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
This year keep your holiday shopping local with finely crafted Maine made gifts. Join us for holiday cheer, yummy treats, great handmade gift ideas, superb packaging, and a chance to win a Cobscook Pottery gift certificate! Start your holiday shopping early while supporting a local business.
(Online shopping coming soon!)
"Grass for Sarah" by Shanna Wheelock
woven copper and wool, 2011
Shanna Wheelock: Woven Works
at Washington County Community College
Date TBA
(A few details to work out, but the work is on-site and ready to hang. Check back for offical dates)
Visit Cobscook Pottery at the
Harvest Howl
downtown Lubec
September 29, 2012
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
(rain date September 30th)

 Cold weather food is on the menu lately.
 We were surprised to still find wild chanterelle mushrooms in September!
 Bouli has developed unusual white markings on her dark brown ears that resemble the vein structure of a leaf.  At first we thought that she was losing her ear fur, but upon closer inspection we found that the fur has actually turned white!
 Ms. Porcupine has been making herself right at home in our backyard. Given that a porcupine's life span can be fifteen years or more, it is possible that this is the same porcupine that has been sleeping in the spruce behind our house since we first moved here ten years ago.
 Pots-a-plenty have been thrown and are now trimmed and drying in preparation for their first firing. The drying has been extremely slow this summer. Pottery sort of operates by its own schedule.
 Jonathan and Linda from "Slice of Heaven Bakery" in Saratoga Springs sent this picture of their freshly baked New York bagels in one of my bowls. Yum!
 This season's last weekend for the Lubec Market was still hopping! The line is always long when pastries are involved.
 Sarah enjoyed the morning spinning wool at the Lubec Market.
She knits beautiful shawls, sweaters, scarves and hats.
According to the calendar it is still summer, but the cool nights and falling leaves seem to signal an early change on the horizon. Lubec benefited from an unusually warm and sunny season with less fog than forecasted so I won't complain. The birch trees are already shedding their green to golden appendages and windows are sealed tight once dark ascends. Barefoot much of the past three months, those plush, colorfully striped, fuzzy warm socks have made a reappearance.
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year, signaling a change of routines and the onset of a what most refer to as "the holiday season". Labor Day sent kids and teachers back to school, leaf-peeping season soon begins, and before we know it, pumpkins will be carved, turkeys baked, and trees decorated. Anyone who has been in New England in late September to early October marvels at the bursting orange, red, and yellow atop trees. The scent of burning leaves wafts through the air, and front yards begin to display an array of creatively carved jack-o-lanterns. Crunchy leaves underfoot offer their own music and warm breath exhaled into the open air punctuates the crispness of the falling temps. What's not to love?
Even though not returning to teach this fall,  my internal clock still recognizes the change. The pottery business has begun to shift from primarily stocking the shop and visiting with guests to planning for upcoming activities. This squirrel is storing  her nuts, so to say. I am making lists of what needs to be accomplished to prepare for the upcoming addition of a shopping component to my website and vending schedules are being set. The next few months through December will be rigorous but I am up for the challenge and look forward to each new experience.
New for me this year is that I will be vending my functional pottery, along with the Herring Collectors' Series, at the Maine Crafts Guild show at the Maine State Museum in November. I am pleased to be accepted into this juried show and to be able to exhibit my wares in my hometown area. Preparing for this venue is at a different level than shows that I have vended in the past. The preparations are grand and require very specific booth items such as professional drape and lighting systems. I have spent a bulk of this past week researching the backdrops and since it is a hefty investment I want to be sure to make the best decisions the first time around. And to add another dimension to the complexity of diving into the world of juried fine craft shows, the booth space is tiny - only 6'x10'. I will not only have to create an aesthetically pleasing booth, but I will need to stock the wares in an extremely efficient manner. I consider this first showing with the Guild my trial. While at the show my booth and work will be juried a second time. The hope is that I will become eligible for full guild membership for 2013. Wish me luck!
Keeping up with showing my wares in five shops and galleries throughout Maine as well as in my own shop has been a challenge. Like I said above, pottery has its own schedule and summer is short. Pre-planning is a must since it takes weeks for a piece to be made from the first step of wedging to the final step of the second kiln firing. I experimented with a few new items this season and when certain pieces have turned out to be good sellers it still takes a few weeks to get a second run of the work complete. This winter I will have the advantage of building stock when the sales begin to slow. (Again, that squirrel storing her nuts!). I also see the winter months as a time for experimentation.
The pottery will share the stage with continued MFA studies at Heartwood College of Art. I am just beginning my sixth semester in the program, officially squeaking past the halfway mark. The reading assignment is a bit heavy and will spur some writing soon enough as well as the sculptural works. The physical component is at a slower pace to start in large part due to lack of clay. Two thousand pounds of the moist, earthy concoction (yes, a ton!) is scheduled to be freighted way downeast end of next week. Word of the wise (or not so wise) to potters....don't wait to order your clay when the school year is just beginning and every school in the state just about has put in their clay order as well. I forgot about this little detail and have been twiddling my thumbs and rationing the remainder of my clay to create only what is necessary to get by in the short term. It's slim pickings down there in the cave!
Speaking of the cave, it needs a good cleaning, or rather, neatening. Well, yes, it should be cleaned as well, but that is a far more daunting task. For today, I will get the last pile of trimmings picked-up and the space ready for sculpture. I am crossing fingers for some good drying weather so that I can get a bisque load fired this week and hopefully do some glazing by next weekend. Life is never dull around here!

Kudos to Jean Bookman and Sue Reilly of Lubec who spent the past year collecting trash from the Lubec shoreline to create a HUGE labyrinth at Flatiron Corner. They incorporated the spiritual ritual of walking a labyrinth with an educational component to bring awareness to the man-made pollution that plagues our seas. Wing Lum was on site to film the event and John Rule photographed for the Quoddy Tides...but guess who forgot to snap a few pictures? Yep. I guess I was too caught up in the moment to remember a photo for the blog. If someone emails me a digital pic, I will do my best to get it posted here. Pretty nifty!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On the Road and Back Again

Harvested from "The Tomato Jungle"
(aka "our messy veggie garden")
For the first time at our homestead in Lubec, gorgeous sunflowers have bloomed!
My former student Mara, now an architecture student in college, stands in front of her sunflowers on the gorgeous duct tape mural that she visualized and facilitated for the Lubec Market.
Cinder Conk, performing Balkan music at the Lubec Market. How many farmers markets do you know of that have live Balkan music?!
Check out their music at:
Feast with the Rubenstein/Motzkin clan, visiting Lubec from Saratoga Springs, New York.
Chris stands in the middle looking as though he is trying to talk his way out of some sort of mischief. Check out Linda and Jonathan's "Bread and Torah" website - where art, bread, and spirituality meet!
 I enjoyed these accommodations during  my weeklong stay at Berri's house in the heart of Kennebunkport. Thanks, Berri! Hey - this gorgeous house with character (and awesome porch, artist studio, and backyard!) in a wonderfully artsy coastal village is for sale. Interested? I wouldn't wait too long!
Wax resist on paper at Kim Bernard's
Charyl and Patrice trying out their new mold-making skills at Kim Bernard's Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat in Kennebunkport. Check out Charyl's work at:
 I got to try mixing a batch of encaustic medium (beeswax and damar resin).
It looked like a shimmering pot of gold!
Kim set-up the pendulum for workshop participants to try.  Here is the beginning of the pendulum spin with hot wax dripping from a small opening at the base of the aluminum cone.
 Almost complete!
Adult spin art!
I returned to Lubec after eight days away to do some of the more mundane tasks on my to-do cleaning out my studio closet. What a mess!
 Several hours later....
The last time I blogged I had just announced my resignation from the public school job that I have held for ten years. In fact, the last fourteen years of my life, until this week, I have been in a classroom handing out art portfolios to kids the day after Labor Day. This year, I spent that day organizing my thoughts around "next steps".
Up until the official start of the school year, I still felt the usual anxiety around time running out and not being able to accomplish all that needed to be done. But once yesterday was here, I felt a calm come over me. As usual, things popped up that were unexpected, but instead of stressing over whether or not I could finagle the schedule to deal with them, I just kept telling myself that I had plenty of time to figure things out. And so that has been how the last three days have been for me - figuring things out as I go.
In preparation for this new journey as a full-time artist, I cleaned out my very messy studio closet. I am the type of person who feels unable to begin a new project unless things around me are in order. It's one of my personality quirks. So, once that closet was cleared and re-organized (a several hour project!) I settled in to working on my MFA proposal for my sixth semester at Heartwood College of Art. Once that was handed-in for mentor perusal, I moved onto studio tasks. A pile of pottery had collected that needed shipping to various places across the U.S. and there were calls to be returned, vending schedules to be worked out, and supplies to be ordered. I'm still working on all these things today, but managed to toss in a kiln bisque load and a short throwing session before the thunderstorm hit. Tomorrow, after a few hours at the potter's wheel, I will hit the road to deliver work for an upcoming solo show at Washington County Community College.
As school begins, I am thinking of my students that I have bonded with over the past ten years at Lubec Consolidated. Their faces pop into my mind and their incredible colorful artworks and art shows. I look forward to going into school to visit them once everyone has adjusted. What I am not missing is all that "other stuff".....inventory, sorting schedules, purchase orders, recertification paperwork, sub plan packet, grading, rubric writing, and curriculum aligning. If teaching was only about teaching, it would be a dream job. But it isn't. The demands are high, the pay low, the stress through the roof. People who have barely set foot in a classroom, if at all, make laws and are quick to discredit. It boggles me how much mud-slinging occurs around teachers and education nowadays. As they say, unless you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes.....
I am so grateful that in my ten years at Lubec School I was surrounded by an immense amount of community support. Without that support, the art program would not have flourished as it did.
While my fellow former colleagues were in workshops to prepare for the year ahead, I was in Kennebunkport for a week to assist Kim Bernard as her "work-study" at the Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat. A lively group of twenty artists from all over the U.S. congregated to play with melted wax. I loved their energy and laughter and was continually amazed at the creativity and talent. Kim is an expert at organizing her workshops and is a patient and informed teacher. It was an honor to work alongside her. I was additionally blessed to be able to stay with Berri at her gorgeous and peaceful abode, which was located right down the street from the workshop venue. Most days I walked to the carriage house where my duties began at 7:45 a.m. Often, Berri and her greyhound rescue dog, Pencil, would join me for the early morning jaunt. Near the end of the week I snagged a couple hours to myself to enjoy a walk to the beach at sundown. Sitting in the cool sand, listening to the waves comb the shore, a full blue moon on my left, and the darkening pink and grey sky on my right....there was nothing more perfect in the world at that moment.
The week out of town, even though I was busy with assistant duties, was a bit of a respite from the hecticness of August. August is always super busy here in Lubec. The shop is active, I have been vending the Lubec Market, trying to keep galleries stocked, attending family gatherings, and of course, organizing Lubec Arts Alive. August is also the biggest tourist month for Lubec, and in August, many of our friends who live in places far away return for their annual downeast excursion.
We first met Jonathan and Linda in 2006. They are an incredibly interesting couple from New York, co-Rabbis in a Saratoga Springs synagogue. Jonathan is a bread maker, and Linda an artist and scribe. They are "Bread and Torah" and run "Slice of Heaven Bakery" out of Temple Sinai. When they visit Lubec, we feast and participate in conversations where we always learn something new and interesting. This year's visit was additionally exciting because their daughter Ruhi had just become engaged to her partner Jacob. The proposal occurred here at the West Quoddy lighthouse! Jacob and Ruhi are following in the footsteps of their parents, studying to become Rabbis as well. It was an honor to be in the presence of these four insightful and compassionate community leaders.
A few days before I hit the road for Kennebunkport, Chris and I ventured to Eastport where I was one of five women to present a short discussion on the topic of "A Women's Aesthetic" at the Eastport Art Gallery. I look forward to continuing work with this group of artists, brought together under the guidance and vision of Sherry Ashby Cunningham. It looks like we have a group show on the roster for next summer - and from there - it's all an adventure!
I am about to read the first chapter of Chris' novel. It's still in the editing stage but I think I have finally harassed him enough into letting me begin the reading. So, for now, I will sign off and settle into the night with a chapter and a cup of tea, and a toast to new beginnings!