Saturday, November 24, 2012

Heading into the Holidays

Website updated to include online shopping!
I'm excited to announce that my website at now has online shopping! You'll find a selection of my most popular functional pottery items as well as pieces from my new Herring Collectors Series that celebrates the lost sardine and smokehouse industry of Lubec, Maine.
Click here to check it out!
 Herring Sake Set with Tray from the Herring Collectors Series.
Handcarved by Shanna Wheelock
Available for purchase at
click here to go directly to item.

Save these upcoming dates:

Shanna Wheelock Woven Works
One College Drive, Calais ME
Artist Reception
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Friday, December 7th, 5-8pm
1 Elm St., Machias, ME
I'll be there with a selection of pottery. I have never been to one of Machias' First Friday Artwalks...but I hear that they are totally hip and fun!
Thank you to the Beehive Collective for providing space for this event!

 Some of my functional stoneware pottery:
wine chiller, stemless wine tumbler, and flared rim bowl.

It was no small task transferring a fully stuffed 22 1/2 pound turkey from roasting pan to platter. The effort had us all in stitches. Note the deep concentration on Chris' face as he narrowly averts a slip-slide-plop Thanksgiving fowl disaster. I had camera ready just in case things went awry.
Thanks, Aunt June, For a delicious spread and a cozy space to share with family.
Bouli relaxing with a good book. 
We are in the thick of it now: Halloween three weeks ago, Thanksgiving two days ago, and Yule fast approaching. Driving back from Bangor last night houses were lit to the hilt with thousands of mini colored LED lights while inflatable Frosties and Santas bobbed and swayed, waving us on toward a month of decorating trees, feasting on sugary delights, and  gatherings that involve jolly eggnog-guzzling friends and family.
It seems the only thing missing right now is the snow. Lubec still sports a barren landscape with the occasional sea smoke rising from the bay as temps begin to plummet. The last two days of mild-for-the-season weather leave us wondering if winter will show her white face before the reindeer take flight, but not to worry, as the recent forecast inches toward the allusion that icy white flakes may fall tomorrow.
Today is small business Saturday and though much of Lubec's tiny population may still feel the gravitational pull toward big city box stores two and four hours away, I will get the shop heated and open for those who choose to keep it local. Lubec is tiny, but even so, it has much to offer in the way of gift giving, from artsy downeast boutiques to Peruvian chocolates, and of course, pottery. If I wasn't already living here, I would be begging for a Lubec themed holiday from my sweetie....a gift certificate ensemble for quaint lodging, gourmet dining, local shopping, concerts, Tea with Eleanor on Campobello Island, whale watching, and hiking. Better yet, would think to plan that awesome getaway around one of Lubec's 2013 events: The Bay of Fundy Marathon, Fourth of July, Harvest Howl, Summer Keys, Lubec Arts Alive....
Ok...I am starting to sound like an online commercial. Guess I'm just a wee bit proud of this tiny fishing village sitting out here at the easternmost the tip of the country, and feeling very blessed to be able to live here. Just having spent a couple days in one of Maine's largest cities, I am reminded how special Lubec is, with the emphasis on nature and small town community. There are no traffic lights and honking car horns in jams than wind around malls and big box stores where most everything is made in a foreign country, swaying our senses with perfectly-aimed advertising that numbs us to the harsh realities of sweatshop economies. Like I said, Lubec is a breath of fresh air. Literally.
The days are speeding by and I realized this morning that it has been almost three weeks since I sat down at the keyboard to post a blog entry. My annual holiday sale was fun as usual, allowing me the chance to visit with a lot of local friends. I feel very blessed to know so many wonderful people and sincerely appreciate their support over the years. My sister trekked here from Hallowell which made the weekend extra wonderful and the time together gave us a chance to plot holiday festivities and revel in a few good belly laughs.
After the annual holiday sale, I jumped into sculpture mode and have put most of my focus on my MFA work. There was a sprinkling of stray events that deviated me from studio time here and there: a poetry reading at UMM, Lubec Arts Alive meeting, and of course, Thanksgiving with family.
Perhaps the most interesting component of my MFA work the past couple weeks was my visits with a 95 year old woman who has lived in Lubec all her life and began working in the sardine factories at the age of fourteen. She is somewhat of a local legend. Her stories are historical tidbits providing me with information and inspiration for some of my current work. As it goes with the creative process, it can be long and tiring trying to get to the final product. I am the type of person who gets hung up in mapping out the outcome. This probably comes from years of teaching where we always had to define our end goal and plan out the steps to get to that point. I am working on reclaiming the artist in me who knows to trust the intuitive process. It can be a battle.
I am looking at the clock and realizing that if I am to open shop in an hour, I best get showered and ready for the day. Here, at this moment, all is quiet and peaceful. Feeling appreciative that I am not sitting in the big city maze of cars or standing in long lines of overflowing plastic shopping carts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Back Home Again

November 9-11, 2012
Fri. 3-7, Sat. 10-5, Sun. 11-5
Visit us at our Lubec shop this coming weekend to get a jump on your holiday shopping! Shop Maine-made pottery and jewelry, enjoy refreshments and holiday cheer, and sign up to win a Cobscook Pottery gift certificate!

Exciting Announcement!
by Chris Crittenden
(Yep, that's my poet-philosopher husband's latest e-book release!)

 Bricks at Comstock Point. New project developing? We'll just have to wait and see!
 Several loads of pottery fired last week!
 Had a great time vending the Maine Crafts Guild show at the State Museum in Augusta this past weekend.
There are some perks when driving long winding back roads early in the morning....incredible views! I took this shot in Wesley Maine just as I turned onto Rte. 9. The lifting fog was magical.
Okay. Some photos are hard to explain. So I won't. I'll just say that I had yet another memorable and incredible MFA residency weekend in Kennebunk at Heartwood College of Art.  I took LOTS of fantastic photos to share...however, they are on my computer....which is back at HP headquarters because it died on me last week. My pics are, sadly, gone (lesson: BACKUP often!). This is the only photo that I have from the weekend!

I've been itching to blog but a hectic schedule compounded by a broken computer kind of put a damper on things. For the past two weeks I have been slogging along on an old laptop with a malfunctioning keyboard that made typing a single sentence a lesson in patience. Chris left for campus a bit ago and I am now reveling in the fact that I have access to his computer for a few hours to finally type an entry at a normal pace without having to bang the space bar at the end of every word.

I just returned from a few days in central Maine where I participated in a Maine Crafts Guild show at the state museum. I spent a bulk of the past few weeks preparing work. This show carried a bit of jittery angst since I was to be juried. I am ecstatic to report, after a friendly and insightful jury appointment, that I was officially accepted into the guild. I look forward to traveling and vending with this friendly and talented group of artisans. The weekend was especially pleasurable since I was able to connect with family and friends that I don't get to see often enough. I am so incredibly grateful for my parents and sister's help while I was in town, all of whom are now referred to as "Team Wheelock." With car fully packed, I returned to Lubec today where Chris helped to unload the heavy boxes of pottery back into the shop where I will spend a chunk of this week setting-up for this coming weekend's annual holiday sale. No rest for the wicked or the weary!

Chris. Ah Chris. While I was away for my MFA residency weekend two weeks ago, Chris was a busy little poet. He finalized details on a poetry book that is now available as an Ebook on Amazon. We are a very excited household of late. Check it out! (click here)

My weekend residency at Heartwood College of Art was fabulous as usual. Now at midway point in the program I think often how glad I am that I chose this program for my MFA work. It has been the perfect fit for me, very affirming of the artist's journey. An all-around positive experience. I often say that it is a real grass-roots down-to-earth program. I just happen to be in an all-female pod which I love. I admire every woman in the group who is sharing this journey with me.

The upcoming weekend is one that I look forward to. We host our annual Cobscook Pottery holiday sale. My sister, who is a phenomenal jeweler, will visit for the weekend to sell her pieces alongside my work and the other goodies on display in the shop. We'll warm cider on the stove and play some of the, you know, holiday music that has everyone saying "it isn't even Thanksgiving and already they are playing Christmas music!" It will be blues and jazz holiday tunes, so that makes it a little bit better doesn't it? All summer long the visitors to my studio are mainly those who are passing through (ayuh, tourists and summer folks).  But, the holiday sale is mostly year round folks that we know well so it is a fun gathering for me.

I am afraid I have have run out of steam for the night and the deep thoughts about election and hurricane will have to wait for another day. I am glad know that my cousin and friends in NY and NJ and other spots along the east coast are safe and well. My heart was breaking for many, and was as well deeply touched by acts of compassion and generosity.