Sunday, February 24, 2013

Water, Wind, and Time

Sunday, March 10, 2013
Women's Art: A Conversation with Elizabeth Ostrander and Shanna Wheelock
3:00 the Eastport Arts Center
36 Washington Street, Eastport, Maine
Click here for Shanna Wheelock's website.
Click here Elizabeth Ostrander's website
Click here for the Eastport Art Center website.

Thursday, March 21, 2013
Machias Women's Forum
5:30-8:00 p.m.
Helen's Restaurant, Machias, ME
Presenters: Shanna Wheelock, Elizabeth Ostrander, and Sherry Ashby Cunningham
Topic: How Spirituality informs and inspires our artwork
Save the date and check back for more info.

 Click here for a recent article about the marathon and my artwork in the Bangor Daily News

Check out Maine artist Kenny Cole's blog about his current project "Parabellum".
Chris is collaborating on part of the project. Very cool!
Factory C (or Columbian Canning Plant?) Located behind the old Columbian Store , Lubec, Maine
I have been photographing these ruins for a current art project.

Another shot of the factory ruins.
I collected bricks from the American Can Factory site, North Lubec, and am experimenting with pulverizing the fragments and embedding the dust into clay.
Just a few days after winter storm NEMO, our big boy Bello Shroom was outside enjoying the sunny day melt-off.
I found a recipe that clued me in on how to fry tofu perfectly. No batter involved - just straight up tofu and sesame seeds in olive oil. It is so yummy that we have eaten a version of this three times in the past four or five days.
2013 Bay of Fundy Marathon
Awards are coming along for the Bay of Fundy Marathon. I am giving my wrists a break for a week before tackling the next group of pieces which will be the most intricate and complex of the bunch. These are the tumblers that will be awarded to the teams in the 10k and marathon.
If you are traveling to Lubec during the marathon be sure to book your accommodations sooner rather than later. I know that as of this morning, Away Downeast still has a couple awesome and affordable cottage available.
For a more comprehensive list of B&B's and motels, etc, check out the VisitLubecMaine website.
If you still need help finding accommodations, contact the Bay of Fundy Marathon organizers for suggestions.
Thinking maybe I should change my blog title to "Food, Cats and Art." That seems to sum up most days here in our little nook in the far reaches of the country. The past couple weeks have been fulfilling on all fronts. Chris and I have our super busy times where we find ourselves on the road to various readings, exhibits, meetings, or family events, but other times we are able to find these stretches where retreating to our respective work spaces is unfettered by outside distractions.
I set aside one week to (almost) fully dedicate to the beginning stages of a new art project. Most weeks I am juggling a little bit of "this" and little bit of "that" but this week I wanted to be able to solidify some ideas. For an artist to have that time without outside distractions is worth the weight of any hefty item in gold.
I had been waiting for the right conditions to visit the ruins of an old factory site here in Lubec. On Friday I finally had the opportunity. I needed compliant weather, tide, and Chris. I had never been to the site before and was unsure how approachable it would be. It is not a safe space by any stretch with the massive deterioration but was in better condition than I had expected. I snapped over a hundred photos that have been filed and later this morning I will begin printing them to use as inspiration in both clay, conte, and encaustic.
I am excited by my level of excitement. When I got to the ruins close-up, I swear my heart skipped a beat. Something resonated with me so strongly on such a deep level. With some things in our lives, we don't always understand our reactions, but over time, clarity begins to come forth presenting the bigger picture. For me, with this site visit, I started to understand some of the images that had been emerging in my work over the past couple years. At the time of creating those works, or even recently seeing images in my mind but not being able to translate, this one afternoon allowed all kinds of connections to be realized. The images, understandings, and connections is only in the most infantile stage but at the precipice of unfolding in a most profound way. I can feel it.
It is amazing to look at these ruins and to know that this is not a war-torn village and that these walls and ceilings are not collapsed because of bombs. Merely, it is water, wind, and time that has eroded the structure. Such awesome power in the elements.
Looking at these ruins, even though used for a period of time and when no longer profitable abandoned and left succumb to the elements, there is beauty and reverence. The energy is still. In some ways, a ghostly still. But also, a reverent stillness. Pier stubs emerge from the sand like gravestones. Columns, broken, and slanted, lean against one another like Stonehenge dolmens. Slabs of concrete hang from steel rods exposing an opening in the ceiling that is a gateway to infinite sky. Every square foot guards a memory or story.
At the moment, my mind is buzzing with ideas. This part of the process takes a while for me to decipher. Images snap through mind's eye and it is an art in snagging the right one that can carry and artist through from conception to artwork. My cave is warming up now, waiting me to begin this journey.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Back to Routines Post Nemo

 Trying out some new moves in the kitchen.
 Lottsa little pots are in the works.
So many, in fact, that my favorite clay carving tools have worn out.
Luckily I found a similar set that should arrive soon!
Some test slabs in the works.
Not sure what the end result will be but I'm hoping for something interesting to work with.
Nemo came and went and while much of southern Maine experienced record snowfall, Lubec was dowsed with a mere eighteen inches or less. Our back yard is notorious for high drifts and the wind did not let us down this time. The driveway was nearly bare but the backyard was a weighty three feet deep in most spots. Chris had been away and missed the last couple storms which fell upon me to shovel. I was relieved that he made it home, with only a day to spare, in time to enjoy the hype of a true Maine winter. His California blood, I can say, is now officially transfused to the good ol' "Mainah" type. He shoveled with a smile and didn't complain once about the frigid gusty winds. We also fared well in the electrical sense. Our power flickered off and on a few times but no real outage to speak of. I enjoyed the three days of being "snowbound". It's good to slow things down once in a while.
It's back to regular routines now. Chris spends much of the day in his office writing poetry, working on his novel, and teaching various ethics courses online. I have been focused on carving the herring ware and just began work for the Bay of Fundy Marathon awards. Those two things alone, awards and preparing inventory for summer sales, could keep me busy full time, but I also just tossed the semester work for my MFA program into the mix. I've been a wee bit neglectful on the office type stuff and keeping up with this blog, but I do enjoy the intense focus once in a while and that means letting go of a few things. While I am setting my own schedule for the most part, there are plenty of meetings and appointments that keep me on my toes. Last week I enjoyed an afternoon with some kids at school in the afterschool program. It was an interesting challenge to make paper mache masks with students that ranged in age from four to ten. I am accustomed to multi-age classes, but a span so wide does present its own set of challenges. Luckily I had a couple other sets of adult hands to assist.
February has turned out to so far feel a healthy work pace. January hit me like a tornado quite unexpectedly. I had been thinking that it would be my quiet month, but between jury duty, MFA presentations, the flu, my mom's visit, painting the living room, social engagements, and having a ceiling installed in my cave studio, I didn't have much time for anything art-related. This month has so far been about re-focusing, breathing, and getting back into my artistic groove. No delusions. The March schedule is packed and from what I can see, that will be the norm until after next December's holidays. I have already secured a few craft venues and am waiting on applications for a few others. This is my first full year as a full time artist. It's all a work in progress with much to be learned along the way.
It's a good life.