Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In the Thick of Thesis

Annual Holiday Sale
at Cobscook Pottery
Lubec, Maine
December 5-7, 2014
Fri. 3-7, Sat. 10-5, Sun. 11-4
Refreshments and Holiday Cheer! 

 Herring Platter

 Bouli in the nook helping me write the thesis paper.

 I've been like a cat moving from space to space while writing the thesis. Cold snowy days are perfect for working by the fire. (Okay, so we have only had one snowy day so far this season...but you better believe I took advantage of the opportunity for getting cozy!!!)

 Found bone at Mowry Beach. What is it?

 Heart Stone at Hamilton Cove
Lubec, Maine

 Cascading waters at Hamilton Cove
Lubec, Maine

 Me at the beach. The woolens are in use!

 Seaweed Slugs
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Gull braving the waves on a grey day at West Quoddy.
Lubec, Maine

 Greens and blues at West Quoddy.
Lubec, Maine

 Sunset at Low Tide, Mowry Beach
Lubec, Maine

Gulls and Cormorants at the Breakwater
Lubec, Maine

 McCurdy Smokehouse at High Tide
Lubec, Maine

Gulls on the Breakwater at High Tide
Lubec, Maine

Severed and uprooted, drifted over tides to settle in sand along the shore in some fishing village at the edge of the world.  I feel your pain, amputated at the trunk, plucked from the rich brown earth and tossed to sea. Weathered you wear the sensuous lines of an O’Keeffe oil, like petals resembling hills, undulating like a woman’s curves except where a chainsaw sliced you from your limbs and leaves, exposing rings hundred-fold. If only those rings could talk we would hear the tales of children who built treehouses, birds who perched a lookout, and bears who climbed to reach for honeybees’ hive. Fated to be solitary, landlocked until the next big wave musters the strength to carry you away.

I've been in thesis hibernation for the better part of two months now. Other than a couple walks with friends and a couple evenings out, I have considered myself sequestered. It's a tight schedule that began with four weeks of drawing followed by the current four week writing stint. I will admit that I am getting a bit stir crazy at this point but must stay the course. My friends and family have all been understanding all are allowing me the space I need. Today was a shifting point in the project where I finally felt a bit of peace being able to see how the rest of the paper might come together. The start was rocky. Very rocky. Research took longer than planned and then, I who enjoys writing, hit writer's block. For months I had been looking forward to working on this project and now, suddenly, my voice decided to shrink away.

After a few days of moving from room to room, pacing, grumbling, reading, posting on Facebook, and eating far too much chocolate, I finally settled in. Research writing definitely is a slower pace than blogging. In all honesty, though research is part of my paper, the bulk of the writing revolves around the thesis project.

My thesis project is a series of drawings. I created five drawings and from those have selected three for the final exhibit in January. The essence of the work is a combination of sense of place, vibration/energy, and artist as channel. It's a bit "out there" but, I think, sort of interesting to ponder.

So, tonight I felt I had a handle on the paper and where I am going with it. To celebrate I decided that a bit of normalcy was in order. I took to the cave and started in on holiday orders and here I am after a day of writing....writing a blog. At one time I blogged weekly. I miss these weekly ramblings but, as with most people, life gets in the way sometimes.

During this thesis crunch time I had to let go of two major shows (aka winter income!!!) and my holiday sale is a bit later than usual. It has been scheduled within the two week window of when I pass in my thesis draft and before it is returned to me for edits. I am a bit behind with everything and hope that the later-than-usual holiday open house sale steers clear of nasty winter weather and that I still get to see all the usual suspects that I enjoy catching-up with.

Next week is Thanksgiving. May you all have a happy belly full of pie and time with the ones you love.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Self-Induced Semi-Hibernation

Water, Wind, and Time
An interpretation of Lubec Factory Ruins by artist Shanna Wheelock
 On view at Lubec Memorial Library through September 30, 2014

Thus far the largest showing of my factory-themed drawings, many never-before-seen. Yes, some drawings, paintings, and columns are for sale (I have been reluctant to part with any drawings before this viewing). The library does not handle sales. All inquiries should come directly to me. Information is available at the library.

 Herring tiles that I made last spring were finally installed!

Republic of Georgia arttist Valerian Jikia on his first day to Lubec/U.S.
Valerian was here as a participating artist in the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium. He created a granite sculpture for Lubec (see pic below).
Photo by Jesse Salisbury

Valerian Jikia and his finished/installed sculpture at Stockford Park here in Lubec. Pictured with Valerian is our local SISS sculpture committee (aka the money beggars and event planners). Pictured: Rachel Rubeor, Valerian Jikia, Shanna Wheelock, Barbara Frazier, and Sara McConnell. (committee members not pictured are Karen Burke and Denise Rule) THANK YOU to local businesses who assisted in our fundraising efforts: Cohill's Pub, McFadden's Market, Emera,The Masons, American Legion, Lyon's Market, Crow Town Gallery, everyone who donated prizes for our raffles, chili cooks, and all of our generous financial supporters!!! There were many!!!)
Photo by Katherine Cassidy

 "Beyond the Horizon"
by Valerian Jikia
Located at Stockford Park, Lubec, Maine

"What If I Dived Into This Dance"
Encaustic painting on birch panel
for the third annual invitational "Night" show at Catbird Seat Gallery, Eastport.

 West Quoddy on a late summer day.
Lubec, Maine

 Cat Food Factory
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Lazing Kelp
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Whelk eggs
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

Making LOVE on the rocks
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

Move over Sothebys! Karen Burke and me on the stage getting ready to begin the art auction in an effort to raise funds for the Valerian Jikia sculpture. There was a great turnout at Crow Town Gallery (thanks for letting us use the space Bonnie!). Chris Crittenden gave us quite a show as the live auctioneer! Thanks to all the artists and art supporters who participated!
Photo by Goodman/VanRiper Photography.

Live auctioneer Chris Crittenden fetches a high price for this oil painting by Leslie Bowman. Bonnie Beard was our resident "Vannah White".
Photo by Goodman/VanRiper Photography.

I happened upon a film production at McCurdy Smokehouse, downtown Lubec.

Herring work in production.

Sabbath meal with the Rubenstein/Motzkin clan. Always a treat!
Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein shows off his freshly baked challah loaves. They were DELICIOUS!!! Lucky us to be sent home with some!!!

Rabbi Linda Motzkin and son Ari with this magnificent foraged-berry pie that we gorged on for dessert!

Rabbi Linda Motzkin with her artwork on handmade deerskin parchment. Learn more at:

My first mackerel catch down at the pier! 
A fisherman I am not, but it sure was yummy!

Biking with Chris along the trail in Machias.
(well, taking a break in this photo!)

Pirates arrived in Lubec by air, sea, and....Harleys?

My pottery display at the 29th annual Mount Desert Island Directions Show in Bar Harbor.

I know. The post title is confusing. Those who know me well know that hibernation time does begin for me normally until January.  This has been an exceptionally hectic summer with committee work on top of vending, running the shop, and a bit more travel for family and friend functions than usual. I am just now tying up ends and beginning the last leg of my Heartwood College of Art MFA program. Five years in the making and the final four months is a delve into the world of thesis. It is a tight schedule that we have been handed and that means no time to fool around. Okay, so you may find me at the Tavern for one last hoorah and there are a couple more art festivals to vend, but other than that, it is me, a stack of books, an array of tasty hot press deckled-edge paper, and a pile of my favorite pens. I know that you all will understand my planned absence and why at times I will have to decline those tempting invitations to all things wicked, wild, and fun until the project at hand is complete.

I have been away from blogging due to all the other hooplah but the neverending stream of photos above gives you an idea of what has been going on in and around Lubec. If I am not at the Lubec Farmers Market on Saturdays I am away at some other craft fair. Bar Harbor was extra fun this year as my friend Becky vended her wares a few aisles over from me. Martha Stewart did pass by with a smile and a hello but she declined my dinner invitation. Imagine that! Passing up a chance to eat from handmade Herring ware! Maybe another time.....

The past year and a half I have worked with a committee of five other women to raise funds for the Valerian Jikia sculpture via the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium. Excitement abounded yesterday as the massive granite artwork arrived on two flatbeds for installation at Stockford Park.
This is the first of its kind here in Lubec- and puts us on an official downeast sculpture map. Kudos to all who made this happen! It was a pleasure to meet Valerian who hails from Republic of Georgia. He put his heart and soul into this artwork and we are all so proud of him!

A collection of my factory-themed artworks are on exhibit at Lubec Memorial Library through September 30th. This is the first time that I have seen the bulk of my drawings (over fifty!) as a collection. I have been working on them for almost two years and most times they rest in folders and pads. Occasionally a few make it to my studio wall but the turnover rate is steady as I am always creating new works. For the first time I decided to price some of the drawing. Not all are for sale as I hope to have them printed in limited editions, but some of the smaller detailed works are up for grabs. Artists understand is sometimes hard to let go of new work. Alas, I am ready for some of my "babies" to make their way out into the world.

This week I will be firing and glazing to prep for my next two shows while segueing into the thesis work. There is much ritual involved. If you see me out and about with camera in hand...that is part of the research component. I am looking forward to the immersion that is soon to come!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Come visit me at the 
Maine Crafts Guild 39th Annual Directions Show 
at Mount Desert Island
August 1-3, 2014

Save these dates as well!

August 23rd, 9am-4pm
Quoddy Bay Artist Studio Tour

August 23rd, Opening Reception at 5:00 p.m. 
SACRED: Women in Vision
At the Next Door Gallery
Eastport, Maine

August 24th, 4:00-7:00 pm: Art Auction at Crow Town Gallery
To support the Lubec faction of the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium
With LIVE auctioneer Chris Crittenden!

 Herring Tiles for private home installation.
Almost time for them to be installed!

 Nature: Rothko style
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Chanterelle season!
Found on the birthday mushroom excursion this morning!

Hijacked on my birthday by Lisa, Leslie, and Angus to scout out 
some fabulously delicious wild edibles!
See photo above!

 Lubec Farmers Market up and running!
What a treat to have Curt and Karen Shirer share their talents with us last weekend!
Check out their blog!

Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine
 Green and Stone
Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Mowry Beach at Low Tide
In view: Campobello, Grand Manan, and West Quoddy

 Thanks, Mark Buell! 
The music was phenomenal at our KINDRED: Women in Vision opening at Mulholland Gallery!

 Rock reflection at Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Ledge, Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

 Foggy sunset at Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

Stained glass evening light at Congregational Church, Lubec, Maine

 Women in Vision!
Elizabeth Ostrander, Sharon Mack, Sherry Ashby Cunningham, Shanna Wheelock, and Lisa Marquis-Bradbury
Thanks for the photo Faye Mack Photography!

 Hurricane Arthur swooped through town and did far more damage than we ever expected. Some folks were without electric power for five days. In good ol' Lubec fashion, everyone chipped in to help their neighbor as needed.

Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine

Hanging with my family for a birthday celebration at Reid State Beach.

Artist friend Diane Langley in her Wildwood Gallery on Westport Island, Maine

 Bouli enjoying summer.

 Critters all around us! Two hares regularly snack just outside my studio.

Found this sweetie in the shop!

Lovely loon at Indian Lake, Whiting Maine.
The loons always greet us when we kayak on their lake.
Our first kayak of the season!
 My friend and teaching colleague from eons ago, Donna Dachs, FINALLY made her way to Lubec!!! I think she is hooked!!!
In this pic, East Quoddy Head, Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada

 Chris and me at Reid State Beach.

Enjoyed a beautiful summer wedding while playing Maid of Honor at my friend Becky's wedding. What a gorgeous day for love, celebrated waterside then on a boat cruise around Casco Bay.

I guess today is what some would refer to as a "milestone". At precisely 11:42 p.m. this evening I will be forty-five years old. I noticed that I hadn't blogged in over two months which is a deviation for me from the norm. Today I woke with the "plan" to do a very specific set of things that I either wanted to do or felt that needed to be done. As with most plans, they went out the proverbial window. I did manage to re-arrange the shop, went to the beach, and am now writing this blog entry. All three of those things were on "the list". I did neglect, however, to clean and work. I am not crying over this, not by any stretch, as the day began in a quite lovely manner with a bit of spontaneity. I was hijacked by two friends, first thing in the morning, and taken on a mushroom scout deep in the woods. In the past, with deadlines and orders looming, I would have denied myself the pleasure of such an excursion, but the "new" me, the "another year older and wiser" me found a "yes" smoothly rolling off the tongue before even having time to run down the mental list of reasons to say "no".

It feels to me that a lot of how I go about life has been changing. One thing that I have been thinking about lately is fear, where it comes from, how we create and propel it, and how to overcome it. I have a couple handfuls of fears that have accumulated over the years. Some reach back to as young as three years old and some were developed not much more than a decade ago. Most of these, when examining and analyzing with my rational mind, actually seem sort of unfounded. Sure, there was something that triggered the fear, but to hold onto that fear for decades has come to seem somewhat irrational. 

To each person their fear, whatever it may be, is psychologically huge. To an outsider that same fear may seem silly. I thought of this two days ago while I watched with interest a spider crawling over my arm hair. That same day I saved (yet another) mouse from Bouli, carrying it to safety. I have watched others squeal in terror when they come anywhere near such critters, but to me, they are harmless. 

That being said, my fear of bees to some would seem disproportionate to the probability of actually being stung. I have thought in my mind, is it such a bad thing to be stung? Sure, it hurts, but in the whole scheme of things, other things hurt much worse. That fear I trace back to being three years old and riding my "Big Wheel" in the barn. I noted a large bumble bee in the window pane and thought to myself that if I left it alone it would not hurt me.  After all, I had been told this before. I continued to ride my bike, minding my own business, when that fat aggressive bumble bee flew on over to give me a good ol' sting. Ironically, my grandfather had nicknamed me "Bumble Bee" long before this incident. 

Three years ago Universe forced me to face my phobia by sending a swarm of thousands of bees to my studio. It was then that I began to tackle my fear. After the incident I found myself wanting to try my hand at beekeeping. My phobia was not instantly cured, but I can say that now, three years later, I have done well. At the beach last weekend a bee landed on my abdomen. In the past I would have panicked, swatted, and ran. Instead, I calmly waited for the bee to fly away. That same day I purposely stood near dozens of bees busily pollinating fireweed.

One fear down, a handful more to go. 

I have tackled two others in the past couple months, both major in my eyes. One fear that I faced no doubt would seem silly to others, but the other was (and is) much more complex and I am still working at it. Next week I face another fear that I have held onto since I was eight years old and soon hope to face another that has been with me since thirteen. A few more in line will need to be tackled in later months. All I can say for certain at this point is that it feels good, REAL GOOD, to be doing this clearinghouse of sorts, to be letting go. These are my stepping stones. For now I feel brave.

The real test will come, though, when I find myself at a crossroads as we so often do in life. Most do get past fear and take a plunge to move forward but it usually comes with much emotional turbulence. These stepping stones are great practice, but the real test is whether or not that turbulence can be quelled in a timely manner. We have come accustomed to being controlled by our fears in attempt to hold onto false security, and fear and false security are plentiful.

I think, I hope, that I am on the path to living more fully, more fearlessly.

So far so good.