One last post!

In honor of my last day at Spindleworks, some favorite memories: IMG_1518

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Sara teaching Nancy B. how to throw on the wheel with only one hand--a two-person art-making technique. When Caroline began telling me, "I know you!" Waltzing with Mitch in the sunny drawing room one early afternoon. Angela's refrain: "I'm a flower child from the '60s". Cathy's morning cheer of my name! Bo and Deirdre's printmaking class--and just observing the work of all the artist mentors with the artists, the constant flow of teaching and exploring. Danielle answering the phone. Maureen helping me to hang the show. Denae helping me knit. Teresa teaching me how to crochet!

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Every day at Spindleworks was something new, something different, something joyful and challenging and interesting. I will miss every artist, staff member, and volunteer dearly, but I am unendingly grateful to them for taking me in, letting me be a part of the family, and teaching me more than I think they know.

I don't want to say goodbye to everything that I have found at Spindleworks--but luckily, I don't have to. I will see you all in the Spring! IMG_1335

Reflections: On Being The Artist

My last Monday at Spindleworks! Spindleworkers have taught me to celebrate, not to compare. At school, at other jobs I've had, competition is seen as part of the pathway to success. There can only be one school president, a handful of magna cum laude graduates, one NCAA champion. Congratulations come from being the best, not just from being.

Spindleworks celebrates being. Being, as represented through paint and pencil, fiber and ceramics, uncountable mixed medias. The message from the artist mentors is simple: make whatever you are inspired to make. You can make anything. Put whatever is inside yourself on your page, or your pottery, or your plank of wood. Don't worry about what other people are doing--you are here for you, for your artwork, for your vision.

And everyone makes such beautiful, interesting, revealing works of art. All different, all vibrant, a reflection of the diversity within these blue walls.

Angela's needlepoint is colorful, vibrant, mobile.

The lack of competition does not mean that the artists do not want to be better, because they do. There is a constant desire to learn more, try more, sell more, make more--than yourself. Not than your neighbor, or the other artist who weaves, or than the artist mentors. Just yourself.

In celebrating each self, the work that each artist does, focus is shifted from being the best to doing one's best. Taking agency over one's own work, finding pride in one's own work, in the admiration of others. Instead of putting each other down or feeling afraid of the accomplishments of others, artists are encouraged to relish in the wonderful work of their peers, to support each other, and to be autonomous art-makers.

Nancy B. loves to show me her finished work. "Melelody," she'll say, "Look!" I'll respond by telling her what I like, what I notice in her intricate drawings. Today I remarked, "This work is amazing!" She replied, "I am amazing!"

Nancy with a recent work of intricate beauty.

Just like everyone, Spindleworkers don't always know what to do. No one has endless creativity or patience or self-esteem. But the determination of this place, of the people here, to support individuality and art-making and each person's work, is a message that will stay with me.

I've been working out in the pottery studio, trying to learn a few skills. On Friday Diane, who is a pottery master, was observing my color experiments. Offhand, I asked her, "What do you think?" She replied, "You tell me. You're the artist."

Spindleworks has taught me a million things, like it does for most people who walk in these doors. One of the most important: I am the artist.

Diane, Kim D. and Kelly enjoying work in the clay studio!

What Goes Around Comes Around (Welcome, Celina!)

Last week, Celina Garcia began as a full-time artist mentor at Spindleworks. A recent graduate of Bowdoin College, Celina is quickly becoming part of the fabric of daily life at Spindleworks. Artists are eager to learn from her skills as a photographer and her talents in other mediums! Celina and Jimmy work in the painting studio.

One of Celina's first projects has been helping to prepare the new show in the Whatnot Gallery! "What Goes Around Comes Around" is opening on August 3rd. The show features circular art in a wide variety of mediums. In the hallway hangs artwork by the wonderful Karen.

I had taken the synchronicity of the art hanging all around Spindleworks for granted, but helping to ready the show taught me that--like in the creation of the art itself--time and consideration is required to make the final display seem effortless and coordinated.

What Goes Around Comes Around...sneak peek!

In other news from the week, on Wednesday all of Spindleworks gathered to watch the first cut of a documentary about the artists and the artwork of 7 Lincoln Street. Bill Kunitz began filming and interviewing a few years ago. The documentary was a wonderful snapshot of life at Spindleworks, encapsulating the community impact, immense creativity and sweet relationships of this place. It was a touching reminder of the diversity of people that Spindleworks affects, every day.

So, come by and see What Goes Around Comes Around in the next few weeks! And have a wonderful weekend, from everyone here at Spindleworks.

The loom room was packed to watch Bill's movie.

Good Energy

It's July--almost August--and summer is fully underway, but the Spindleworks house is free of the too-common midsummer blues. Instead of wilting, or fidgeting, or sulking under a thin layer of sweat, the artists are bursting with energy and producing as much amazing art as always. I think some of the energy comes in with the Maine air, through the open windows and doors, in one nostril during outdoor lunch and out the other in the painting room. Most it comes straight from the dedicated, creative spirits who work here.

Everyone has bad days, hard days, sad days, but it's easier to have a good day on a day like today, a sunny day, an art-filled day. Spindleworkers know about the bad days, but miraculously, the good energy of the whole house is rarely overturned. Through challenges and scuffles, Spindleworks remains a place dedicated to its cause of art-making and community-building.

There are smiles to be found at Spindleworks around every corner. Today: a group gathered in the dance room to learn a dance routine for So You Think You Can Dance's "National Dance Day" (video forthcoming). Eight artists worked solemnly on their pottery, using skills built up over several years. Nancy B. painted in shiny gold. Danielle sported a new hat from camp. Lloyd laughed until he nearly cried.

There is joy at Spindleworks, despite adversity. There is excitement for tomorrow. There is good energy--not to be taken for granted.

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An ebullient Nancy B. at the wheel!

Angela strikes a pose!

Creation of a Birdhouse with help from Spindleworks Staff & Volunteers

I asked Alex if we can do a birdhouse and she said yes. Alex is a volunteer and she is doing an internship. And I told her I had to do some drawing first and then I will show Maureen the sketch I did and she said we can make one. Maureen is an artist mentor and she helps me do woodworking. Maureen said we have to do some different things to it and I said, that will be okay. I want to make some thing where no one did it before. It is my first one I did and I love it and cannot wait to see how it comes out and I am putting on shingles to the roof and the side of the house. When I am finished with it I will paint it.

I talked to Maureen and I was looking out the window and was seeing different roofs and colors and she said to me that you can make it what you want to do.

I love when the volunteers and the artist mentors come here to Spindleworks and teach me things. The mentors are teachers. Maureen showed me her work and then I could do my own creation. Cathy will show her textile painting and ask if you want to make one in your own style. I love to learn a lot and they are so nice to me. I love to come here and we have a lot of good teachers working here and they teach me a lot of things, and what they do and I love to see their work too.

I am happy to come here and love the place.

By artist Kim Christensen

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Shingles!

Beautiful

My name is Barbara CarterI live in Bowdoin. I have been here at Spindleworks for five year. I like to be an artist to make a lot of art. We sell art at Spindleworks you can look around the house see the art and the store. I am on the store team I do the shelve organize. I volunteer at the Coffin School to teach the kids to weaving on a table loom and cardboard loom. I like to volunteer at the school because to learn about the kids because they teach us to be calm. They come to visit us after the year end I like to give a tour around the house and I like the letters to us at Spindleworks because I feel happy they send the letters to us.

By artist Barbara Carter

Barbara working on her blog post.

Throwing like a Potter

Spindleworks is a place of constant learning and teaching: peer to peer, staff to staff, staff to artist, artist to staff, staff and artists to visitors. Artists are constantly working to improve their skills in various studios. Today was the first day of Wheel Week, when Sara teaches artists to throw on the pottery wheel. Throwing is an immensely hard skill--it requires knowledge, patience and exquisite care. Meanwhile, the possibility looms over the most experienced potter that with a slip of the hand, the structure will collapse back into amorphousness.

Watching new potters at the wheel was delightful. The wheel was psychedelically spattered with wet clay. Artist brought various attitudes and levels of skill. The different sets of hands shaping the silky clay was mesmerizing, as was the whirring of the wheel.

A tricky skill with big payoff--some artists made lovely creations, despite occasional mishaps. A great joy of being at Spindleworks is seeing the eagerness and determination with which artists tackle new projects, the boundless peer support through the learning process, and the absolutely amazing guidance and talent of the staff. When finished and on the store shelf, he beautiful work speaks for all that and much more.

Michelle, Sara, and Diane at the wheel.

Michelle's hands.

Thrown pieces!

Emilie's Words

My best passion of work is to make tons of stories I’ll tell you the facet piece of mine I am going to write about my straight job as the voice artist who writes it on the paragraph of mine to get the new straight A’s and thanks a bunch. By artist Emilie Williams.

Portrait of the Artist

Sounds at Spindleworks

Spindleworks is a visual place: every cranny bursts with projects, paint splatters, embroidery floss in colors Crayola hasn't named. The people of Spindleworks are visual also--artists and mentors alike are observers, rememberers, noticers of subtleties that explode into works of art. But Spindleworks is also a place of sound.

Wednesday morning begins with dance class at 9:30. "It's Raining Men," and there are stomping feet, clapping hands, a melange of laughters. There is also a quiet shriek, occasional meows, and the cry of the Eye of the Tiger. Coaxing calls bring cautious feet up to speed, different voices sing along with an unpredictable variety of lyrics. There is no self-consciousness during dance class, artists and mentors alike yelling in the Whatnot Gallery--it's raining men, Hallelujah!

The Quiet Room is deceptively named. Whenever Kelly W. is in, the Quiet Room is more aptly called The Beatles Room. With her encyclopedic knowledge of Beatles lyrics and inter-band dramas, Kelly sings along, chuckling as she cuts out Beatles figures. Across the hall, in the writing room, Emilie offers her own commentary on the Beatles songs, along with definitions of new words. Even when the Quiet Room is empty of music and singing, computer keyboard clicks and scissor-sounds fill the space.

The weaving room has its own unique melody: the looms clash and groan softly, artists pull the beater bar forward with a satisfying thump. Lloyd laughs and Lorelai makes her own noises. Sewing machines whirr. In a stir of clicks and taps, fibers are woven into cloth and sewn into pieces invented just this day.

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Kelly in the Quiet Room

Kim and Michelle sewing and weaving, respectively

Spindleworks is a veritable sensory feast, full of mouthwatering visions and delectable sounds. Every room in the blue house on Lincoln Street holds something different, mixing into the one-of-a-kind place I have come to love.

Rainy Tuesdays

It's my fourth Tuesday at Spindleworks and every single one has been rainy. Sunny days and rainy days differ: when the sun is out, Spindleworkers spill onto the porch and fill the pottery studio with laughter and chatter. Rainy days bring more contemplative work, hands moving over looms and papers, eyes glancing up at every thunderclap. After break I spent the morning in the painting studio. With everything that goes on in Spindleworks, taking a few hours in one place can be focusing, a chance to connect more intimately with the happenings in one room. I worked with Karen on her painting of a red fox. We examined photos of foxes for details that Karen then carefully rendered.

It was satisfying to work one-on-one with an artist, to talk about ideas and to see Karen's interpretations. I also saw how much Karen enjoyed her work, how pleased she was by its iterations, even though she was often anxious to make marks on her canvas. My morning was a pleasant reminder--process is as important, if not more important than, product.

In other news--Spindleworkers took a field trip to a wood-carver's studio, there are upcoming workshops, and blue skies on the forecast. Happy Tuesday!

Karen and Caroline working in the painting studio.

What a fox!

Spindlesummer

Yesterday--Wednesday--a handful of Spindleworkers packed into the van and took a breezy drive to Popham Beach. The sand was scattered with shells and the footprints of children recently released into summer vacation. Draped over the warm pillows of sand, the artists sketched and relaxed. One of the most wonderful aspects of the Spindleworks community is comfort in silence. At Spindleworks, it is always okay to sit quietly by oneself, working and thinking and enjoying. The beach was peaceful, everyone comfortable with their peers and with their own work.

We also enjoyed lunch by the water, and explored Fort Popham. With intrepidness, Micah shone his flashlight into several dark, damp corners of the old stone structure. Back in the sunshine, we climbed to the top tower before driving back to Brunswick!

Today, Bo and Deirdre led a class on linocut printmaking. Printmaking is process-based art, and the artists were learning how to use their tools and plan their final prints. Their test prints were beautiful. All the artists at Spindleworks have their own styles and focuses and it is so wonderful to see their art manifested through different mediums. Of course, the talent and skill of the mentors never fails to impress!

Between the beach, dance class, printmaking, and the St. John's Bazaar tomorrow, Spindleworkers are relishing summer activities. Most lovely of all, between the bustle of activities and the focus of artwork, there's still time to sit with friends  chat over lunch by the flowers in the garden.

Sketching with a view.

Denae and Nancy B. from the top tower of Fort Popham!

Everyone in the courtyard!

Bo, with brayer.

Reflections

The Spindleworks/Theater Project collaboration, "The Color In Our Leaves," was performed this past weekend. It featured an ensemble of six Spindleworkers and two community actors. There were both verbal and non-verbal sketches that united humor and poignancy on stage. The pieces used eloquent choreography, gestures, sound patterns, and words. The ensemble has been working together for many years; their expertise and comfort with each other was evident on stage. The pieces explored the idea of connection--sometimes successful, sometimes not. The title of the first, choreographed piece was "Connections," many of the other sketches involved hilarious miscommunications. Often, the moments of missed connection were funny while the sketches of successful connection--such as the piece "Dancing with my Father," were beautiful.

The Spindleworks community supported the wonderful thespians. Seeing the self-satisfaction of the actors was a reminder of how performance, a less common than visual art at Spindleworks, can facilitate self-expression that is quickly communicated to its viewers. In the black box theater, I laughed and applauded, happy to experience another facet of the artistic expression and community building that is generated at Spindleworks.

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Happy Tuesday from 7 Lincoln Street! Stay posted for more this week--a visiting artist for lunch, a trip to the beach, art and art and more art...!

A Busy Weekend Ahead at Spindleworks

This weekend, Spindleworks has two great events coming up:

Friday, June 12th from 5-8PM

the new Spindleworks show, "Put A Bird On It,"

is opening as part of the Brunswick Art Walk!

Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th, at 7PM

 "The Color On Our Leaves" will be performed:

an original production in conjunction with the Theater Project

at 14 School Street in Brunswick.

Make sure to come out and support all the wonderful artists!

Today was sun-filled, the warmest day since last August. Lots of people enjoyed lunch outside and the outdoor pottery studio was bustling. There was also a rollicking dance class that slowed down beautifully at the end--Anne Murray's "Could I Have This Dance" played in celebration of two artists' thirtieth wedding anniversary this weekend!

Thursday is also the day for Fiber Circle. As always, the artists were churning with amazing skills and creativity. Beautiful art on a beautiful day!

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Enjoy the summery weather and we hope to see you at our wonderful events this weekend!

Grey Day, New Beginnings

It's a gloomy day, an unsure-if-it's-going-to-rain day, but Spindleworks is alive with colors. There's a quiet energy inside today, befitting the heavy clouds. Everyone is making. My name is Penelope, I'm a sophomore from Bowdoin College, and I'm interning at Spindleworks this summer. Like past interns, I'll be blogging about my experiences and about what's going on in the studios. This is my second full week at Spindleworks and I'm just starting to get the hang of things--so far just meeting all the artists and mentors, seeing everyone's work, and feeling the immense creative energy has been a wonderful and interesting experience.

Here's what I saw today:

Angela makes muted colors in the 3D studio

Kim and her flowers

Jimmy's rainbows are much brighter than today's sky

This past week everyone was in a hustle to get the "Put A Bird on It" show up in the Whatnot Gallery and it looks fantastically feathery.

From 5-8PM this Friday, June 12th, the show will be opening as part of Brunswick's Second Friday art walk. Make sure to come by and revel in some amazing birds.

Bonnie in the Put a Bird On It Show, admiring other artists' work!

Happy Monday everyone! More to come!

All Species Parade

The Species Parade is on Friday May 15 at 4:30 on the Brunswick Green. It is a community event and we have costumes and puppets. You can be anything you want. Everybody from the greater Brunswick area dresses up as animals or other species. The event is meant to get the word out about all of the animals of the world and to work for protection rather than extinction. It's a mile-long walk that starts and ends at the Green, and the Brunswick high school band marches as well. Al from the Theater Project and Gary from Gulf of Maine Books are the grand marshals of the parade. The artists and staff at Spindleworks make a beautiful float and costumes every year. There are different themes of the parade every year and this year's theme is "Water Bodies". I made a couple of fish to add to the float, and we made some seaweed out of wood and pool noodles! Although the parade is a very fun time for everyone involved, it is important to remember that the event is about some serious environmental issues. We hope to raise awareness about pollution and species extinction. In preparation for this year's parade Spindleworkers learned about the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We learned that it is the single largest living thing on Earth, and that it is home to many different species. Humans are putting oil and other dangerous chemicals in the water and it is destroying the reef and killing all of the beautiful animals. The reef doesn't look good because it's being bleached of it's color. Humans need to learn not to put anything in the water that will harm the sea animals.

Even though these are big and serious issues, the Species Parade is a chance for the community to come together to have fun, raise awareness, and march to save the animals. Spindleworks hopes to see you all on the Green next Friday...wear your own water bodies- themed costume, but please no real animals!!

- written by artist Melissa

For inspiration, here are some images from last year's parade!

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Charlie's visit

A few weeks ago, Charlie Lopresti came to Spindleworks to talk about the weather. Charlie is the weatherman for Channel 13, and he drove the station car to Spindleworks. First, he came and ate lunch with the artists and we talked about all kinds of things- he was mostly talking to me about computers and horseback riding. I was so excited that I couldn’t even talk that much…I watch Charlie on the news almost every night! I am interested in the weather so I thought it would be good to invite him to Spindleworks. We all like the weather here. After lunch, Charlie did a presentation for the artists in the weaving room downstairs. He brought all of his own equipment including a weather balloon. A weather balloon is a helium balloon that they blow up like a party balloon and then attach a device to it that tracks the weather. He was kidding around and saying that he should blow up the balloon in Spindleworks! Barbara asked if they ever get the weather balloons back but he said no, that they usually pop. He showed us some video clips of storms and one was from when he used to work on Mt. Washington. He also showed us a chart of how they measure the wind, as well as a funny video of him playing around in very high winds. Charlie also mentioned that he used to work with the weatherman from Channel 6, Joe Cupo. All of the artists thought it was fun and we learned a lot from him. He answered our questions about the weather and other things. To finish his presentation he gave us a “behind the scenes” look of what they do in the studio at Channel 13- it’s actually just a blank green screen behind him and he’s looking at the monitor!

Before Charlie left, I gave him a painting that I did of him. I was a little nervous to present it to him but then he gave me a hug and really liked it. He asked me how long it took to paint and I told him that it took a month. I had to look his picture up on the computer and practice drawing him before I got to paint. I also had to figure out what to put in the background and I decided to paint a green screen with the names of towns and temperatures because that’s what he shows on the news. It was exciting to give him a gift like that. I wrote him a thank you note and mentioned that if the news channel ever wants a new story to report they should come to Riding to the Top- the horseback riding center I go to. Spindleworks really appreciated Charlie’s visit and we hope he will come again if he can!!

- Written by artist Melissa Capuano

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Spindleworks Newscast

For about a month, nine of the Spindleworks artists have been doing a newscast like SNL (Saturday Night Live). We do funny skits, and the Newscast has many different funny commercials and parts. Nancy does interviews, Diane does the weather forecast, Anna is doing a food talk, and I do the TV reviews. My TV reviews lists the TV shows and some of them I call “boring!” So far I have reviewed “Chips”, “Flash”, “The McCarthys”, and “NCIS”. NCIS is one of the boring ones, along with “Blue Bloods” and “Downton Abbey”. My favorite show is “Flash” and I gave it the highest rating. Along with the regular programming, we’re also doing stop animation with puppets and our first show is going to be Mork & Mindy. Nancy is going to be Miss Fix-It, and I am going to write the script. I also gave it a “thumbs-up” in my TV review!

I write the TV reviews and I also read them in front of the camera. I just ignore the camera and look at Denae or whoever is filming. We tape the Newscast on the computer and then we have to edit it to see if we did it right. Hopefully some of the skits will be on the website soon!

I interviewed a few of the artists about what their part is with the newscast, and here is what they said:

“I do the food talk for good nutrition. But also I would like to be open to doing other parts- like New York style humor.”

“I love comedy and the newscast is like comedy. I like the nutrition talk because I bring humor to it. It also teaches people to be fun and laugh about serious stuff, like nutrition.”

“I do interviews of peers about hobbies.”

“My favorite part of the show is writing the scripts. I like doing editing on the computer and typing the words for the show.”

“The weather. That involves like on the regular news when Joe Cupo says the temperatures- either warm or hot.”

“My favorite thing about doing the show is that it helps me learn about the weather.”

I hope people like the show…more pictures and news of the show to come!

-Post written by Spindleworks artist Melissa

A Farewell from Franci

DSC02116 It's my last day as a Spindleworks intern...anyone who's stepped foot in this building can imagine how hard of a goodbye this is. I was greeted this morning with a box of donuts made at a shop in Portland from the always kind crew of staff staff here, so the bitterness of leaving has been sprinkled by some sweetness. This week has felt a little quieter to me than most, but some exciting activities have been in the works here! I enjoyed sitting in on Martha's Oaxacan Wood Animals workshop yesterday afternoon. A few artists used pre-cut wooden shapes to create farm animal shapes without altering the original forms of the wood pieces. Projects like this help create such resourceful and creative attitudes in us all by increasing the difficulty of sculpting with shapes the artist did not individually form. Wood glue was used to secure the pieces together. The animals created naturally had a slightly whimsical touch due to the difficulty of pairing shapes together, which gave them all a more playful touch, as well. The next challenge is adding paint and yarn and other kinds of attachments to bring the creatures to life.

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I'm not sure I could have enjoyed my 6 weeks with Spindleworks more. In assisting these artists I have received more assistance than in most environments I've entered. Working and socializing with these incredible makers and doers has been eye opening for me, but even more so, it has been inspirational. The sense of confidence and comfort with oneself, diligence and patience, and incredible positivity are all rare traits to be able to find woven throughout such a large and diverse group. The staff and artists have been eager to help and welcome me, quick to show thanks and are, of course, each full of talent. If you're reading this and have yet to pay a visit to the studios and galleries of Spindleworks, I am hoping that these posts have been revealing enough to convince you to stop by. In one spot you will find countless opportunities for volunteering, an artisan shop, and an experience that is as energizing as it is rare. I think one of the strongest feelings it will leave you with is gratefulness. I know I'll be back as soon as possible.

- Franci

We've got fabric on our minds

Valentine's Day is nearly upon us...This cardboard banjo sits by the window at the end of the upstairs hallway year round but is looking especially in place this week.

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Don't think our heads are caught up in the holiday quite yet though; we've spent the morning with fabric on our mind! We've got a few artists putting the finishing touches on cashmere patch scarves, many weaving away on their latest projects, and a staff member learning to knit her first hat.

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Upstairs, Cathy is teaching a silk screen printmaking workshop. We had one a few weeks ago, too, and some artists are adding on to their creations from that session.

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Downstairs, Diane works on a jumper with Sarah. They're using an old pattern that we found from the 80s with an appropriately retro cloud patterned fabric. It's been a process reading the faded pattern, but the top half has been shaped and completed already, and the sweet blue skirt is well on its own way.

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What a winter we've had in Brunswick, with our windows all frosted over and fogging up. The snow bank outside has engulfed the front walk's wooden tree sculpture that one of our artists made and cancelled days of work continue to pile up. Winters like this make it clear that we're lucky to be located in such a lively part of the state. A fundraiser is in the makings, art shows continue to be scheduled, visitors continue to stop by or shop, and the overall feeling of the days has yet to change or tire. I'm still not fully convinced that it's even a possibility.

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A Friday of Folding with Anna Lowe...

On Thursday and Friday of this week, we had bookmaker Anna Lowe come in to teach two workshops on making "flexigrams": paper shapes that open in multiple directions to reveal hidden pieces of artwork or tell a story. The process reminds me a bit of making those origami cootie catchers that were so popular in middle school. Anna brought sample flexigrams that featured figures changing outfits when folded and unfolded different ways, different lines of poems, and different petals to flowers. The artists were taught to make certain shapes to work with but had total freedom in design and purpose of the pieces. What an incredible turn out we had this morning for a somewhat quieter day in the studios.... DSC02060

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We're looking forward to seeing Anna again in a few weeks when she returns to teach a workshop on "magic wallets." Thanks Anna! This was a relaxing and productive workshop on such a chilly Friday.