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







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.

Woven Wednesdays

Each Wednesday, artist mentor Cathy takes a group of artists to visit the local elementary school. There they spend a little under an hour teaching first and second grade students to weave. The children are as eager to learn the process as we are to use our skills towards teaching. Barbara took charge of the loom today. The students have been adding on to this creation week after week. Barbara gives them each the chance to weave a few rows and then calls the next student up for a turn. DSC01896



While the students do get turns using the real loom, they've also been taught to create their own looms using just scissors and cardboard. This process is called "card weaving." A huge selection of yarn is picked through each week by the students. There is so much room for originality and experimentation in this process. One student explained the way she chose her colors in coordination with the fur on her favorite doll's stuffed dog: the finished piece is to be his blanket!




It's an experience to watch this short but meaningful visit play out. Both the students and Spindleworks visitors are listeners, learners, and artists, each offering such positivity to one another and embracing this unique opportunity.

A Storm of Productivity

Spindleworks was closed during yesterday's "snowmageddon," but that didn't stop today from being as energetic as any. A few artists and the full Wednesday staff went in around noon today to shovel, clean, organize, and, finally, create. The energy was full and powerful on this post-blizzard afternoon.


Terri was particularly productive today with her eye for great color. She completed so many pastel prints this afternoon with her signature abstract technique.



Visiting Nancy B. at her drawing desk always brings a new experience. She creates intricate pieces based on such a variety of subjects. Today she drew inspiration from a book on flower life cycles.


Angela's mind is on the approaching super bowl! She's in the final stages of work on her wooden rendition of the Patriot's Tom Brady. This large project has actually come together quite quickly, and will probably be finished just in time for Sunday.


Here sits Emma with watercolor and canvas. She seems so content in the company of these tools. Emma's work tends towards the ethereal. What grace is shown in her handle of brushes and the landscapes she illustrates despite the bleak winter skies.

We hope everyone was safe during Juno and that we've succeeded in offering you a little of the brightness that we experienced today. It seems that the dreariest of days often bring such inspiration. They can evoke that stir-crazy need in us to battle back the dullness with brilliant work.

Stay warm!

"Right Next to The History"

Liz McGhee, our program manager, and a handful of our artists visited the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine yesterday afternoon, located at the University of Maine Augusta. Some pieces of Spindleworks art have been showcased in the center along with artifacts from the Holocaust and various periods of history that showcase discrimination against all types of people. As artist Theresa Labrecque told me it was, "just fascinating. And we got to see our stuff up on those walls, right next to the history." IMG_2525

Diane Black stands with her vibrant woven rug...


Earl Black is an expert weaver as well. Here he stands with two of his showcased rugs...



Barbara Carter, Theresa Labrecque, and Diane Black...



IMG_2528Kim Christensen poses with more Spindleworks items.

Warm Words for Winter

FullSizeRender Spindleworks is wishing you a happy and healthy winter season. It's been a while since we've posted, and this is my own very first post! My name is Franci. I'm a Bennington College sophomore spending my mandatory winter internship here at Spindleworks. I'll be working and posting for 5 more weeks. I've been in Brunswick for just over one week and, as I'm sure you can imagine, am feeling quite at home already here at Spindleworks.

There have been moments every day that have felt blog-worthy. To watch the development of skills and confidence first hand is fascinating, but more importantly, inspiring. Just this morning, I found a book in the Spindleworks store, Voices. It's a collaboration between a few branches of Independence Association and another art nonprofit. There are pages that feature only visual art, but many include written word. The photo above is of one of my favorite pages. It reads:

"anarchy means not being satisfied with the status quo and hatred for things that are bad...i admire punk rock musicians because they tell in their songs what the politicians won't tell you. if i could be on tv and tell the viewers anything i wanted, i would tell them that being autistic can be a good thing."

I decided on this moment for today's post because it seemed to tie together the days I've spent at Spindleworks so far. This type of confidence present in the artists is perhaps the most refreshing part of this job, as it is the core of their artistic potential. Spindleworks artists are not just painters, just writers, just weavers; almost all of them spread their creativity over as many art forms as they can, letting each medium speak to the others with security and confidence. It's a holistic embrace of creative potential that I long to translate into my own art. I look forward to reflecting on the weeks and events of Spindleworks that may inspire you as they have me.

ADA Boston Trip

IMG_4141 IMG_4146 IMG_4147 IMG_4148 IMG_4151 IMG_4152 IMG_4153 IMG_4161 IMG_4170 This past week I traveled to Boston with a friend from Spindleworks, Emma Becker. We went to represent Spindleworks at an art exhibit called “Celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act Through Art”. There were artists from all over New England- Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut- including seven Spindleworkers! There was also a poetry reading and the poets were from as far as India. The poetry was about overcoming disabilities, and it was very powerful and well done. The show was held in a very big gallery on a side street in Boston- a really nice spot. It was the ADA center of Boston. The show was really a celebration of having a disability and expressing it through art. The works of art were all paintings in different styles. I did an acrylic painting of different types of squash, and Emma did a watercolor ocean scene. It was nice to represent Spindleworks and give out business cards- it made us feel like real, professional artists. It made me appreciate Spindleworks and the artwork that we have even more. It was like one big party!

To read more about the show and the Americans with Disabilities Act, visit: www.NewEnglandADA.org

Artwork (from top to bottom) by: Emma Becker, Terri Snape, Anna McDougal, Karen McGann, Melissa Capuano, Micah Webbert, and Sheri Davis. All photos by Anna McDougal.

-post by Spindleworks Artist Anna McDougal

A Brief Introduction

Hello Spindleworks friends and family! My name is Helen and I am a visual arts and sociology major at Bowdoin College. I began volunteering with Spindleworks this past winter, and quickly became enthralled by the creative magic that happens under the Spindleworks roof. Thanks to the Bowdoin grant fund, I am lucky enough to be spending my summer on Lincoln St. as a full-time artist mentor. Among other things, I have been tasked with revitalizing the Spindleworks blog, which will hopefully keep you all updated on the happenings within the studios and throughout the community. A few of the Spindleworks artists have already demonstrated interest in working on the blog, and I am looking forward to assisting them in making this site their own!