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.

Sketching with a view.

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

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

Everyone in the courtyard!

Everyone in the courtyard!

Bo, with brayer.

Bo, with brayer.

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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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“Connections”–the actors worked with each other and with props in this silent sketch.

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A fishing trip turned into a wild series of miscommunications when the group brought their fresh fish to a restaurant during this sketch!

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

Angela making muted colors in the 3D studio

Kim and her flowers

Kim and her flowers

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

Jimmy’s rainbows, 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!

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

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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….

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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.