Newton’s Second Law: Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).
This is the itinerary from March through October. This is not an exhaustive list and does not include all the #weavethetent events. I would say, however, it is an “exhaust-ING list.”
From the Firehouse Studio in Maryland to Colby College in Waterville, Maine (intermittent stop to eat some hot out of the oven bread prepared by Cheryl Hobart – a weaver and owner of Nomad Breads) http://www.nhmagazine.com/January-2015/The-International-Breads-of-Nomad-Bakery/ )
From Peaks Island to Union Bridge, Maryland (intermittent stop – Northfield Conference http://northfieldconference.org) Not sure where I will find coffee…
From Union Bridge to Kennebunkport for a Kayak Self Rescue refresher class at Coastal Maine Kayak http://www.coastalmainekayak.com (Usually drink tea there due to being near frozen after the class.)
Kennebunkport to Peaks Island in time for July 4th!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQUq9p7pgkc
Keeping a community-based art project that involves many people and many events moving forward requires lots of energy and of course, lots of coffee.
Consum – ING
Global consumption of caffeine has been estimated at 120,000 tons per year, making it the world’s most popular psychoactive substance. (This amounts to one serving of a caffeinated beverage for every person every day. YIKES)
‘The first coffeehouses established in Oxford, England were known as penny universities. The coffeehouses would charge a penny admission, which would include access to newspapers and conversation. In a society that placed such a high importance on class and economic status, the coffeehouses were unique because the patrons were people from all levels of society. ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffeehouse
Following the Boston Tea Party, Congress passed a resolution against tea consumption and coffee became part of the economic development of the country. Some historians believe that the introduction of coffee contributed to the overall advancement of Western society – since caffeine is a stimulant vs the consumption of alcohol – a depressant. https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/p/pendergrast-grounds.html
It seems that most of my discussions and meetings about Welcoming the Stranger (not to mention caffeine consumption) have taken place in coffee shops. It seems appropriate since the journey that coffee beans take to the U.S. often mirrors the countries represented by many of the new immigrants arriving in Maine including El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Honduras, Guatamala, Colombia, Brazil , Ethiopia , Zimbabwe, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda Sumatra, Sulawesi, Papua New Guinea, Timor, Java.
Like the early ‘penny universities’, my coffee shop conversations were educational – political – and critical to creating my artwork. (Tho’ no longer costing a penny for a cup.) Over a cup of coffee, I discussed with Alain Nahimana the issues confronting the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition. http://www.aclumaine.org/meet-alain-nahimana.
Our conversation was the first of many in which I became more educated about the ongoing needs of New Mainers and the politics of changing minds and hearts of Old Mainers. http://www.ilapmaine.org/advocacy.html.
I learned about how the arrival of Somali refugees (some from villages in which she had worked in 1987-8) transformed the cities of Lewiston and Auburn when I met with Catherine Besteman, Colby College Professor of Anthropology.
In a meeting held at Arabica, http://www.arabicacoffeeportland.com/ Jen Hutchins and Jess Lauren Lipton, Creative Portland invited me to hold the first Weave the Tent event as part of their series: “Integrating New Mainers into the Art Community.” https://www.facebook.com/LiveWorkPortland
The event took place on First Friday at the Portland Public Library where I learned of ethnic-based places of worship in Portland from a Serbian security guard who learned to weave from his grandmother.
Art in a Cup
My mom is a coffee connoisseur (or maybe she just likes the ambience – conversation and news.)
Before moving to her assisted living facility, she walked from her apartment to Hilltop where she poured a ½ cup of ‘regular’ coffee and mixed in half and half and a package of sugar. She chatted with the baristas; knew their names and listened to surrounding conversations. http://www.hilltopcoffeeshop.com/
After moving her to a Biddeford assisted living facility, I discovered Elements. It is my place of respite and a go-to place of entertainment for Mom: books, music, coffee (and beer…. ) http://www.elementsbookscoffeebeer.com/
Art in Mills
To artists, empty brick buildings signify affordable studio space; to economic development officials, artists mean the introduction of the “creative economy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_sqYD3vskc
The textile history of Maine is reflected in the abandoned mills of Biddeford. Located along the Saco River, the York and Pepperell Mills took advantage of the hydro power. By the late 1800’s, the boom in textile manufacturing required an influx of much needed workers. By 1880 almost 50% of Biddeford’s residents were foreign-born. When the mills needed fabric dye experts, they brought in Muslim Albanians. It is now believed that a room in the Pepperell Mill housed the first Mosque in America. The workers died during the 1918 flu epidemic. Their graves face east and are marked with the crescent. http://www.muslimsinamerica.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=28
Walk – ING
Since returning to Portland, I walk more. Most of my forays are along the same streets that immigrants have walked since the first ships landed at the Portland docks: I walk from the cottage on Peaks to the ferry; from the Casco Bay Lines terminal to my studio space. On the way, I walk along India St. past the synagogue that my great grandfather built and where I will install Welcoming the Stranger.
I continue onto Smith St. past Union Bagels (organic) and down Anderson St. towards the heart of Bayside. During the 1960’s, there was an urban renewal effort to eradicate the “slums” of Portland thereby creating a need for low-income housing. (This need is once again exacerbated – due to the gentrification currently taking place.)
My mother worked on housing issues as well as civil rights issues. Many mornings we would wake up to find neighborhood activists strategizing at our kitchen table – drinking coffee. One hard hit area was Bayside.
“Most of Bayside today was in a section of Back Cove filled with debris from the Great Fire of 1866 — which burned most of the Old Port. “Over the decades, Bayside established two identities. It was an industrial center of Maine — connected to immigrant labor and a relatively large and active rail line and seaport. It was also a burgeoning melting pot of new Americans — a diversity that is still reflected there today.
Bayside, which has also become known as West Bayside, was the industrial zone, with foundries, lumber companies, soldering shops and junkyards. East Bayside was a lower middle class neighborhood where immigrants settled. It spans from Franklin Street to Washington Avenue. The Irish were among the first to settle there, followed by Scandinavians in the 1880s, Eastern Europeans in the 1890s and more recently African and Middle East refugees.” http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/03/portland-approves-long-planned-midtown-project-in-bayside/July Blog?
I walk pass multi-family dwellings, children waiting for school buses, men repairing cars, young girls in hajibs. The past feels very present to me and the present feels a great deal like the past.
This once nearly abandoned area is now considered to be thriving with co-operatives, collaborative, and creatives. Euphemistically referred to as Brewside or Yeastside, Bayside is now headquarters for Welcoming the Stranger. http://www.pressherald.com/2013/12/09/bayside_poised_for_a_project
Since Casey Ryder took over PortFiber, “the focus of the shop remains the same–to support and inspire the fiberarts community with quality supplies and amazing classes taught by local instructors. Fiberarts is in our collective blood. It’s a connection to our past, to our ancestors, to the earth and it’s fiber producing creatures. It is the aim of PortFiber to embrace those connections and make new ones with those who share the love of wool! “ http://www.downeast.com/fiber/
Casey took less than a minute to agree to be the collection site for Welcoming the Stranger yarn donations. Her weekly spinning group is weaving a panel for the exhibit using the yarn they spin at PortFiber. http://portfiber.com/calendar/2015/2/26/portspinners
Running with Scissors http://www.rwsartstudios.com …is a diverse artist studio collective thriving in the industrial and eclectic East Bayside neighborhood of Portland, ME. A dedicated work space, it serves over 50 artists working in various mediums sharing equipment, space, community, ideas, support and tools. … It is also the home of The Bayside Clay Center, a branch of RWS dedicated to clay with 11 resident members and 12 associate members.
After my first Creative Portland #weavethetent event, Kate Aker invited me to establish a studio at RWS . Everyone there has been supportive and best of all – my Journey Looms can fit through the doorways.
Gathering of Stitches http://www.agatheringofstitches.org
“A Gathering of Stitches is a maker space for fiber and textile artists. Its a place for those of you who like to work with your hands, with fabric and yarn, to use shared equipment and resources, learn new skills, or hone old ones, and join in a community of folks who love fiber.”
After speaking at a 2 Degrees http://www.liveworkportland.org/connect-visit/2-degrees-portland event held at A Gathering of Stitches, I met with Samantha Hoyt Lindgren and reserved a sewing machine and a table in July and August to create the installation work.
Bayside is also a ‘caffeine corridor.’
Coffee By Design http://www.coffeebydesign.com Coffee By Design Headquarters is located in Bayside just off the bike trail. They purchase from more than 30 growers around the world. They give back to the local community through their Rebel Blend Fund. Tadim makes great “art in a cup.”
Tandem Coffee http://www.tandemcoffee.com Tandem is not only is located between Port Fiber and Running with Scissors but shares a parking lot with a local mosque. Owner Will Platt has okayed a #weavethetent event there.
John Adams wrote: “I am a revolutionary so my son can be a farmer so his son can be a poet.
Sometimes it takes years for the disparate pieces of an idea to weave themselves into a full-fledged cohesive work of art.
Some artists are disciplined and labor daily to practice their craft – improve their skills, develop a style, master a material.
Others are driven by deadlines, available materials or a competition. Environments influence their output – large studios, large work; etc. Alma Thomas created works all the same size due to the size of her kitchen table… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alma_Thomas
Some of us wait for the Flash – the aha moment.
Welcoming the Stranger appeared whole cloth – a conversation in a taxi cab, a tour of a former synagogue and kayaking around an island formed the nucleus of an exhibition and a community-based art work. But I have lots of work to do….
I have materials.
I have a space.
I have community.
I have a deadline.
And I have gratitude for all those helping me along the way.
I will continue on the stone path….as long as there is enough coffee.
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