Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Super Excited

This is a big weekend coming up in Gardiner, Maine. I am having my second opening reception in as many weeks and Gardiner Main Street is putting on Swine and Stein Octoberfest. The opening is on Friday evening for a Maine Woodturning Show to celebrate American Craft Week. I am getting very excited about this show which will offer a huge range of turned wood from five turners- Dennis Curtis, Kim Dailey, Michael Kagan, Lou Landry, and Al Mather. Lou dropped off his pieces today and they are gorgeous...of course I have been saying that everyday someone drops off work. I love turned wood whether it is a natural organic shape or a dyed blue segmented piece. I admire the skill and the artistic vision that brings them to form.

Saturday we will be open for Swine and Stein. The music will be in the park across the street, which at the very least, means people will come inside to use their cell phones (since they won't be able to hear outside). I found this to be true for the Hogs, Pies and Fireworks event....people came in so they could hear their phones and once inside they saw what we are doing here. I am hoping people will take the opportunity to wander town a bit (downtown is only two blocks long) and see what Gardiner has to offer. And more specifically what Monkitree has to offer- where else in town can you buy a beer ring and a handcrafted beer mug with the Swine and Stein logo? You guessed it. Just Monkitree!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I do hereby proclaim...

Art and craft have been a huge part of my life for the last 18 years so when the Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow and Craft in America organized a national American Craft Week I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I wrote a proclamation request asking Governor Baldacci to proclaim October 1-10 American Craft Week in Maine. I was not the only one- Sadie from the Center for Maine Craft had also written one. We were able to combine the language into one stellar proclamation.

To celebrate, Monkitree will have a show of works by Maine Woodturners. So with artwork on the walls depicting trees, Monkitree will have bowls, platters, candleholders created from trees. Maine artists share their vision producing amazing work and craft retailers actively promote and sell their work, contributing to not only our economy but enhancing and enriching our lives.

So here it first proclamation-

Whereas, the State of Maine believes in the enduring value of
handmade crafts and celebrates the artists and craftspeople who create
them; and

Whereas, the original inhabitants and the settlers who came to Maine,
handed down their skills in craft. The State and People of Maine have a
centuries-old tradition of these crafts- furniture making, pottery,
weaving, metalsmithing, and glassblowing; and

Whereas, these crafts help to build the economic base of our State and
still contribute to its reputation and success; and

Whereas, the State of Maine acknowledges its appreciation to all the
craftspeople who have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the
rich culture of our State; and our citizens.

This year's American Craft Week celebration, to be held October 1-10,
will bring together individuals, small businesses and organizations from
all fifty states in recognition of the countless ways handmade objects
enrich our daily lives and contribute to our national aesthetic and

American Craft Week is an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of
American craft. Every day thousands of American artists share their
vision and talent by producing amazing hand-made decorative and
functional objects. And every day thousands of craft retailers share
their love of these items by displaying, promoting and selling them.

Now, therefore, I, John E. Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine, do
hereby proclaim October 1-10, 2010 as:


throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to recognize our
traditional and contemporary craft artists, galleries, exhibitions,
museums, retailers and events.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why Shop Local?

The economic benefits of supporting your local businesses is undeniable. For every $100 spent in a local business $45 remains in the community, whereas for every $100 spent at a big national retailer only $14 stays in the community. Your local businesses advertise locally, use local repair people, bank locally, buy from local manufacturers/craftspeople/artists, support local charities, etc... These numbers while they vary a bit by region have been supported all over the country including a Midcoast Maine Study that also discovered that by supporting locally owned businesses rather than big box stores it would be the equivalent of adding 500 jobs to the community.

So here comes the Monkitree (especially this Christmas season). If you do, you are not only supporting a single local business... Monkitree represents artist/craftspeople from Gardiner, West Gardiner, Pittson, Litchfield, Augusta, Monmouth, and more. So what are you likely to find here? A range of products to be sure- jewelry, pottery, hand-carved wooden spoons,turned wood bowls, woven scarves and placemats, rolling pins, magnets, cards and fine art.

The next show is going to be a fun one. So come out to the Opening Reception and see all that Monkitree has to offer. Oh and if you are following my blog from elsewhere, I am happy to ship to you :)

Additional reading material on supporting local business from Time,Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good Days

So what makes a day good? It was miserably hot here in Gardiner, Maine yesterday. All of my friends in the DC area won't believe me but it was much like DC weather complete with air quality warnings. There were virtually no customers and in fact the only people who stopped into the shop my dog Bo managed to scare away. But for me it was an exciting day. First I had Dennis Curtis stop by with his turned bowls and bottle stoppers and I was able to pick out nine beautiful turned bowls. Next Mary Kay Spencer stopped by with more pottery and she was able to enjoy the air conditioning for a while and we had a nice chat.

But in the background while all this was going on was a looming deadline. Were we going to make it? In addition to having the gallery I am President of Gardiner Main Street. We had an event idea and Kara Wilbur, the owner of Sweet Love and Secretary of Gardiner Main Street had done all the leg work but we needed to raise $7,000 to feel comfortable going before city council and asking for the event approval. That is a lot of money to raise in a recession and we didn't have much time to do it. I admit I had my doubts. Kara was running around all afternoon right up to the council meeting and managed to raise $6,550. Enough for us to feel comfortable that we could cover the upfront costs of the event. So we went into council and it was unanimously approved! The Mayor went to far as to say that Gardiner Main Street was managing to raise the bar at every turn. So save the date people- October 2nd Gardiner, Maine is going to be the place to be for the first annual Swine and Stein Octoberfest! Maine beers, Maine pork from Maine restaurants and producers, and live music. Beer, pork and music. Now that will be a good day!