This year I took an early flight with a stop over in Paris Charles de Gaulle. I wish I had more time to wonder around that airport because the design and architecture of the new parts really fancies me. Still, the parts I did see where very pretty. I was most intrigued by the green wall at my gate.
Next stop was Montreal, a great place to visit. Wished there was more time for that too because it has some of the charm of Paris as well :)
Beautiful city but then it was of to Castine, with a charm all of its own!!!
A kind and proud owner taking a break to chat :)
The local library
I was mostly taken by the junior school in Castine, Adams School. I simply loooove how they put up each student with his or her's distinct quality. It tells them they are special in their own right and emphasizes each and everyones particular talent!
The local historical Society had just put up a new exhibit. They've done a marvelous job in telling about the early settlement at Castine and the importance of it to the region. Too bad you weren't allowed to take pictures inside and I wish i've had more time to take it all in, again.
Even on a gloomy day it looks spectacular...
some are house proud, and some cannot ;)
But the reason of it all were miniatures! I wish I could show you more of what was on display the first days, there was sooo much to take in. Some pieces I knew from the internet, but as is said so often before; nothing beats seeing them in real!!! There is so much talent! Here is just a small selection of what fellow students and teachers had brought along to share and enjoy; (forgive me for not having all the names and thus give credit to whom it deserves! If you know any missing names please mail me so I can put them up)
Lovely bird cage by Ursula Dyrbye-Skovsted
Intricate petitpoint by Sue Resseguie
A great and joyful scene which made me smile from ear to ear illustrates the theme of this year;
To Infinity and Beyond (Nell Corkin and...? )
Gorgeous dishes by Jane Graber.
Fellow work by Phyllis Hawkes, congratulations!
Another intricate petitpoint rug by...?
Cute little stool by Ann High
An array of food choppers by Bill Robertson, how many can there be?! :)
Great achievement for Hellie Durant; she received a scholarship this year! Hurray!
Stunning life like leopard by Hiro Kimura
My own contribution ;)
Amazing gold fish which were a class subject as well, by Miyuki Kobayashi
Beth Freeman-Kane's tranquil garden scene
Back rest of a sgabello chair in the making, by Ann High
A very appropriate sample board of nautical knots by Bonni Backe
Highly detailed painting by Mary Grady O'Brien on a table by Mark Murphy
And to finish this incomplete selection of all that was on display; an adorable scene with a nut house, made by Nell Corkin.
Of course there was lobster night and it was said they were very good this year. As I only eat it once a year (here at Castine!) I can't really comment on it. But he/she was Yummy indeed! For the rest I tried to stay away from the opulent warm breakfast that was served each morning. Instead I went for the fresh fruits to start the day, which was delicious :)
Now, for the classes I took. This year I got my first choice; a painting class with Mary Grady O'Brien and the carving class with Bill Robertson.
Only when I first came to Castine I got to discover Mary's work and talent and it was my wish ever since to attend a class of hers. I feel privileged I could this time, as I just love her work. Her folk art is unpretentious and honest yet immaculately done. I've grown very fond of it.
The project was to paint a games table and box to hold the checker pieces, in the early American Folk Art style.
Mary had brought the most wonderful collection of reference books with her so we could all get inspiration and get a feel for the style. The first day was mostly spend on practice and figuring out designs for our box. The next day this book on the right was on offer at the silent auction. I did put in an offer but was over bid. Fortunately when I got back home, I found it online at a antique book store here in The Netherlands, so I'm thrilled I got the chance to purchased it this way. Not in the least cos it is packed with illustrations and covers a wide variety of folk art expressions. Paintings, sculptures, house decorations, textiles and many more...
Some of my fellow class mates who were all wonderful company. Thank you all for making it a great experience :)
Mary guided us all through the process and as ever she'd made sure our pieces were presented with gorgeous signs and boxes that fit her style and theme.
Being European I'd mistaken the checkers for chess pieces, not in the least cos the board is just the same. Prior to coming I'd made a chess set, just for fun, to stage the table when finished but it turned out a fraction to big. Putting it on the painted table it was slightly cramped and it didn't do justice to both pieces. I wanted to leave it out but Mary suggested to put it up anyway, on it's own board. As if it was the start of a games collection ;) So now i've gotta make a backgammon table... and a cards table haha
But i'm drifting here, the bridal boxes instantly gave me the idea to put a couple on the top of the lid of the box. It was narrow, yeah, it was tight yeah... But if i'd made them slightly anorexic I could make them fit. On the right half stage, on the left finished and aged.
And i managed :) It was the first time working with oil paints and with all the help and tips Mary gave us i've learned how to manipulate it and being able to work it on this scale.
There is one funny thing to mention about the bridal box book from Germany. Mary didn't know German so she never noticed it but on these boxes were short motto's. Little quote's to enhance the meaning of the box; celebrate marriage. Daniela Kiefhaber who is German walked in one day and sat down to translate them for Mary. Cos they'd found out some of the saying were rather saucy and spicy.
I hadn't even noticed it till that happened and as I can read German too we both sat down to read some more. Translating them to the class it made for lot's of giggling and ooh's and aah's :) For example, there was a box with a couple on it, underneath written; Ich Liebe Dich Mit Lust. Which means; I love you with lust. Or another one, where the lady pointed to the outside of the picture, saying; I'll be there in the garden... waiting for you.
It gave for so much joy I figured it would be neat to try to do the same, and put in a saying? Being a games table it would have to have a relation to that, it had to fit the lid ánd yet at the same time have a juicy wink. And then all of a sudden, Eureka!
You can't read it when the box is closed so it is sort of secretive. But you know and i know, and that's all that matters ;)))
Then there was my other class, carving a rococo frame with Bill Robertson. The objective was to get a feel for the style and 3-d carving as such. I totally enjoyed it. Although I've done some acanthus carving in the past his large examples were wonderful attributes to become more aquatinted with flutes and rocaille.
Some of his technique involved the use of the flex shaft, something I hadn't done much before. It was soon obvious my flex shaft at home isn't half as accurate as those here at school hence my preference to hand tools in the past. But I've learned a lot just looking at his demonstrations and many more little tips on how to approach this type of work.
Here's a look at his prototype, amazing what control he has over his moto tool.
I'd brought my own carvers and together with some small burrs in my hand vise (as apposed to a power driven one) i fiddled along pretty well. I loved the subject too, together with the coffee, music and relaxed chaotic atmosphere in the class room. 'Has anyone seen my jewelers saw?' 'I miss a jewelers saw, has any one seen it?' ;)
Caught on camera happily at work :)
And sort of finished by the end of the week.
Here's my fellow student Steve Davis of which I have great memories from the first year coming to Guild School. I can still remember his words back then; 'There is so much to learn and to take in, it is like trying to drink from a fire hose' And he's so right, back then ánd now :)
Finally here's a small selection of the other class results:
amazing what people are capable of! Admire & enjoy :)
And in a big BANG school was over...
On the way back home we came across some wonderful estates, some that could use a little TLC, and some that had obviously received it.
And that was the end of an amazing trip. Again, we've learned new things, made new friends and made new memories, fond memories that will last me a life time. Thanks to everyone!
Back home I tweaked some more on the mirror and finished it of with a coat of Danish Oil and a final buffing with shoe polish (thanks Josje, great tip!) It received a 1 mm mirror to fit and now I'm intending to make a complementing table for it. Because, if anything, Castine is always a huge inspiration :))
Thanks for reading all the way down, hope you enjoyed it.
ps. Remember all pictures can be poked (right click) to watch them in full scale for more detail.