As I write this, the festivities of the last five days are just wrapping up, with a farewell reception. All week the energy has been palpable. People making new discoveries, sharing their skills and creativity with others, extraordinary objects created. It’s really been fun here! From handmade flutes with Hawk Henries, to felted fantasy masks, to knitting, painting, photography and so much more. Searsport Shores has been vibrant with creativity. I’m sure Astrig, Emma and their amazing team of volunteers will be crunching the numbers in the coming days, but for now it’s safe to say that the 10th anniversary of Fiber College was bigger and better than ever. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year – September 6-10, 2017 – and bookmark the website (FiberCollege.org) so you won’t miss all the fun.
Labor Day weekend is now behind us, so autumn isn’t far off now. It’s been a wonderfully warm and sunny summer, but now it’s time to look ahead to all that fall offers. Most notably, here in New England, is our gloriously colorful fall foliage season. According to a recent article in the Bangor Daily News (CLICK HERE to read the article) this year’s foliage change should be right on the usual schedule, “with peak colors in northern Maine occurring the last week of September into the first week of October. Central Maine and the western mountains see peak conditions around Columbus Day weekend with southern Maine peaking in mid- to late October.” If you’re planning to come to Searsport Shores this fall, or anywhere else in Maine, to check out the colors, here’s the website where you’ll find the latest information on foliage: MaineFoliage.com.
Many people rent kayaks to paddle around in Penobscot Bay. A common question is How long will it take to paddle over to Sears Island from Searsport Shores? Of course this depends mostly on the experience, strength and stamina of the paddler, but a good estimate for someone who is in reasonably good physical condition is 30-45 minutes. The weather and direction of the wind and tide are other factors. If the tide is on the way out, you will be paddling against it on the way to the island, and the current will be with you on your return. As for the wind, it shifts around all the time and you’ll know if you’re paddling with the wind at your back or in your face! Sometimes you’ll be paddling against the wind in both directions.
Obviously, the most direct route to Sears Island is a straight line from the Shores straight across the mouth of Searsport Harbor, and this is the quickest path, a distance of about two miles. If you paddle along the shore, it’s a greater distance, so it will take you a little longer, but this is often the best choice for less experienced kayakers. Along the way you’ll find many buoys or channel markers, including a bell buoy that you might sometimes hear on windy days when there’s choppy water. Here’s what the bell buoy looks like close up. You can see Sears Island in the background, and if you look real close you’ll see a red tugboat heading out to greet an incoming freighter, on it’s way to the cargo port.
And here’s a picture of the reward for paddling over to Sears Island! My wife Lorelei found a wonderful rock to rest on, on the beach at low tide, on the west side of the island. It’s well worth the trip!
Some of the textures we see in nature are fascinating. Yesterday, during a walk on Sears Island, I found this rock and found the striations quite striking. It’s actually quite a large rock, possibly what is called a glacial erratic, a non-native stone deposited on the shore here when the glaciers receded. Imagine the various minerals that must have come together in molten form millions of years ago. Pictures never do justice to things like this, but here it is anyway!
And I found this exquisite feather on the railing at the Searsport town pier early one morning. Notice the tiny droplets of dew!
We’ve had such a stretch of really wonderful weather here in Searsport this summer. Although our lawn is a little parched, the calm mornings have been wonderful for kayaking and other adventures. Have you ever visited the observation tower high above the Penobscot Narrows bridge? Stunning views from more than 400 feet above the river. Worth the 10 mile trip from the Shores!
Debbie Dutton travels all the way from Texas to spend summer in Maine! We’re so happy she’ll be Artist in Residence next week, she always has the most interesting projects!!
Deb has had myriad experiences in various artistic and creative areas. As a semi-retired graphic designer, her time spent in her studio these days is mostly hers to create what she loves. Paper, pens, pencils, watercolors are her favorites. She loves doing calligraphy and is on the board of the Houston Calligraphy Guild so she’s constantly learning and being challenged.
She creates really magical stuff! She’ll be teaching calligraphy and sharing some of her favorite projects at “The Shores
You don’t have to wait until winter to visit with Santa at Searsport Shores!
He visits every August and again during Fiber College of Maine in September.
Steve has practiced a “tradition of giving” since he was a child and continues to make wishes come true for individuals and charities. He describes his life as a hodgepodge of experiences, farmer, cowboy, canoe guide and nuclear engineer are just a few on his long list of accomplishments.
Here’s what Santa Steve has to tell you:
The most current project for my Cartooning Art is my Santa Coin expansion. For many years, I have been gifting North Pole Santa Coins to children and adults alike when ever I meet them in person.
For some children that are afraid of Santa, the coins are a great ice breaker. The North Pole Santa Coins are real coins minted specifically for me and the North Pole. I am the artist which creates the concept of the coins and then my elves have an opportunity to review the art and make suggestions for improving the coin. Once the review process is completed, the art goes to the engraver who makes a die for each coin. We produce about 5,000 coins at a time with half being gold and half being silver. The back of the coins is always the same, “The Tradition of Giving, One Wish,” but the front of each coin has a specific theme with words that exemplify the theme.
The first coin was the “Santa” coin with a simple message of “Happy Holidays.” The second coin was created for the North Pole Princess who is my Chief Elf of Operations. The third coin was the Mrs. Claus coin with a message of “Holiday Cheer.” The forth coin was for all of my elf helpers and is the North Pole Elf coin with a message of “Friendship.” The fifth coin was created because I have received so many requests for a coin for a person’s pet. The Reindeer coin has Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on it with a message of “Companionship.” The last coin of the original series was the Military Family coin to show solidarity with all of our military families that sacrifice so much to protect their country’s citizens.
I wanted to make a coin to commemorate all of the first responders that have given so much to their communities, but our budget for minting coins was completely used up. So I created a Kickstarter project to fund the next three coins. These coins are the First Responder Coin, the Holiday Music Coin and the North Pole Village Coin. I have the art for the next three coins, but once again the minting budget is depleted so we will have to wait while we save our money. The next three coins are the Christmas Tree Coin, the Cookie Coin and the Snowman Coin.
During his week as artist in residence Santa Steve will be teaching macrame, cartooning and chainmail. The most popular type of macrame today is “Survival Bracelets.” Students have so much fun with them and they are quick to make, they end up making bracelets, anklets, dog collars, and leashes. Steve will have a knot sampler project and resource books available. If a student would like to try more complex knots, time for that will also be available.
You might also like to try your hand at creating chainmail jewelry.