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Home of the Makers Guild of Maine

Let’s Start Fresh

Wow…that’s really all that I’ve got! I’ve been thinking about how much I miss writing on our blog for ages but I had no real idea that my last post was almost a year ago. My only excuse is that it was a year like no other and I’ll leave it at that.

We’ve lost too many friends and family members to Covid to feel as though we want to celebrate but with every loss comes a re-examination of our values and the quality of the lives we lead within our community. The pandemic has amplified our awareness of how fortunate we are to be living in Searsport Maine, a gift that our ancestors never imagined they would be providing when they left the lands they knew to build a life in New England.

I remember that my grandfather kept a touchstone in his pocket. Grampa Avery was a logger from Northern New Hampshire and his touchstone was a well worn river rock that he kept in his pocket and fidgeted with when he was standing in line or waiting for someone to emerge from a shop. It was black and smooth and had an indentation for his thumb. I can’t say why but a month ago we found it wedged in the back of a drawer of his old roll top desk. I hadn’t seen it for at least 40 years but touching it brought back memories of pipe smoke, sawdust and huge calloused hands.

Touchstones is my 2021 word. Our beach is covered with them and I am forever picking them up and trying them on for size…the heart shaped ones are my favorite. Touchstone will be the 2021 organizing theme of our non-profit initiative Makers Guild of Maine and I’ve sewn an amulet bag to hold my phone, earbuds and a smooth piece of lapis that I found in my travels. This summer when you comb the beach for your perfect stone, please share your finding with me. Touchstones need to be felt to be understood; their texture, weight and temperature in our hands give meaning to the stories they hold.

No, we haven’t just been thinking deep thoughts this winter, we’ve been working through the practical too. Our living room has been transformed into a planning space with piles of work including the mundane tasks of comparing insurance policies, sorting a bazillion photos and planning music for our Wednesday at the Shores series. Being outside is where we’d rather be so we’ve been finding plenty of time to hike and cook over the fire during the past months. Like most, we haven’t had any visitors into our home but boy can we enjoy a good meal or drink by the bonfire with friends and family.

I’m going to run now…the texts and the e-mails are piling up while I reminisce about the months gone by.

Please be well and stay in touch. I’m great at e-mail (relax@campocean.com) but only mediocre at returning phone calls (207) 548-6059. We’re planning on hosting our annual clean up weekend May 14-16th and will be opening the park for the summer on May 21st.

Looking forward to posting again soon,

4 responses to “Let’s Start Fresh”

  1. Here in South Carolina we’re coming into Spring. 72* degess this pas weekend made things start to pop.
    I too am working on hearts in my work. I working with the concept that hearts are interchangeable, not only in reality, but in the emotions of life.
    Have you ever noticed that kids don’t care who you Mom is or who your Dad is. They don’t care what language you speak, what culture you’re from…they just want to play. And their play is an active acceptance of other kids through loving play It’s so simple. I had one mother tell me her little boy runs to the play ground and yells, “I’m here”!
    Where, at what point did we loose the part about “being here?” Open to all we meet.
    Heart shapes are universal. We all need to find them, make them…and give them to anyone who passes. My new work is just that. It’s 3-D figurative work and offers a heart to anyone that passes. And inspite of the challenges, hurts, and divisiveness of 2020 …we all need love and the gestures of love.
    Blessings from SCarolinians to the Coast of Maineers.

    Melinda Hoffman

    • Blessings back to you Melinda. Our connections run deep and your observation about “being here” is profound. I too am trying to focus more on what it means to be present and available…without asking others to make it through my filters first. Do you have a place where you share your work? For me, it’s the campground…after years of trying to define it, I slowly became aware that the campground is my art…it’s where we put our hearts and souls out to the world and hope that our love will bring joy to others who come to stay for a couple of days or a few precious months. Be well, Astrig

    • I’m soooooooo looking forward to saying hello again! We’re working on a set of retreats for the Makers Guild that will make your heart sizzle…we’re a ways from making everything public but I can say that the June Dye, Print and Stitch retreat with Mary Delano, Kristine Biegle and Chris Fraga-Thornton is becoming a satisfying reality. (insert smile and wink emojis). Hugs to you and your team.

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