Meet Kathleen Gerdes Artist in Residence August 23 – 29

moiBecoming a fiber artist was one of the best things that I’ve ever done in my life!  My circle of friends has grown to include people from across the state of Maine and beyond.  I never dreamed that life could be so good!  When I began walking down this path, I was imbedded in a corporate life, where I knew that if I continued, all I’d ever make in life would be money.  My hands (and heart) were itching to create!  I’d dabbled in alot of art forms, such as stained glass, pottery and the softer handcrafts like embroidery and sewing.  But when I discovered fiber at a great little shop called Portfiber, my world exploded like the Fourth of July fireworks.  Being a discontented city dweller, the road to my country life lead me to brilliant colors (that I had never seen before!) and shapes and designs that I never knew existed.
Today I live deliberately and spend my days immersed in my feltwork.  Felting is a magical process that leads to all kinds of wonderful results.  When people ask what I do, the best explanation that can give them is “I paint with wool”.  And one of the most magical things about it is…….anyone can do it!   When I am teaching, my students begin the class doubting that they can create a “wool painting” or a cute whimsical 3D figure, but by the time we finish our project, they are amazed with the results.
On August 23rd, I will be at the “Shores” for a wonderful fiber filled week of felting fun.  For those families who will be camping that week, we will be making dragons and wizards, frogs, turtles, owls, sheep, hedgehogs and we’ll even make ducks in ponds, just to name a few of the projects that you can choose from!  And all from wool!!  I will teach you the very easy and satisfying art of needle felting or wet felting, whichever appeals more to you. Or perhaps you’d like to learn both. The choice is yours.  Kids will love creating animals that can made in under an hour.  For the adults, you may choose to make a wall hanging to bring home with you.  Or perhaps you’d like to make felted beads to create a necklace or earrings.  Wearable art is unique and can be made by anyone, even children!   It will be a wonderful opportunity for families to spend quality time together while creating fun projects that everyone will enjoy.
One of the best things about felting for me is knowing that the possibilities are simply ENDLESS.  It’s like a mountain with no top!   My list of possible projects grows longer and longer each day and for the first time in my life, that’s a wonderful feeling!  I hope it never ends……….
I can’t wait to meet you at the “Shores”.  I will be there beginning August 23rd, for a week.
In fibery goodness,
Kathleen Gerdes
fc nf fishfc wf necklace

Maryly Matthewman Creates the Faces of Searsport Shores, August 9-15

MarylyMatthewmanDear Campers,

My week in August will be here soon enough.  My July seems to be booked up already and it will be wonderful to come to Maine and create with you.

This will be my third session as Artist in Residence in Searsport and it is easy to think of things to share as everyone has always been so open to new ideas.  Although I found my work as a dental hygienist in a dental clinic serving the underserved in our community pretty rewarding, I love retirement time! Now I can sew and stitch, put colors, textures and forms together, make baby quilts, knit mittens, hats, socks, sweaters and do it the way I want to for as long as I want to.

This year as part of my “Faces of ………Project” I will be creating a face out of bits of fabric  and I hope you will join me for a  “Faces of Searsport Shores Campground”.   I am working on “Faces” of different areas, jail, Boys and Girls Club, Laconia, and Squam, NH.  I will also help you create a self portrait to take home.

My friend has given me some of her lovely handcrafted glass beads to sell for $1 and they are beautiful! So, I have a lot planned for you and I do hope you will join.  Want to learn to knit?? I can teach you as I have been teaching beginner knitting in our jail for about 5 years now. I will bring yarn and needles, just show up! Anyone interested in knitting at all, come this week so we can knit together.  And if at all possible, I would love to use that outside bread oven!!!! I have been a bread baker for well over 40 years.  Well cheers to a great week!



Santa Comes to Searsport Shores August 2-8

SantaSteveSchruersWe 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.

Here’s a note from the “jolly ol’ elf”

Hello Dear Friend,

The cold dark winter here at the North Pole has ended and it is time for me to visit folks around the world. My first stop will be to visit my mid-Atlantic workshop in Olney, Maryland. While in Maryland, I will participate in a few athletic Charity events and run in the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race, the Race for Hope, the Race for the Cure and the Purple Stride race. I will also check-in on Olney Armorers where I am a Master Armorer and teach armor construction and chainmail jewelry. I learned these skills many years ago when some of my elves asked for chainmail shirts as props for their role playing games. At $800 each we could not afford to buy chainmail shirts. This was before the days of the internet, so we used a picture from a museum catalogue and a magnifying glass to teach ourselves how to make chainmail.

In August, I will be visiting Searsport Maine where I will be teaching chainmail, macrame and cartoon character design. As you may remember, I learned my basic knotting (macrame) skills as a Boy Scout and expanded upon that while I worked as a cowboy and a canoe guide. I taught myself cartooning when I needed to create my Santa Claus coins to give to children who were brave enough to talk to Santa. In addition, I expanded my cartooning when I needed to create sports team t-shirts and singlets for my North Pole Endurance Team.

All three arts take time to learn the basics and even more time to broaden your knowledge. Macrame takes the least amount of time to learn and chainmail takes the most time to learn. Cartooning is somewhere in the middle. For chainmail, I teach all three basic types of chainmail: European (what you see in the movies), Persian (what some call Byzantine) and Asian (rarely seen). Most beginners can learn European and Asian weaves in a couple of days. Persian weave is much harder and should wait until a student is more advanced.

The most popular type of macrame today is “Survival Bracelets.” My students have so much fun with them and they are quick to make, we seldom go beyond the survival bracelets. The students end up making bracelets, anklets, dog collars, and leashes. If a student wishes to go beyond survival bracelets, I will have a knot sampler project and resource books with me.

The cartooning I teach is character (or avatar) design. I start with simple characters like “Kilroy was here” dating from World War II. I will have several resource books for character ideas and sketching pointers.

I have a special fondness for these three art forms because I can use them to bring happiness to others. Watching the triumph in a student’s face as they master an art is priceless.

While at Searsport Shores, I will be helping children and adults create many fun projects. The typical chainmail projects are key chains, bracelets, necklaces and pouches. The most common projects for macrame are bracelets, anklets, dog collars, and belts. The cartooning projects are mostly animal avatars. Typically I teach chainmail and macrame at the same time on a walk-in basis. For the cartooning, students should arrange a specific time in advance. I will be available for teaching from 9 am to 5 pm with a 1 hour lunch break.

Take care and I look forward to seeing you at Searsport Shores.



Santa Steve the Marathon Man
Santa Steve the Marathon Man


Ellen Mason “The Humble Stitch” Artist-in-Residence July 26 – August 1


When I was about ten years old I busted my Mom’s sewing machine. My Dad gathered it up and left the house almost immediately. Two hours later he came home with a 1940’s Singer sewing machine. It was classic black with painted gold scrolls. It sewed forward and backward. That beautiful machine was a gift for me, just me. (They replaced my Mom’s machine shortly afterward.) This is how my folks supported my stitching habits from the time I was just a girl, keeping me in fabric and yarn, machines and tools. They enrolled me in lessons, provided space, and most of all, example. I was raised as a maker by a family of do-it-yourselfers. And I was never, ever bored.

Today I live in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, sewing or knitting every day. I make most of my clothing and I write patterns for knitted items such as sweaters and mittens.  While at Searsport Shores, I will sew a complete garment each day.  Come learn about patternmaking and garment construction, both sewn and knitted, and the tiny thing that holds it all together: The Humble Stitch. Campers are invited to sew an accessory, fasten a button, hem too-long pants, embellish with embroidery, all with coaching and the company of friends. Stitching is a handy skill that can be learned at any age!


297 362eASW saddle shoulder sweater 5

Twin Invasion Camp & Create with Susan & Seasi Ober July 19 – 25

Seasi Ober
Susan Ober

You might think you’re seeing double when the Ober sisters come to Camp and Create! Susan Ober is a quilter from West Haven, Connecticut. Her identical twin sister Nancy “Seasi” Ober is a potter from Kansas City, Mo. Susan’s primary art form is quilts, She has made around 100 to date; Seasi has been throwing pottery for over 30 years, and they both enjoy gardening.

Susan makes her living as a Registered Nurse but remembers her first job as a “field girl” on a vegetable farm when she was 16 yeas old. She drove the tractor and helped out at the farm stand but her favorite part of the job was picking strawberries! Susan began sewing at a young age as well, she has been seriously quilting for 15 years. It’s theraputic to play with color and texture, and she loves seeing how pieces fit together like a big fabric puzzle. When she’s not at the sewing machine you can find Susan at her plot in the community garden coaxing beautiful flowers and vegetables from the soil and sharing with her freinds.

Seasi left for the Mid-West in the 1970’s and never looked back. She attended college in Kansas and received a degree in Art then started her own gardening business which she ran for 20 years. Seasi then headed back to college to receive her Master’s in Education. She teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) Her pottery is utilitarian bowls, cups and vases that she sell at area fairs.

As Artists-in-Residence “The Twins” will explore what’s growing in the garden at Searsport Shores and guide campers through a wide variety of activities.

Hoop Dancer Jen Appleby July 16-19

Jen guiding morning mindful stretch 

Hello future hoop friends!

My name is Jen Appleby and I will be bringing Wingspan Mindful Movement to Searsport Shores July 16-19th. I am a hula hoop dancer from Lisbon Falls Maine and I love helping kids and adults alike find joy in learning to hoopdance. I am a long time mover and have dabbled in tai chi, yoga, ballet, and baton before finding a home in hoopdance as ‘flow art’ five years ago. I love engaging in the physical exploration of moving with a prop and expressing myself through dance. Hoopdance is truly an art and a science. It also affords a person’s mind and body a uniquely creative means to connect to the present moment and to one’s own personal, physical experience. Hoopdance is good for balance, flexibility, attention, energy regulation, stress reduction, weight loss, core toning, immune strengthening and self-expression. I will hold two sessions daily on the 17th and 18th with an evening jam on the 16th and a morning mindful stretch on the 19th. Morning classes will focus on meeting the day with gently and gracefully. We will gather on the beautiful ocean deck and focus on using the hoop as a tool for meditative stretching. In the evening we will jam out on the bball court during which time I will demo some basic dance moves and offer one to one instruction as we all dance together. Both classes are open to all ages and abilities, though the am. class may be more conducive to children over 12. I will have hoops available for use as well as purchase. Please give yourself the gift of silly and serious fun. Come join the circle!

Giant bubbles!

I will also be blowing giant bubbles and will have them available for purchase!

Ever wondered what is the biggest bubble you could blow? Come join Jen before hoop class on the basket ball court and experience the giant fun of creating enormous soap bubbles. With some basic know how, the right weather conditions and a little patience, you too can enjoy this whimsical and mindful art. Jen will have wands to try and wands for purchase. Come be amazed and then stay on for hula hoop dance party!