When beginning to find out more about this region, I was struck by the number of jewelry artists in New England, and went digging around to find out if there was a concrete reason or relationship. Indeed, there is! The Gorham company, dating back to 1831, established a tradition of silversmithing and fine craftsmanship in Rhode lsland. When Gorham closed the company, they made a significant donation of tools to the Jewelry and Metalsmithing department at the Rhode Island School of Design, helping to cement the foundation of this department. This contribution supported the growth of the strong community of jewelry artists throughout the New England region.
Maine historically has been a place of refuge for many artists, with Marsden Hartley, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, Paul Strand, John Marin, and Winslow Homer among the most prominent. When talking to Artful Home painters, I learned that the environment plays a crucial role in their work.
Maine artist Heidi Daub has been working on a series of paintings, “To Hear The Forest Speaking”, which has been directly influenced from living within the forest and carving a home out of the woods. According to Daub, the coastal Blue Hill peninsula offers deep “island climate” evergreen forests, granite shorelines, clear salt water, and many sun filled blue sky days. It is far from a major city, but has a history of culture, possibly springing from old time shipping, and the wealthy who settled along the shorelines. The peninsula is home to many artists, craftsmen, writers, musicians, including Haystack Mt School of Crafts, Kneisal Hall Music School, Flash In the Pan Steel Band, The Blue Hill Contradance, the longest running contradance in the state.
Furniture artist Gregg Lipton’s ties to the traditions of New England furniture making begin with his studio, housed in a restored 1860 water-powered lumber mill suspended over two rushing flumes in front of a 120-foot wooden dam. Here in this dramatic and inspiring workplace, Lipton uses intuition as his primary guide in creating designs with utility and grace. In many ways related to the simplicity of Shaker furniture making, Lipton’s work ultimately reflects a respect for the past, while reaching for the future.