The Martha’s Vineyard Museum opened the doors of their new home this week. Here’s a bird’s eye view nearing completion from their website…
DCIM100MEDIADJI_0292.JPG photo credit probably Denny Wortman but I’ll check.
It’s an exciting time for all who have supported the dream of transforming the old marine hospital into its newest reincarnation as home for the MV Museum and its collection of island history, artifacts and lore. The Museum, as a collective, is a living breathing vibrant organization which brings archived island history to life for each new generation.
Readers will remember that way back in 2013, can it be that long ago, I worked on a series of paintings, Reclamation, which explored the Marine Hospital building as it then stood, abandoned and restless, on the hill overlooking Vineyard Haven harbor.
The MV Museum had just purchased the property with the goal of converting it to their new headquarters. And, after five years of hard work and visionary grit, the board, staff, construction workers and volunteers have realized their dream.
As part of the opening exhibit in their space devoted to Island Art, “Lost and Found, The Marine Hospital”, the museum has curated examples of artwork inspired by the original building. They managed to round up, and have included, several of the paintings from my Reclamation Series, and Adam Smith sent me some photos of those paintings in situ from the show…
The 2008 painting of Strider’s Surrender, which was donated to the MV Museum by a supportive patron, has now found a home in its permanent collection. Chris Morse, owner of the Granary Gallery, sent me a photo of the crew installing the piece…
And Adam caught it again at the opening…hello from the studio to Phil Wallis, MV Museum’s Executive Director, down along the hallway there…
The Painter’s Notes for both the Reclamation Series and Strider’s Surrender fill in some of the inspiration and back story for these pieces and can be read by interested parties by clicking on their highlighted names in this sentence.
It is both personally and professionally kind of amazing to see these paintings hanging in the new museum.
As artists… we churn our days away at the easel challenged by the muses tossing paint around with tiny brushes grounded, as far as our left brains will allow, and working primarily in the present.
It is humbling to see one of those creations hanging in a museum which is grounded, as far as any good mission statement will allow, in the past.
In preserving the past.
I don’t often get to see where my paintings go after they are sold. If I’m brutally honest, it is sometimes so emotionally difficult to put so much of my self and soul into the creation of the artwork only to let it go and never be seen, by me, again that I have to compartmentalize that bit into a dusty corner of my heart.
If I had a gratitude journal… today’s entry would be this blog post.
I am grateful for all those whose support has given these paintings a new audience to tell their stories to…and I am looking forward to getting to see them again…in person soon.
Well, tomorrow at this time we will be pulling into Mystic for our first stop on the way to the island. And so it is fitting to use this last blog post before the show to catch you up on the investigation into that carving on the spinning wheel at the Mystic Seaport Museum.
THIS JUST IN…
Remember this painting…
The Spinning Loft
And do you remember the detail shot of the carving on this large wheel in the foreground
Well, Follansbee and Co have uncovered some information that brings us closer to solving the riddle of who might have carved it and what building would it have been.
I’m a food historian who consults with museums, film producers, publishers, and individuals.
My training is in archaeology and cooking, and I enjoy applying the knowledge of past cooks and artisans to today’s food experience.
My work is exploring bygone pathways of food history and culture, through building, experimenting, playing, and eating.
I’ve known of her through Peter, and following her on social media, but we haven’t yet met.
So Peter reaches out to his Plymouth pals and they do what they do best…research stuff. I’m going to copy the thread of their discoveries here, with permission of the author, and then the caveat that she made me promise to include will be there at the end. Clearly these people are driven by brilliant minds, and their super powers are curiosity.
From Peter then Paula,
PF -So the question is: Is the graffiti scratched into this equipment at Mystic, originally from Cordage park, real? Is that a building somewhere around Cordage?
Who would know?
PM -I will want to read her blog later carefully—but yes what mystic exhibits is one third of Plymouth Cordage’s rope walk.
PM -The builidng in the graffiti (which IS fascinating) looks to be a wharfside structure, right? The ell to the right is on pilings over the water. Plymouth Cordage was situated to take advantage of Plymouth’s best natural channel—a piece of relatively navigable water called the Town Guzzle. Certainly long gone by the time of this image around 1900:\https://digital.hagley.org/AVD_1982_231_016
If you look at this map, you can see how the walk was situated….(here’s a clip) I would guess that the building pictured would be between the place it was carved in the ropewalk building and the harbor.
There are other 19th c images I’ll poke around for later
Then Peter assumes he has satisfied my tasking him to get the skinny…
PF – (satisfied) my debt to Heather that is…god knows what I owe PM now…
Then… PM – Also January 25, 1867 — the storehouse at the Cordage Works was “blown down” in a gale and a lot of damage was done to wharves…. that could have been the end of that building (WT Davis, Memories, p 221)
And again a day later…
PM – In its earliest iteration the Cordage consisted of a rope-walk, wharf, storehouse and other buildings (incorporated August 1824).
Huge expansions came by the late 30s, with the adoption of steam power, but the walk itself might function the same regardless of power source.
I can see from the same source that two Carrs (Andrew and Patrick) had been working for the Cordage for decades by 1900 —then both around middleaged and having started working there young — Patrick at 9).
My money that a little more research will suggest their father, Belfast emigrant William Thomas Carr, produced these graffiti after lunch on August 4th, 1851, while his foreman was out sick with “a summer complaint, brought on by eating blackberries and cream”. Okay, we probably won’t get to that satisfying a level of detail. But the first two paragraphs are documented at least.
And quickly after I asked if I could share this here…
Sure, Heather, with the proviso that it is very “tossed-off” and incomplete—I should be working on my own problems, but I get so sucked into these kinds of questions (in case that’s not apparent) but I’m always surprised when others are interested. And although I was joking about the elder Mr. Carr from Belfast, I would not be shocked if I could get a little further with his identity—the Cordage was great at record-keeping. In it’s first fifty years at least it was the very model of a paternalistic enterprise — its founder had very high ideals and took a distinct interest in the welfare of the workers and their families.
Here’s the bibliography so far. (There are lots more cordage publications, too, that I haven’t looked into yet.):
The Plymouth Cordage Company; Proceedings at Its Seventy-fifth Anniversary
By Plymouth Cordage Company (1900)
Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian
By William Thomas Davis
History of the Town of Plymouth
By James Thacher
Now wasn’t that cool to learn about ?
I know, me too, I love the library at our fingertips time we live in.
And I love that all these people are making their livings today by dabbling in centuries old traditions and crafts.
If you want to learn more about such endeavors, I encourage you to start by doing some of you own research, and I’ll make it really easy for you…
Oh what a night it was. The house was packed, as they say, with eager friendly faces who came for the premiere and to support all of us who were captured by the magic of David and Barbarella’s brilliance.
Herself and I were blown away. They did such an amazing job. Our fifteen minutes of fame stretched a bit further, on into the weekend, where we had a super opening at the Granary Gallery.
There is much more to write and share, but along with the swollen ego that filled the car on the way home…I picked up some swollen glands…and the muses have sat me down firmly in order to heal this viral plague so I can get back to those brushes and fill up some of the empty wall spaces !
So, I’m going to sip on my chicken soup and dream back on all the glamor and love surrounding the week on MV.
Meanwhile….it’s your turn.
All you who were unable to make the premiere, and all of those who left the theater wanting to watch it all over again, and again…you can now just click on the link above and be magically transported to The Artist Odyssey website…grab a bowl of popcorn, and watch this movie on the screen of your choosing.
All manner of good things, and summer love, to you all…
Well…in a little over a week it will be MOVIE TIME !!!
This is a reminder that, if you are on the island of Martha’s Vineyard next week, and you want to join us for the premiere of the movie, Visions of Home, Directed, by David and Barbarella Fokos, produced for Chris Fessenden, founder of the new arts website venture, TAO The Artist Odyssey… all you need is a ticket.
The tickets are FREE.
But you do need to reserve them. You can do that in two ways,
“The muses wanted to weigh in on this election cycle, the prop room decided to step things back a century, and by the time I got around to choosing the right teacup…the eagle was doing a flyby.”
Goodnight Moon – 16 x 20
“Our youngest grand daughter, Zoë, is a firefly, sparkly, bouncy, Tigger sort of a girl. She has the gift of a magical curiousity, and the rare patience to make the most of everything new her 5-year old eyes come across. Our days together are a blast, but I think my favorite part is tucking her freshly brushed and pajama’d self under the covers, giving her an eagle hug, and listening from the room next door as her Gran reads one more book. Goodnight Moon is a favorite for us both. Zoë has her own copy; the book in this painting is the one that sent me to dreamland when I was her age. The mouse is eternal.”
And, after a frantic couple of days when this very website was off the rails…I want to send a shout out of thanks to my tech crew…Ross ! We in the creative department are so glad you’ve got our backs.
but I may soon have to brush the paparazzi out of my hair…
because we have a movie premiere to attend…
Tonight I painted the last brushstroke on the last painting for this summer’s Granary Gallery Show. And while I have been working hard here in my studio, all the way across the country, the famed infamous artists/film production team of David and Barbarella Fokos have been in their San Diego studio creating a documentary about my artwork.
You can view David’s spectacular photographs on his site, click here…and explore Barbarella’s world of wonders on her site, click here.
I’ve been teasing you here along the way, and now they have created a teaser of their own, a trailer for the upcoming movie, Visions of Home.
Pat and I have been singing the background music all week.
And hang on to your chiffon and your boas everybody, there is going to be an actual PREMIERE. Yes. The MV Film Society has information on their site, click here.
It will be at the Capawok Theater, in Vineyard HavenFriday July 29th 6PM
The tickets will be free but they tell me anyone interested in coming will need to check in with the theater to reserve seats. After the film there will be a Q and A with, the artiste, the film makers, and the director of TAO, The Artist Odyssey, Chris Fessenden.
Please take an extra minute to visit their website, where you can view some of the other artist profiles that David and Barb have done. Wonderful.
Forgive me in advance as the promotion department will need to use all available media to get the work out, so you may experience inundation.
It has been a long winter of hibernation, and as tired as I am tonight…
my spirits are lifted by the excitement swirling around the studio…
I’d much rather be sitting next to him on a bench carving spoons, but this promises to be a classic tutorial and I know he’s been practicing so mine’s in the mail.
Here’s the link to his website where there is a video preview. Click Here
Be prepared…if you go down this road you will have more fun than a human ought to have and you will never need another session of therapy or artificial mood enhancer.
While you are on his site, which he has just updated, there are tons of other Follansbee items of interest including other videos, his workshop schedule and some of his very own spoons and other woodworking projects for sale.
It doesn’t get any better than that.
Please share with your friends, woodworking pals and otherwise.
Fine Art Connoisseur just arrived in today’s mail. I always put down the brushes and take a quick peek while it’s hot off the presses, so it was interesting to find that editor Peter Trippi has written a feature article, “Celebrating America’s Great Collectors” and to read that, first up, among the two dozen written about, is an interview with collectors, Scott Allocco and Doug Clark…
Readers of this blog will know them to be dear friends of ours, but will now be able to learn, in this article, about their journey as serious art collectors. Doug and Scott’s generosity extends well beyond their patronage, but it was still a wonderful surprise to see that the magazine chose one of my paintings to illustrate their collection.
Oh the doors that they have opened. My brushes have all lined up next to the late night easel, and are bowing to you my friends. Ta