Earlier this year, I was selected as one of four artists to participate in the Ellis Beauregard Foundation’s inaugural season of their Artist in Residence program in Rockland, Maine. Residency programs allow an artist working in any discipline to explore ideas and inspirations to further their craft; writers, performance artists, painters, photographers, etc., all benefit from these intense blocks of time to focus on their work. It was three years ago that I last was able to work in a residency program and I welcomed the opportunity to experiment with some new ideas.
Part of this residency program required a public component. Not being familiar with Rockland, I was connected with the Islands Institute to see if there were groups in the community who might benefit from what I proposed to offer for a program. I was connected with the art department at the Vinalhaven School and offered a three day pinhole photography workshop to the students there. I had never been to Vinalhaven, so this workshop benefitted me as well.
I started my tenure with the program with a base idea to work from. The theme I started with was the concept of Home. Given the current world climate with far too many people being displaced from their homes, being forced to flee their homelands not knowing where they would land and if they would be welcome where they land, and the increase in anti-immigration rhetoric here at home, this theme was well-timed.
The odd Fellows Hall on Vinalhaven. Bandaid box pinhole camera
Panorama pinhole image. Vinalhaven Quarry. made with a 1” x 10” paper negative
I provided each of the students with a set of pinhole cameras pre-loaded with photographic paper negatives. They went out after school and took images of their homes. The second day of the program we developed the negatives and made contact prints
On the third day of the pinhole camera workshop on Vinalhaven we made pinhole cameras which would accommodate rolls of 35 mm film
I explored the Rockland region and focused my work there in pinhole photography. I spent time at the Historical Society to discover that what formed Rockland in its infancy were the limestone quarries. Dragon Cement still works the quarries there and I was told they still have about 50 years of material to extract from the local quarries.
Dragon Cement. 16” x 20” pinhole camera, paper negative
My Santa Barbara pinhole camera set up at Simonton Quarry in Rockport
A detail image of the diorama at Boothbay Railway Village of Dragon Cement in Rockland, Maine
Dragon Cement, taken with a Polaroid pinhole camera. This diorama is at the Boothbay Railway Village and features Rockland and Dragon Cement
Simonton Quarry, Rockport, taken with a 4” x 5” Santa Barbara pinhole camera
In the radio station doing an interview for WRFR. I love local stations. This place is run entirely by volunteers!
I took some time to visit the local radio station in Rockland to talk about my work as a picture framer and pinhole photographer
I had wanted to work with cyanotypes for a long time. I combined the theme of Home with my pinhole work and the cyanotype process and worked to create a “quilt” of cyanotypes printed onto fabric which were abstracted images taken of the region. While I am still printing images to finalize the design, the initial layout is taking the form of Rockland’s Limerock Quarry, at one time it was one of the deepest quarries in the country.
I created the cyanotypes in batches. At dusk I would mix a batch of the formula then coat as many pieces of muslin as the batch would allow, then hung them to dry overnight. I’d wake before dawn to take them down and put them in a dark room until I was ready to print
I created digital negatives for the cyanotypes I wanted to print then set them out in the sun to process
The second part of my public program was to invite the public to see the results of my tenure. The Ellis Beauregard Foundation has four studio spaces in the Lincoln Center in Rockland. I installed prints of the pinhole work I completed while there and opened the doors to the public during the Art Walk
It was wonderful to have a studio room with such high ceilings. the “quilt” mock-up fit perfectly in the space–being able to stand back and look at the design was essential, I was grateful to have the space to do that
the first draft of the “quilt” I created out of cyanotypes printed on muslin. 480 pieces Limerock Quarry, Rockland
2 thoughts on “Artist Residency: Ellis Beauregard Foundation”
I love your cyanotypes- best, Denise Froehlich
Thank you! I’ll have to show you the finished project after I stitch it together!