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.
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.
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.