Haystack's exhibition series is an outgrowth of the school ’s commitment to supporting the dynamic work being done by makers of contemporary craft and to the creative process implicit in that. These exhibitions are an incredible resource for the community—featuring work by internationally distinguished makers—and also provide an opportunity to learn about these makers’ creative process as well. The Center for Community Programs is open on Wednesday and Friday-Sunday from 1:00–5:00 p.m. throughout the summer season, with informal receptions held every other Sunday afternoon. From time to time, we also schedule visits by appointment. These events, free and open to the public, attract a cross section of island residents and summer visitors, as well as our workshop participants.
|Birch bark canoe by Steve Cayard, whose work will be included in Artists of the Forest.|
This summer Haystack mounted two exhibitions at the school’s Center for Community Programs. From June 2–July 7, Artists of the Forest, an exhibition based on the words, works, and images of traditional artists who live and work in the Northern Forest of the northeastern United States, was on view. Cultural Resources—a non-profit organization in Maine that helps communities and groups identify, celebrate, and preserve the cultural traditions that make them unique—coordinated the traveling show, which exhibited at the Vermont Folklife Center in 2012 and at Traditional Arts in upstate New York this February.
Artists of the Forest features sixteen traditional artists from the North Country, which includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and upstate New York. Artists include Abenaki basketmaker Jeanne Brink; Acadian woodcarver Tom Cote; rustic furniture makers Annette and Sherman Craig; birch bark canoe maker Steve Cayard; rustic furniture maker Ron Fenlong; rustic furniture maker Barry Gregson; Abenaki basketmaker Jesse Larocque; dog sled maker Karen Jones; snow shoe maker and pack basket maker Bill Mackowski; rustic furniture maker Fred Peryer; wood carver Melvin Roy; and the late Newt Washburn, Abenaki basketmaker. The show focuses on the people, places, and work that define our region, encouraging an understanding and appreciation of life in Maine, and the North Country of New England, for local residents and visitors to the Island—from the US and around the world—alike. In addition, focusing on these artists, as well as tradition and craft, allows audiences to learn about the creative processes of these artists and how skills are shared, through mentoring new generations of artists, which helps these customs and traditions thrive.
In addition to the exhibition, three of the Maine artists who participated in the show (Steve Cayard, Tom Cote, and Bill Mackowski) gave gallery talks and demonstrations on Sunday, June 30. Artists of the Forest was supported by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission’s Celebrating Traditional Arts program and Haystack’s Program Endowment.
From July 14–September 1, the exhibition They Used to Work Here: Art by Haystack’s Summer Assistants featured the work of Haystack Summer Assistants—spanning a twenty-four year period—whose creative processes have been influenced by their time at Haystack. Haystack’s Summer Assistants represent a remarkable group of makers who work in a wide range of media. During their time working at Haystack they handled a variety of tasks and responsibilities in the day-to-day running of the school. During the course of the summer programs they also met many students and teachers and experienced a wide range of creative processes. The work in the exhibition was accompanied by text in the artists’ voices explaining the impact Haystack has had on their work and creativity.
David S. East, who is Chair of Ceramics at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and former Haystack Summer Assistant, said, “My time at Haystack framed a significant shift in my work as an artist. Deepening my relationship to the power of the history of the field while also opening for me the innovation and diversity that existed, my time at Haystack continues to be incredibly influential in my life and career as an artist.”
|Chris Leith, one of the 2013 mentors, led a weaving workshop in her studio.|
Haystack’s 15th annual Mentor Program, in which local teens work with area artist mentors in their studios, began in mid-January and will concluded in early April with an exhibition of student and mentor work at Haystack’s Center for Community Programs. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, April 12, from 3:00–6:00pm. The exhibition will remain on view until April 26.
Thirty-nine students from three area high schools participated in ten workshops with ten professional artists, over several weekends. The 2013 mentors included: Mark Bell (porcelain clay/wheel-throwing), Anne-Claude Cotty (pinhole photography), Sarah Doremus (metals), Sihaya Hopkins (glass beadmaking), Mary Howe (box making), Chris Joyce (woodturning), Chris Leith (weaving), Amelia Poole (shibori), Farrell Ruppert (blacksmithing), and Ellen Wieske (metals). The program is coordinated by Haystack's Community programs Coordinator, Hannah Barrows.
Support for the Mentor Program comes from these funds of these funds of Haystack's Program Endowment: the Ann and Chuck Holland Fund, the Belvedere Fund, and the Betsy Rowland Fund.
This summer Haystack mounted two exhibitions celebrating distinctly different mediums and traditions: Amy Stacey Curtis: Drawings About Time, (May 27-July 7) and Ragged Beauty (July 15-September 1). The first exhibition provided exposure for Maine artist Amy Stacey Curtis’s work to a national and international audience of Haystack attendees, as well as Island residents and visitors to the area, while Ragged Beauty provides a rare opportunity to see a world-class collection of Japanese textiles in Maine, curated by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, one of the foremost experts in shibori techniques.
|20 hours by Amy Stacey Curtis, 2010. Charcoal and graphite on paper, 22 1/2" x 22 1/2".|
Amy Stacey Curtis: Drawings About Time featured her recent work, 27 Hours. Amy, who is one of Maine’s most innovative artists, first came to Haystack in 1991 as a participant in the school’s Student Craft Institute, a program for gifted Maine artists who are in their junior year in high school. That experience was a catalyst in her decision to make her art a life-long pursuit. She studied studio art at the University of Maine at Orono and art and psychology at Norwich University, Vermont.
A multi-disciplinary artist, Amy Stacey Curtis is best known for her interactive ‘solo-biennial’ installations that are part of a ‘solo-biennial’ project—an 18-year art-making project that she began in 2000 and will conclude in 2016—involving nine solo exhibitions. These theme-based installations, which have included Movement (2002), Sound (2006), and Time (2010), are mounted in mill spaces throughout the state of Maine. Amy Stacey Curtis has traditionally used drawings as a way to support her installation projects but has recently been exploring drawing as a medium separate from this work. These drawings were the focus of the exhibition at Haystack and provided insight into how one of Maine’s emerging artists uses drawing as a means of self exploration and expression, while also conveying the transformative power of art and the creative process. Curtis’s 27 Hours were included in the 2011 exhibition, Emerging Dis/Order, held at the Bates College Museum of Art and the Museum’s contribution to the statewide visual arts initiative, The Maine Drawing Project. amystaceycurtis.com
Ragged Beauty features a selection of traditional Japanese textiles that collectively explore the themes of recycling and repair. The exhibition is curated by the renowned textile artist Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada and the work is on loan from her private collection. The exhibition focuses on boro—Japanese bedding covers and other functional textiles created in the 19th and early 20th centuries from recycled indigo-dyed cotton and bast fiber cloth and repurposed textiles and rags (boro is the Japanese word for "rag" or "tattered" and the process of boro represents the transformation of inconsequential material into something precious and useful). Each boro on display in Ragged Beauty is an assemblage with a unique shape, size, and history--these contemporary interpretations of repair and reuse create a bridge from the past into the future, reflecting traditional values as applied to new forms. The opportunity to view boro and learn about the original use of individual items in the show is unique.
Yoshiko Wada has taught four times at Haystack, most recently in 2005; this summer she taught a Shibori workshop, Boro Transformed: Patched, Pieced, Stitched, and Dyed in Greenest Indigo, during Haystack’s fourth session, July 15-27. yoshikowada.wordpress.com
Haystack's 2012 Summer Exhibitions were sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust and also supported by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission's Great Works program, and Haystack's Program Endowment Fund.
Read about our Past Exhibitions