I'm writing my next story and it's called The Belle of Maine Creative Arts Center. I purchased the WS Wells Fiddlehead Cannery building - known by locals as the Belle of Maine building in April of this year. I'm in my element here. I knew last summer when I looked at the building it is THE SPOT I need to do the much bigger work I've been thinking about for 20 years or more; And the spot that would push me to grow in my work. At nearly the 5 year mark of my move to Maine I absolutely feel like I'm where I belong. Some of you long-time followers know I ran a nursery in Seattle, WA for 13 years called The Village Green Perennial Nursery. I am a community-builder - a grower of things, livelihoods, and most importantly, relationships. This is my new "Village Green" and where I'm truly putting down forever roots. I'm excited about what I can grow here. What really touches me is the history of this place - the cannery. I'm not the first to grow something here. For me there's always a story that pulls me in and inspires me. Canning dandelions, World War II victory garden vegetables, and the iconic Maine fiddlehead ferns, the WS Wells Fiddlehead Cannery - called The Belle of Maine by locals -was founded in 1896, run for 4 generations of Wells family members, and is now home to The Belle of Maine Creative Arts Center. Already the work being produced is evolving. I'm working with really great people and the collaborations are so energizing. My goal is to use the space for education and the nurturing of ideas. There's room for a jewelry studio, pottery, and additional workspaces. There will be a separate space for welding and blacksmithing. I'll be building it out in stages.
Anything great takes time and dedication to grow, not to mention community support. Already the community support is coming together. We'll have an open house during the Wilton blueberry festival on August 7th. Later in October I will be doing more formal fund-raising to purchase equipment for the pottery studio which will enable additional community classes. I found the most wonderful vintage labels from the cannery which will be framed as gifts for my first round of supporters. Hope to see you there.