FIELD TRIP-October 2011
By Veronique McCaree | Photographs by Amanda Kowalski
Maine artists Anita Roelz and Pamela Creamer transformed a rundown seaside shack into a creative space where paintings, beach stones, and dogs come together beautifully.
In the hands of jewelry designer Anita Roelz, beach rocks collide with hand-forged silver to create beautiful, delicately wrought jewelry. Roelz’s nature-inspired line is proof that well-designed jewelry can coexist with affordable prices—and paintings and dogs.
Roelz is a co-owner of the Creative Turtle, a fine-art gallery and studio, pet boutique, and jewelry shop located just a stone’s throw from Boothbay Harbor’s working waterfront. Painter Pamela Creamer is her partner, and the artist is responsible for the dozens of nature paintings, giclee prints, and murals that fill the walls.
Weary of the growing urban sprawl in Arizona, the creative couple relocated to Maine in hopes of finding a calmer life where they could have creative careers and enjoy the outdoors. “We are both originally from New England,” says Roelz. “We picked Boothbay Harbor for its size, close-knit community, and proximity to family and nature.”
They devised a plan: Creamer would scale back her business (she’s a professional muralist) to combine her love of visuals and fascination with nature into smaller, colorful paintings and custom animal portraits. Roelz would develop a jewelry line, and they would showcase their work in a combination studio and gallery. The two women found a small building, restored the bulk of it themselves, and officially opened a few years ago.
These days, the Creative Turtle is a dog-friendly gallery (they even dole out treats to the canine crowd) that offers a lively selection of cool, eco-conscious pet accessories (recycled-rubber dog collar, anyone?) along with painted furniture and, of course, paintings and jewelry.
Creamer paints on the premises while Roelz makes an assortment of silver earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that use striking beach stones as focal points. “It’s the motion plus the sun and saltwater that create the various sizes, shapes, and textures,” says Roelz. “And what makes them so appealing is that no two are the same.” While she prefers to work with her own beach stones, Roelz will consider the occasional custom request.
So next time you find yourself in Maine’s midcoast region, stop by and meet Roelz, Creamer, and their two Weimaraners, Stone and Jasmine. Try on some jewelry, check out the paintings, and don’t forget to bring your best friend. The Creative Turtle is a refreshing field trip indeed.
You collect? Rocks, of course, plus shells, beach glass, driftwood, feathers, and abandoned nests. Oh, and I have a soft spot for vintage Pyrex!
Favorite dog walk? To the end of our property on Montsweag Bay. The dogs can swim and eat seaweed, and we can take in the view of Oak Island, where only nesting eagles live.
In your spare time? I love Boothbay Harbor’s Ports of Italy! The owner, Sante, and the gnocchi are terrific! Happy hour at the Thistle Inn. And Molly’s Table for our winter gathering of local merchants where we share business and creative inspiration. Oh, and Casual Interiors—love, love, love.
What’s with the name? The Creative Turtle is actually my partner, Pam. The name of our mural business for 16 years was Creative Painting. Pam’s animal inspiration and totem is a turtle, very slow, steady, and patient, representative of Mother Nature and our approach to design—and life!
Take a field trip to Creative Turtle at 11 Granary Way in Boothbay Harbor. Call 207-633-0600 or visit thecreativeturtle.com.