Tactile Textures


Photography Scott Dorrance

Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade On Collaboration: “We both draw and paint, and our works are executed by either one of us or as a team—each work continues our visual conversation. We first worked together screen-printing and assembling fabric at the University of Southern Connecticut.”

On Influences: “Medieval manuscript illumination, the Hudson River School, Surrealism, the graphic design and meaning of flags, textile design, and, of course, the rich history of quiltmaking—we combine both literal and symbolic elements, and merge handcraft and fine art practices.”


On Roots: “Duncan’s family connections to Maine go back to the late 18th century. We moved to Maine to work from a rural and coastal perspective, settling into an Edgecomb farmhouse and renovating the attached barn into our studio.”


On Technical & Aesthetic Evolutions: “We screen-print some repeat patterns and have also worked with digitally printing the dyes on fabric. Our early work focused on a view of the world framed through ornamentation: decoration, and architectural context, such as over porch railings and out of windows, place defined through the lens of a man-made world. Our current work continues to pursue the relationship of humanity and nature in a more subjective manner.”


For more Frass and Slade: James Patrick Gallery, Wiscasset (seasonally); the Gleason Gallery, Boothbay Harbor



Sallie Findlay

On Real Education: “With art, I am one who self-learns, using books and experiments. My true education comes from opening my eyes and letting images, smells, sounds, and beauty enter my soul and come out my hands and fingers.”


On Maine’s Magnetism: “I first came to Maine in the 1980s—that visit included a brief look-around of Haystack Mountain School. In 1997, my husband suggested we take a short class at Haystack and before the class was over, he and I had plans to summer here. In 2003, we sold our house in Maryland and moved into an old captain’s house built in 1887 in the village of Deer Isle. Our hearts sing here.”


On One State & Two Artists: “The greatest influence on my work is the beauty of Maine: the landscape, the sea, the creatures, flora, winds, sky, and all the edges and transitions between them. The two artists who have had the greatest influence on my work, my confidence, and love of fibers are: Katharine Cobey, who uses knitting to express her strong nature, and Michael Olszewski who opened my heart to the delights of dyeing with Japanese techniques.”


On Progression: “I began my life as a fiber artist for pleasure and as an antidote to a stressful life in business. Today, my confidence as an artist has evolved: my stitches are more sure and even, my color sense takes ever stronger cues from the seasons, the lines I make now define space and feelings more effectively, and my spirit speaks in a creative language with greater consistency, complexity, and range.”


For more Findlay: Eggemoggin Textile Studio in Sedgwick, dowstudio on Deer Isle, the Deer Isle Artists Association, and salliefindlay.com




Chris Leith

On Arriving: “For 15 years, the private girl’s school I taught at in Troy, New York sent me to Haystack Mountain School to take workshops. The fields of lupine, extraordinary light, and authenticity of the people that I met on Deer Isle quickly captured my imagination. Attending workshops grew into summering with my family, buying a piece of land, and eventually building a home and studio/showroom in 2002. I opened Eggemoggin Textile Studio when we moved here.”


On Working: “Most days begin with working in the dye studio, followed by weaving on my two Macomber looms from York, Maine. Although I’m dyeing 15 yards of warp at a time to make 5 scarves or shawls, each weaving is a little different and has its own color story.”


On Surprises: “Although years of working with dyes has given me a certain knowledge of what might happen colorwise, it’s the surprises produced by pushing things that don’t necessarily belong together that often results in the most interesting pieces.”


On Sharing: “One of the great treasures of living in Maine is that you meet people from all over the world and get to share the natural beauty and seasonal rituals that make our state so special. So during the summer season, I stay put and ‘travel’ by meeting our guests.”


For more Leith: Eggemoggin Textile Studio, Directions Craft Shows on Mount Desert Island and Portland, and the Common Ground Fair




Sarah Haskellcraft2.jpg

On Making The Spirit Seen: “My woven textile artwork is inspired by the human spirit. I strive to give a visual image to my emotions and my reactions to world events.”


On How Our Children Change Us: “My early work was landscape imagery. After the birth of my children, my work began to be more abstract and focus on the themes of family and community.”


On Coming Home: “I come from a long line of Maine descendants, going back many generations. I was born in Boston, summered in Yarmouth, and sailed the coastal waters while I was growing up. In 2007, I moved to York with my husband and children.”


On Influences: “Textiles from other cultures, the use of textiles in spiritual practices throughout history (i.e., Tibetan prayer flags), myths and stories, and both environmental (Andy Goldsworthy) and minimalist art (Agnes Martin).”


On the World: “After the devastation from the tsunami in 2004, I felt compassion and sadness for the thousands of people that had lost everything dear to them and created The Village series. Then, my Spinning Houses series was created in response to the two devastating natural phenomena that occurred in the fall of 2005: Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Pakistan. In previous works, such as the Villages Series, the houses were firmly planted on the ground—but in this series, the houses have become airborne and spinning in space.”


For more Haskell: Sarah Haskell Studio, group shows at the Kittery Art Association, the George Marshall Gallery in York, and Sarahhaskell.com





Elizabeth Busch

On Education & Feeling at Home: “I have a BFA in Painting and Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design. Though I’ve lived in Maine for 41 years, I am ‘from away’—but the pace of life here and the surrounding beauty feels like the bucolic Connecticut where I grew up.”


On An Unexpected Inspiration: “The architect Eaton W. Tarbell greatly influenced my work. Eaton became a mentor for me, encouraging and supporting me in all my artistic endeavors. He saw things in my work that I could not and instilled a confidence in me that had not existed before I worked as a designer for him.”


On Sharpening & Sharing: “Haystack Mountain School of Crafts offers me a place to hone and use those gifts to give back what I have learned. The setting and inherent energy feed my spirit each time I return.”


On “Of Course”: “Of course ideas and imagery evolve with time. I let the process guide me to what is next to come.”


For more Busch: The Museum of Art and Design, NYC; the International Quilt Study Center, Lincoln, Nebraska; quiltstudy.org/quilts/quilt_of_the_month.html; public and private collections throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan; and elizabethbusch.com.




Katharine Cobey

On Starting Young: “My knitting career started when I was eleven. A few summers later I used some of the money I made by my first job to buy yarn. I decided that there was no good reason why we were not knitting as expressively and creatively as we worked with other disciplines. I have consciously been knitting sculpturally since then.”


On the Inside of What’s Outside: “Experience taught me that if I could knit a glove, I could do a hand.”


On Books, Books, Books: “The great technical knitting books by Elizabeth Zimmermann, Barbara Walker, Mary Thomas, and June Hiatt have been my faithful guides and companions as I discovered some of what knitting could do.”


On Place & Influence: “My husband and I came to live in Cushing in 1992. Having lived in cities in Africa, Europe, and Washington D.C, I am relieved to be in the country again. My studio looks out over open fields to a tidal river. The sky, the birds, and what grows between my studio and the house, has a profound effect on the yarns I spin and the shapes I knit.”


On What Changes & What Doesn’t: “I work more abstractly and sculpturally now than I did when I first started knitting, but it is always human experience and the body that grounds me.”


For more Cobey: Katharine Cobey studio, special installations at the Portland Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Museum, and the Center for Contemporary Art



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