This feature highlights all the crafties in Maine who don’t necessarily have a physical shop or an online presence other than Etsy (etsy.com), which is like an online open craft fair that allows users to sell vintage items, handmade items that are modified, as well as unique (sometimes downright wacky) handcrafted art.
Meet Bar Harbor artist Jennifer Steen Booher, of the Etsy Shop Quercus Design. A self-described hoarder of quirky objects, Jennifer says, "I'm part magpie, part squirrel, part scientist, and part historian. I find things, hoard them, take them apart, and research them. Sometimes I reassemble them, and sometimes I make new things from the bits."
Jennifer's original fine art photograph might strike a chord. If you were a child in the 1970s, you will instantly remember these vintage Fisher Price Little People.
Says Jennifer: "These are my very own Fisher Price people, with the marks of my milk teeth where I gnawed the mom's ponytail. I've been an artist as long as I can remember, although I've danced between media over the years. For a long time I made assemblages, and hoarded all sorts of odd bits and pieces to use in them. I've also been beach-combing since I moved to Mount Desert Island in 1997, and, being a curious sort, have gradually been learning more about the marine life and the flotsam that I find.
Back in early 2010, I had to photograph my overflowing collection of sea glass in order to sell off some of it. I quickly became fascinated with arranging the pieces, then obsessed with improving my photography skills to capture all the detail and texture that I find so intriguing. I was trying to achieve a scientific level of clarity and documentation. By the end of the year I had begun to develop a very modern style of still life around my beach-combing finds.
I've begun to apply the techniques to my other collections to document things that intrigue me: It is a very personal obsession, and there may not be any overarching meaning to it. On the other hand, these photographs appeal to a lot of other people, and I suspect that my formal, organized and clinically-lit objects are triggering memories for all of us. There's often a physical start of recognition when people see them. Almost everyone who has been to a beach has gathered a handful of odds and ends that gave them pleasure. Most people have a small stash of their childhood toys for the same reason. Oddly enough, in spite of my attempts to develop a quasi-scientific documentation, I think these photos end up being as much about nostalgia for the viewer as they are about my own curiosity."
To learn where to get this photograph, visit Jennifer's Etsy shop at quercusdesign.etsy.com or visit her blog, quercusdesign.blogspot.com
The Killer Convo
This blog is a is a killer roundup of all arts, entertainment, brewery & distillery, food trucks, happy hour happenings in the Midcoast Maine. Feel free to email me anything about Midcoast arts, entertainment & the creative economy.