Redefining the Art of Recycled Metal

Alanna works with recycled metal – using up-cycled tin cans for her nature based sculptures. Alanna’s favorite subject — sea life— especially fish, has redefined the art of recycling. Her artistic materials come from beer cans, cat food can lids, scrap copper roofing, and other found metals. Alanna began exploring metal fish as a new medium in response to a call for entries in a weathervane competition. Her first fish sculpture titled “Starkist Gold – t’ain’t no tuna here” took the prize, attracted immediate attention, and spawned a large body of work that will be honored in 2021 as Alanna celebrates 30 years of creative achievement.

Houting sculpture by Alanna Baird


Houting II by Alanna Baird

Houting II


Wildlife Watercolorist on Paper

Alexandra is a self-taught artist, working primarily as a watercolorist on paper. Alexandra’s line of stationery gift packs featuring local birds, flowers and seasonal topics are created in the perfect spot, a large wooded area not far from the coast, where her subjects are at her fingertips, right outside her studio.

Renate has painted and taught art Downeast for 20 some years, exhibited widely, and has had her work included in various museum collections, contemporary galleries, and art venues. Her work has been described as contemplative where the images merge with the abstract. “My obsession has been with the horizon and the planes above and below it, so to speak, and all the painterly fun that can occur in those areas. Maine’s shorelines, islands, streams, rivers, bays and open water allow me to see a new scene wherever I look. Maine is the perfect place to be an artist, and to recreate for others who can then have this glorious nature in their own home.
Castlebay musicians treat listeners to a musical journey through time and across the Atlantic as they interweave songs, spritely dance tunes, and haunting aires inspired by the spirit of their rich nautical and Celtic heritage. Exuberant vocals are supported with Julia Lane’s unique self-taught, award-winning Celtic harp style, and Fred Gosbee’s musical expertise shows in his playing of 12-string guitar, violin and woodwinds. With the couple’s deep appreciation for the unique character of their home state of Maine, love of traditional tales, as well as loving Celtic music, Julia and Fred, along with other talents musicians, have created their popular Castlebay musical partnership that blends history and legend into their personable performance style so beloved throughout New England.

Nature-Inspired Landscape Artist

The colors, patterns and textures of the natural world are the source and subject of my art. My primary focus is on landscapes, driven by my lifelong love of being outdoors, no matter what the season. I never tire of Maine’s fast-moving weather or of watching the clouds and light dance across the sky, water, mountains, and woods. I spend a lot of time outside, sometimes painting en plein air, sometimes just observing or taking reference photos. When I put paint to canvas, I always feel free to rearrange objects and intensify or modify their colors and shapes to best capture the essential feeling of a particular moment.

Sally Erickson


Vejibags were created in Eastport in 2013 by Sally Erickson.  Sally created what has become an internationally appreciated product out of necessity. She needed to keep veggies as fresh as possible from the time they were picked in her year-round greenhouse until they were taken home by customers at the local co-op market. She wanted to do that without creating plastic waste or using toxic chemicals. Sally knew moisture-loving vegetables keep best in a cool damp environment, like our grandmothers discovered when they moistened tea towels or burlap to keep produce crisp and delicious. Sally combined those ideas into a handy organic cotton bag, and came up with a beautiful result: the Vejibag.

Maine author Jean Flahive wrote her autobiography in the seventh grade, and continued to build a successful career including higher education, consultant to the Passamaquoddy Tribe, rural communities and nonprofit organizations throughout Maine. Jean explains that her writing is triggered by an emotional reaction to something she has seen or experienced. These inspirations have turned her into a skilled researcher and talented writer. Jean’s books blend human lives with historical events and times. Jean has written several history based stories, including several offered at The Commons — Remember Me, The Canoe Maker, both co-authored with Passamaquoddy Historian, Donald Soctomah. She has two new books The Old Mainer, and an historical novel featuring Teddy Roosevelt. Jean says she is now enjoys more fully the passion for stories that first consumed her as a young girl. She has the youthful autobiography that launched her passion for writing on her desk — beside her growing collection of award winning books.
Dr. Flynn has a distinguished history as consultant, writer, trainer, and speaker specializing in preparation for, response to, and recovery from the psychosocial aspects of large-scale emergencies and disasters. Also a retired Rear Admiral/Assistant Surgeon General in the United States Public Health Service, Brian has directly operated, and supervised the federal government’s domestic disaster mental health program. He is recognized internationally for his expertise in large-scale trauma in many nations. What Brian loves, whenever he can, is his summer home on nearby Campobello Island. Here, he has perfected his photography, song writing, guitar playing, and happy interaction with island residents and nature. He has created three inspiring books and a newly released CD called Campobello Sky. Please enjoy Brian’s books — The Wisdom of Stones, and Voices of Stones as perfect gifts of hope and inspiration in difficult times.
Anne produces joyful oils, watercolours and hand-crafted prints featuring local shores, boats, flowers, and animals. Anne worked as a Marine Biologist before her artist career and her love of the natural world shines out from her vibrant works. In 2016 she and an artist friend, Anne Aitken Anderson, decided to make greeting cards to showcase their original artwork. Annies’ Art Cards were born. The greeting cards are printed on 100 lb. paper with high quality inks, so they also look lovely if you choose to put them in 5”x7” mats or frames.

Creating Artistically Functional Kitchen Tools

Charlie happily admits that woodworking has always been his life passion. From being in his father’s bow making workshop and learning skills from him, Charlie has created many wooden treasures — from archery bows, to toys, and now as a specialist in creating kitchen accessories. Charlie’s craftsmanship can be felt in every culinary tool he creates. From a range of  spatulas and spoons, to cheese boards and oven rack pulls, you’ll feel and appreciate the combination of art and function in every creation.  Your order includes a tin of Charlie’s custom created wood conditioner, so that your favorite kitchen tools live and last as a treasured works of art.

Mathematically-Inspired Design in Wood and Glass

Konrad has been working with hot glass since attending Penland School of Craft in 2000. Konrad spent several years perfecting his craft before moving to Northern California where he worked as an assistant glass caster. After completing a degree in mathematics from Humboldt State University, he moved back to his home community of Eastport where he continues his work as an independent artist. In addition to being a master glass caster, Konrad has brought together his love of wood and interest in mathematics in the masterful designs he creates — from Keepsake Boxes to his distinctive sets of coasters. In each creation of Konrad blends his love of natural materials with an appetite to explore be inspired by the natural wonders of the world.

Traditional Passamaquoddy Basket Artisan

Kenny Keezer, fifth son of renowned Passamaquoddy basketmaker Clara Neptune Keezer, lives at Sipayik (Pleasant Point) in Perry, Maine. He learned the art of basketry by observing his mother, but did not begin actually using the traditional ash and sweetgrass materials himself until the age of 28. He still uses some of the wooden tools that have been handed down for generations in his family: the cherished gauges, molds, and ash strippers. Each of Kenny’s baskets comes with a signed certificate of authenticity.

Combining Sand and Earth Elements in Glass 

Janis Lesbines has immersed herself in the art of glass for over for over thirty years, with a speciality in creating dichroic glass jewelry. The artistic combination of sand and earth elements creates a unique outcome which transmits one color, reflects a different color, and produces a third color when viewed from different angles. The jewelry pieces Janis creates are individually designed and made by fusing several layers of glass together at about 1500 degrees — some fired multiple times to produce the desired effect. Wearers are both complimented and asked what they are wearing as the color palette creates a beautiful and dynamic piece of jewelry. When not creating jewelry, Janis is a designer and steward of private and community gardens in Columbia, Maine. Janis is an artist who blends her love of color and nature into every piece she designs and creates.

As a self-taught artist Sember approaches her work with a passionate curiosity. Looking for details often found in nature, her work reflects a strong sense of color, movement, and design. Understanding beauty is a sensory experience — visual, tactile, whole-body encompassing — Sember incorporates this philosophy into each piece of her work. By using bits of nature in her artwork, she hopes that others will pause to look around themselves and experience the wonder of all that is in Nature. Sember is known for her speciality in working with Birch Bark — in hanging pieces and cards. Some folks say that “ Whatever Sember touches will be come a work of art.”

Designs Sourced From Nature

Meg McGarvey, a graduate of Cornell, is an artist in fibres and stained glass type work.  An entrepreneur and philanthropist, she is deeply involved with the arts and education in her community of Eastport. Sourcing her designs and creations from nature, Meg spins wool and uses shells and other beach finds in wall hangings and jewelry. Meg is one of the partners at The Commons and takes great joy in being part of such a stellar grouping of other artisans and artists. 

Click here to learn about a special opportunity to contribute to local organizations by purchasing a set of Mussel Shell Ornaments.

Passamaquoddy Basketmaker

Peter is a highly respected Passamaquoddy Elder, Vietnam Veteran and the proud father of Artist Victoria Neptune.  Peter learned his basketmaking skills as a young boy, creating baskets to be included in his family’s economy.   Peter is especially known for his Sweetgrass Braids, used in traditional tribal ceremonies.  Sweetgrass is traditionally braided in 3 strands representing love, kindness and honesty. As a sacred plant, it is used in peace and healing rituals. Long shoots of sweetgrass are used, often along with brown ash stripes in Passamaquoddy making baskets. Peter’s own speciality is making Working Trade Baskets of strong brown ash slats, creating a strong basket.  Peter’s baskets are especially appreciated by organic farmers and gardeners for their strength in moving heavy produce.

Contemporary Passamaquoddy Artisan 

Victoria is a contemporary Passamaquoddy Tribal Artisan following a long line of nationally respected women basket makers.  Working in native brown ash and sweet grass, Victoria first learned her basketmaking skills from her father at nine years of age. Victoria proudly brings her basketmaking into her community of Sipayik, along the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay, just west of Eastport. Working as a healthcare advocate, Victoria uses her skills to teach tribal women ancient and artistic basketmaking skills.

Jewelry from the Sea and Shore’s Edge

Laura has lived in Downeast Maine for 30 years. She loves the remoteness, breathtaking views and the close knit communities surrounding her home in Whiting. Each piece of her jewelry has a natural found object designed into it. Sea glass or stone, every discovery is used as Laura found it. Laura’s goal is to convey a sense of wilderness and freedom at the sea and shore’s edge, as well as the glorious range of colors she finds in nature — passing that on to the wearer of a piece of her jewelry. One can see in her work what Laura is quick to share, “It is a challenge and reward to work with what nature tosses onto my path. I have a sense of place that is indelibly etched into my being and into each piece of jewelry I create.”

Rolfe Richter

Rolfe Richter is a Passamaquoddy native flute player and story teller living at Sipayik, Pleasant Point. Rolfe’s affinity for what he calls “musical stories” tell of the woods, waters, lands, people and creatures found within his history and his homeland. Rolfe’s original pieces have been created at the edge of Passamaquoddy Bay near sacred Split Rock. Rolfe’s CD, called Dreamwalk, is meditative and evocative. His music is said to come from something greater than himself — the spirit of the trees from which his flutes are carved, his ancestry that speaks through him, and his love and honor of all creatures — great and small. Rolfe has recently created his own flute, and hopes to continue making music, telling stories, and creating a line of hand crafted native flutes.
Donald Soctomah is a Native American historian, author, teacher, filmmaker, lecturer, storyteller, and community leader. He serves as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribal communities in Maine and New Brunswick. Donald works with both the U.S. and Canadian governments on the protection of culturally significant sites, artifacts and knowledge. He has written several books about Passamaquoddy history, as well as co-authored two children’s books available at The Commons, Remember Me: Tomah Joseph’s Gift to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and The Canoe Maker. Donald has appeared on National Public Television, Maine Public Television, Canadian Broadcasting, Animal Planet and is a frequent consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, US Library of Congress, and Maine State Museum.
Ruth’s masterful creations of woven ribbon fish mobiles came through a chance west coast meeting with their original designer. Skills and techniques, passed on by his Austrian grandmother, were in danger of dying out with old age coming, and without an heir to carry on his passion. The craftsman’s desire to keep his creations alive, meeting Ruth, and appreciating her personality and artistic abilities resulted in him passing his unique artistic methods on to her. This soulful decision was well made, and Ruth’s talents and commitment to keep this art alive is a testament to that short, yet deep connection. Ruth has expanded on the woven ribbon mobile craft by designing petite ribbon fish earrings, making use of ribbon left from making mobiles. A long-time resident of Red Beach in Maine, and a beloved teacher in area schools, Ruth is now retired and devotes herself to creating woven ribbon art.

Jewelry Inspired by Nature

Jewelry making is a second career for Jean, following her work as a nurse. Jean’s interest in creating jewelry was perfected through self study and interaction with other jewelry artists. Starting with pieces she could create with a “recipe”, Jean is now a free flowing designer, while still honoring early “chainmaille” acquired skills. Jean’s sterling silver creations are inspired by abundant views of nature seen right out her home studio windows— whales, dragonflies, blueberry fields and a even a world class whirlpool in nearby Passamaquoddy Bay.

Traditional Methods for Inspired Jewelry

Jeanette Ware has spent her life designing and working in the arts — copper enameling, leather tooling, and hand knotted oriental and braided rugs.  She has drawn from these skills to focus her present work on creating nature inspired jewelry with silver and gem stones.  Her life in coastal Maine and northeastern Vermont provide her abundant inspiration and joy for her work. Jeanette’s original designs are created using traditional jeweler’s hand tools, some of which date back to the early nineteenth century. All of Jeanette’s materials, findings and chains are sterling silver. A trio of dynamic women designers and silver artists from her apprenticeship days seem ever-present to Jeanette as she designs and creates her own work.