Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Maine Event, 2016 version, Part II

Dang. My time on the east coast is all over already... almost.

Plenty of things have happened in the two weeks since I last checked in. A couple of days after Ed Week ended at Hog Island Audubon Camp I traveled to Canton, Massachusetts (Boston-ish) to facilitate workshops and present a lecture at the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon (MABA).

As soon as I arrived we mapped out the locations in the estate house for a temporary exhibit of 2-dozen of my linos. This is a fancy way of saying I taped little pictures of the pictures onto the walls and then let Owen the facilities manager install the show.

I had a nice turnout for the Friday evening lecture, including friends from Worcester, MA I hadn't seen in a few years! (Thanks for making the trip!)

The next day I facilitated a one-day linocut workshop. The participants got through a single color "test print" so fast that we tried a 2-color reduction in the afternoon. It was a crush to get it done, but we did! I didn't have a plan for it, so didn't have a good registration system ready for them, but we still managed a few good prints.

The very next day I headed back to the island, where preparations were underway for Hog Island Audubon Camp's 80th anniversary celebration.
There were lots of little projects to wrap up before the event, and a few BIG projects to finish. Eric and Adrian finished a gorgeous new sign for the mainland sanctuary entry, which had to be hauled across the narrows from the island and up to the top of the mainland hill.

Here it is, all installed and gorgeous.

Meanwhile, I was trimming and taping and gluing 72 pieces of paper to 12 pieces of poster board to present first drafts of an island history display for the Fish House (community meeting building).

Of course there had to be some drama in the midst of all the preparations.

There's an insanely popular webcam mounted at an osprey nest right in the midst of the main camp buildings. (Cam link here.) This year the osprey pair had three chicks, which by the end of July were energetically exercising their wings and standing at the edge of the nest preparing to fledge.

August 1 Cleo and I were here having supper when we heard a big kerfuffle outside and I saw something large and dark fly past the kitchen window. (The osprey nest is very near to the dining hall.) At first I thought perhaps a chick had finally decided to take its first flight, but something struck us as not-quite right, especially in the calls of the adults. We discovered that a bald eagle had swooped in and taken one of the chicks! A second had escaped by deciding it was time to fledge (nothing like bailing out for the first time with an eagle bearing down on you) and the third had "pancaked" itself... getting as flat as possible and avoiding detection in the pandemonium.

The drama caught the attention of media everywhere, including NPR and the Washington Post, so it was quite the deal. The video IS pretty darn amazing, but I find the vocabulary used to describe it really annoying. "Vicious" "Attack" "Cruel." (Sigh.) Animals eat each other, no malice involved. It was sad, of course, that it was one of "our" chicks, but the world is not an easy place. The clip is here

Despite all the hoopla over the osprey chicks, the 80th Anniversary party was great fun, with good weather, good food, and good friends. Dinner was, of course, our traditional (every week) lobster boil followed by cream puffins. (Probably the most-photographed dessert in history.) But Cleo and her team went above and beyond, creating a sheet cake in the shape of the island, with a big Gojira-esque puffin roaming the ocean of blue frosting. Cuteness overload.

Where there are celebrating Puffineers there are ukuleles, and in the morning a hootenanny broke out on the porch of the Bridge.

The very next day camp started up again, and we're filled with Family campers, ages 8 to 79. Our fourth and final Artist-in-Residence for this season, Sean Murtha, arrived on Sunday and is already at applying paint to canvas and exploring his home for the next two weeks.

But the Hog Island experience is over for me this year, and I'm slowing trying to fit all my stuff back in my suitcase for the trip home on Thursday. It's always hard to leave this community and this place, but I'm looking forward to getting back in the studio and getting some work done. (And maybe even getting back to a regular blog schedule, eh?)

See you all from another horizon soon...


  1. that video is really neat to see, nature working the way it does. circle of life and all that :p

    1. I agree! This sort of thing goes on all the time out there, but we don't usually have such an intimate experience of it. Danger is everywhere for young animals, and I think it's a good reminder to try to keep our own actions from making it even harder for them.