“Why would I want to visit Camden, ME if I am not assured of beautiful weather”, you ask? The answer is there is a plethora of indoor activities in Maine to experience and enjoy! These activities are available all year round. If you are anything like me, they are not activities that I want to participate in if I could be enjoying the great outdoors. So uncertain weather condition provides the perfect opportunity to explore the indoors.
It is truly fascinating to me how many artisans and skilled craftspeople there are in the midcoast of Maine. The artists run the gamut from culinary, to performing, to literary, to paint, to glass, to wood, to fiber arts. Many of the artisans have open studios where one can observe the artisan at work. A number of the artisans also offer the opportunity to try the skill through a class or workshop. One blog post could not do all of these art forms justice. We will pick a few to describe here. In the future, we will share others.
Jacobson Glass Studio is in Montville, Maine about 45 minutes from Camden. David Jacobson was trained in the Venetian Style of glassblowing, which incorporates elegant shapes, rich colors and masterful techniques. One can visit the studio to watch David at his craft (by appointment) or purchase one of his one-of-a-kind sculptures at his shop.
You can also learn how to blow glass with David and create a unique work of art to take home. He offers a variety of different experiences for individuals, couples and groups.
Windsor Chairmakers are located in Lincolnville, 15 minutes north of Camden. Their tagline is “handcrafting furniture one piece at a time.” All visitors are encouraged to wander through the workshop and to chat with craftsmen and women. One can observe the process and discover why they design and build the way they do.
If you can afford to invest in such an exquisite piece of furniture, you, the customer, are part of the process. You choose the size, color and look of your finished piece. If you are not able to afford to purchase a piece of furniture, you can still admire them in the showroom and Shaker gallery. You can see beds, tables, buffets, Shaker furniture, stools, desks, and other custom pieces.
We here in the midcoast of Maine are fortunate to have 2 additional places where one can appreciate the use of hand tools to craft fine furniture. Lie-Nielsen Toolwork’s mission is “to design and create beautiful, heirloom quality, hand tools that inspire woodworkers and other artisans.” Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is located on Route 1 in Warren, 45 minutes south of Camden. You can visit the showroom and try out the full line of tools on one of their workbenches. They run workshops June through September to teach technique and use of the hand tools. On can also find a number of instructional videos on the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks YouTube Channel.
The Center for Furniture Craftmanship (CFC) is located on Route 90 about 15 minutes outside of Camden. The CFC runs a wide variety of programs ranging from workshops lasting a weekend to two weeks to nine-month comprehensives. See the CFC website for a complete list of programming. In addition to teaching skills, one has the opportunity to view rotating exhibitions of instructor and students’ work at the Messler Gallery.
One can visit the Swan Island Company located in a Northport, 20 minutes or so north of Camden on Route 1. The post-and-beam farmhouse built in the 1800 houses the dyehouse and the weaving studio in addition to a showroom and shop. The Swan Island Company carries on the tradition of find American craftsmanship. Mush of the fiber comes from local New England farms. They make each batch of dye with their own custom recipe to produce their signature rich, variegated tones.
One can stop by the farmhouse to observe the craftspeople operating the handlooms.
To schedule an educational tour, to visit the dyehouse, or for seasonal hours of operation, please call or email the Swan Island Company (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Stay in Camden