Art in Maine

Usually I have a good sense of direction, but not when I’m anywhere near Downeast Maine. Something about the peninsulas that drip down along the coastline completely throws me off. That might explain why I took so many wrong turns driving up yesterday. First I spaced out and passed the exit for Route 1, which would have taken me along the coast. I had gone so far before I realized my mistake, I decided to just stay on 95 toward Bangor. I got off onto Route 69 too early, and in the wrong direction, and so went 20 minutes out of my way. And then I missed another turn. So I was relieved when I finally drove through the lovely town of Blue Hill, and reached Caterpillar Hill, with its sweeping views of Deer Isle and the Camden Hills, just as the sky glowed pink and purple with the setting sun.

I passed the sign for Bagaduce Forge in Brooksville, where our beautiful garden gate was made, along with several other pieces in our home. We will go visit Joe Meltreder, the blacksmith. He is a friend, and we like to catch up each year. I don’t know if Joe would call himself an artist, but I certainly would. Over the years we have asked him to make so many things, such as a screen for our huge fireplace. We knew we wanted it hinged with three panels, but aside from that criteria, and the measurements of the fireplace, we left the design to him. What came back was a large piece of metal work made graceful by its perfectly executed details. All of Joe’s pieces look like they might come to life when no one is looking. The feet of a table end with a dainty leaf. The top of a lamp opens into a heart. The fire screen has two leaning fir trees on the front. Silhouetted in a fire’s glow, they add comfort to the room.

When Cherisse had her furniture show at the Turtle Gallery on Deer Isle a few years ago, someone was overheard saying to his companion, “Well art isn’t dead.” The same could be said of Joe’s work at Bagaduce Forge.


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