Twig artist Susy Perrine will build a garden structure out of twigs at Wiscasset Art Walk on Thursday, Sept. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. She’ll be under a tent on one of the grand sidewalks in Wiscasset Village.
“I’m interested in the process almost as much as in the end result,” said the Woolwich artist, about building twiggy things from the ground up. She’s inspired by the materials, especially ones easily available, which she describes as “sometimes trash or discarded materials.” That’s when her creative thinking blooms.
An early and challenging project was weaving with children. “Kids became the loom,” she explained, when she was asked to create a large woven piece for a community project during Watson Farm’s Sheep to Shawl Program on Jamestown, Rhode Island. She first laid out the warp of fabric strips on the ground to fill about 50 square feet of space. She then attached fabric strips to children, becoming the weft, who pulled the strips over and under the warp. In two days of weaving, she had about 250 children participating.
The success of her unconventional weaving with children encouraged her to experiment with more materials and methods, including bamboo, cardboard, recycled lobster trap rope, saplings and twigs.
Her first big twig project, in 1998, was weaving a hut during a Providence, Rhode Island Waterfront Festival, a music fest with multiple stages and craft presentations; Perrine was in the folk-art section. Because the event was on the lawn of the State House, she could push large twigs into the ground as the frame of her construction and then weave smaller twigs in and out to form the structure. She invited passersby to help and added fragrant flowers near the doorway of her hut to entice visitors to enter.
Because Perrine enjoys the challenge of using new materials in unexpected ways, she often makes a limited number of an item and then moves on to another project. So far, she has made lamps, scarves, twig huts, fashions out of recycled materials, garden structures, and stitched greeting cards. She’s inspired by other artists and finds that living in Maine encourages her out-of-the-box approach by providing the time, place and materials to satisfy her ever-changing creative interests. Besides making her own pieces, she’s drawn to teaching and sharing, which she does as artist-in-residence at regional schools, as art director at Wavus Camp in Jefferson this summer and at collaborative project sites like Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.
During September’s Wiscasset Art Walk, she will also exhibit some of her small-sized maquettes and other handmade creations in Hasenfus Gallery, 64 Main St.
Wiscasset Art Walk 2021 is made possible by Lead Sponsors Donna and Frank Barnako and First National Bank. Major Sponsors are Ames True Value, Big Barn Coffee, Carriage House Gardens, Cod Cove Inn, Fogg Art Restoration, Industrial ME, J. Edward Knight Insurance, Newcastle Realty, Peter H. Eaton Antiques, Red’s Eats, Rock Paper Scissors, Sarah’s Café, and Sherri Dunbar /Tim Dunham Realty. Sidewalk activities are sponsored in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.