Rebecca Goodale turns the wheel of a press Sunday while demonstrating relief print making during Maine Craft Weekend at Circling the Square Fine Art Press on Water Street in downtown Gardiner Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

GARDINER — With one hand on the big metal wheel to apply just the right amount of pressure, Rebecca Goodale used her hip to push the platform of the 1970s press, which was holding the wooden plate she’d just covered in ink to make a print. Several visitors looked on with interest.

A bright, crisp blue image of two swimmers, one wading in hip-deep water, the other mid-dive, with only their legs sticking up above the water’s surface, emerged from the other side on a sheet of white paper, to oohs and ahs from the small audience.

Potter Margaret Melanson shapes a clay bowl on a potter’s wheel Sunday during a demonstration at Maine Craft Weekend on Water Street in downtown Gardiner. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The demonstration was part of Maine Craft Weekend.

Karen Adrienne, a founder of Circling the Square (CTS) Fine Art Press in Gardiner and a master printer with some 40 years’ experience, explained that she’d came across that old semi-discarded press a few years ago in a barn. With fellow printing enthusiasts, she removed the rust and dirt, restored it to working order, and installed it alongside her other press at CTS.

“It used to be the gold standard,” Adrienne said of the old manual press. “There aren’t many manufacturers anymore. If you can find an old one, it’s like going to heaven.”

Over the weekend, artists and crafters across Maine opened their studios and shops, and invited the public to visit, as part of Maine Craft Weekend. The event was organized by the Maine Crafts Association in partnership with Maine Made, a state program that builds recognition for Maine products.

Gardiner was one of the cities featured in the statewide Maine Craft Weekend this year.

CTS Fine Art Press is an open-access facility where artists can work independently on their own schedule — they even get their own keys. Fourteen artists currently work in the space. There, they often share ideas, techniques and information, and collaborate with other printmakers.

Master printmaker Karen Adrienne reveals an intaglio print Sunday showing the vertebrae of baby seal while demonstrating the technique using an etched zinc plate at Circling the Square Fine Art Press during Maine Craft Weekend on Water Street in downtown Gardiner. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The 1,700-square-foot studio can accommodate artists working in relief, silkscreening, intaglio, pronto plate, collographs, and a variety of monotype and monoprint processes. The presses and other equipment there, Adrienne and Goodale noted, would be too expensive and too big for many artists to buy for themselves.

On Sunday afternoon, Adrienne demonstrated her intaglio technique, using a copper plate with an etched drawing of a seal backbone to make a black-and-white print on fine paper. She said the printmakers themselves are a key factor in the final look of the work.

“Whatever the technique is, the wonderful personalities you all have determine what direction you may go with intaglio,” she said. “Your personality and skills and disposition that day influence what you make.”

Dozens of crafters had their work on display and for sale at Majestic Craft Store, also in Gardiner. The store’s Facebook page said there had been almost 400 visitors on Saturday.

Other participating sites and events included Purple Shed Woodworks, Alan Claude Gallery, Cattywampus Studio, Margaret Melanson Pottery, Sebago Lake Distilling, and Monkitree.

Potter Margaret Melanson shapes a clay bowl on a potter’s wheel Sunday as Barbara Carnegie of Lewiston observes during a demonstration at Maine Craft Weekend on Water Street in downtown Gardiner. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel


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