Wall masks are first designed using a warm cellulose/self-hardening clay mixture, working resolutely when the clay hardens as it cools. Masks are then hand painted with acrylic paints to highlight facial features. Finally, masks receive a “personality profile” written by the artist, sometimes quite flamboyant! When people inquire where she finds her inspirations, Terri tells them that the facial features and personality details are derived from people she has encountered mixed with schizophrenic elements of herself. Enjoy the fantasies!
THREE COLLECTIONS of mask styles:
OUTRAGEOUS MAINE PERSONALITIES – GALLERY 7 exhibit, Portland, Maine
NATIVE AMERICAN~FIRST NATIONS PEOPLES – GALLERY 7 exhibit, Portland, Maine
GLOBAL WARMING PROFILES – HARLOW GALLERY, HALLOWELL, MAINE EARTH DAY exhibit
Awakening from sleep on a bed of seaweed framed by multi-colored fluorescent coral at the bottom of the sea, Mermaid Mistress flexes her svelte body, opens her sparkling eyes and delights in witnessing a school of tiny fish shimmering over her head like swallows swooping through the sky above. At her side, electric eels illuminate her surroundings like a glowing night light, casting velvety shadows on the ocean’s floor.
Her dolphin companions eagerly wait for her to join them for a day of discovering the mystery of their domain. What exhilaration to be racing, dipping, and diving weightlessly throughout the many underwater caves and sunken treasures. She swiftly slips through the water, lustrous hair flowing around her, silken curls trailing behind like a trail of shooting stars.
She remembers how fortunate she is to sit at the hand of King Neptune, lavished with his many precious pearly jewels of the dark and mysterious sea. Following her morning of swim aerobics, the Mermaid Mistress affords herself on a lush carpet of green moss, a spot in the golden sun at the surface on a warm rock still slippery from high tide.
Flipping her feathery tailfin at an approaching wave, an iridescent rainbow glows over her as her eyes follow the tiny ripples emanating on the surface of the water surrounding her. The Mistress takes in her first full breath of salty air, a sensual smile crossing her lips knowing she is privileged to enjoy the best of both worlds if for only a few fleeting moments, doubting others take even a moment of this type of reflection in their above-sea-level world.
The Mermaid Mistress was born of many long, wonderfully sunny, storytelling walks along the shore of the beaches of Maine, Texas and Wisconsin where my daughter and I have lived. Her invention of using beach botanicals to make “faerie brooms” has been a tradition to this day.
BUTTERFLY MAIDENS #1 & #2
Springtime is the maiden’s most fruitful time. When the dawning sunshine warms the earth and all things that grow upon it, when birds begin to sing, frogs begin peeping, woodchucks emerge from hibernation, fox, squirrels, and chipmunks begin their dance around each other, fighting for seeds or burrowing for those hordes of stored nuts and bees begin to buzzzz. Bulbs begin to force spiky green heads up through the dirt, buds form and blossoms burst forth in a stunning array of colorful bouquets. The warmth of the sun begins to awaken all that became dormant in the cooler weather which announced the arrival of winter.
During the winter she provides shelter for the cocoon “seeds” of springtime in her reed-like tresses where they are safe from harm, warm and dry. The sunny warm days of spring produce a mesmerizing bounty as the most recent generation of delicate butterflies begins to emerge from a thick bed of ferns in a clearing of trees, spiraling toward the warm sun in a tornado-like frenzied swirl, a Fantasia-like event to behold.
Honored to be included in the magical journey of the fragile butterfly hatchlings trying their new wings as they begin to flap them in the warm fresh breeze to dry, she delights in being the first witness. Watching the delicate wings fluttering in flight from spot to spot in a warm spring meadow filled with fragrant blossoms and honeybees drawn to their mission, an annual event. She is equally pleased when fall begins to bite at her antennae and the caterpillars spin their cocoons for her to shelter yet another generation of one of earth’s precious beauties.
Do not let Seraphina’s bold, showy appearance lull you into dismissing her sound judgment, keen perceptions, and passion for discernment!
She is a wise woman who does not flaunt her knowledge, confident within herself. It is that very wisdom that allows her to do her work with those less fortunate.
Her birth family was simple people with low self-esteem and little education who took pride in working for affluent families as servants and laborers during summer playtime at their ostentatious “cottages” in Maine.
Seraphina went forth into the world to make her future prepared only with these values at a very early, determined, and independent age. She did not realize the importance of a “master plan” but rather prided herself in achieving by increments the more minor victories over changing her world.
She recently returned to her home to discover that she has stepped over the threshold between naivete and knowing the secret through her experiences. She found that she has alienated herself from her family of birth, who has chosen to remain faithful to the elder family’s beliefs of dignity through servitude.
Her heart broke, discovering that she created distance from her family, yet she rejoices, having reached another level of awareness and has the insight to realize that much is yet to discover.
She knows that she can visualize whatever brings her true happiness, and her determination will open doors towards achieving her goals.
Obstacles cannot keep her from finding the good in her life and following where it leads. She believes nothing can get in the way of this unless she allows it.
Seraphina reviews her travel photographs to remind herself of the many exciting places, ideas, and people she has embraced in her new world, her new home, her new family of choice.
She is always the first to take candid shots with her digital camera at any gathering. Many times, she enjoys sharing the ornate and embellished photo albums she creates with her new friends. The photos, laughs, and stories shared, discussions, and memories help her stay focused on her goals.
A-DAH ~ GODDESS of ENLIGHTENMENT
A-dah has poise and an essence of truth about her. Her aura is distinct and clear to those who choose to see. She is always present but there are many that refuse to accept her for what she represents. Her intent is crisp and uncomplicated, yet her training has been an intense and unending journey. She listens to your inner voice and responds with you, reacting to old ideas and exploring the new with wide eyes.
Her open mind allows her to speak precious words of wisdom thru golden lips. Following each visit with the Goddess, a sense of peace overrides all other thoughts, one emerges with a new and exciting perspective of all previously held truths. The Goddess finds the circle of life an exquisite design, choosing jewelry and clothing with unending circle designs to enhance her beauty and discreetly remind her of her inner strength.
Unencumbered by the strength of your beliefs, her seemingly spontaneous ideas are quite the opposite. Her method is one of patience and attentive concern. One can see in her eyes that she is processing your words and thoughts with careful consideration. The exquisite presentation of a completely new perspective in your own words, spoken through your own golden lips is almost always a delightful surprise.
She delicately prompts you to touch and explore the thoughts you previously held as most private, never before daring to share with anyone but the most precious of connections.
The Goddess is most delighted when she has succeeded in her task of drawing you closer to your new and uncomplicated truths.
EVA ~ GODDESS of PARADISE
Eva has an innate curiosity most of us would not begin to understand. She is a simple, innocent woman. One might consider her the first Dr. Doolittle, as she claims to even have spoken to a serpent.
She and her companion live an isolated life but Eva does not find herself bored or longing for company as she loves and respects her lush gardens and what they have to offer. Her little family feels safe as the mountains surrounding their gardens appear as if gates simply sprang up there to protect the lush orchard with all its’ trees full of delicious fruits and other exotic perfections. She has an intense respect for Mother Nature, protecting as much as she can, savoring it, preserving everything for those who come after she is gone.
Mada seems equally happy to teach their three boys not to argue and takes great pride in bringing them out on hunting & fishing adventures to hone their skills. They are brave and confident boys who seem to have no fear.
Her daily trips to the place where the crystal-clear rivers meet are always exciting. When Eva is not partaking of the succulent fruits from the orchard, she is happy to explore her surroundings, one day much to her delight, discovering an underground river. Often, she can be found singing simply to the purest blue sky above.
Eva feels a sense of pride to believe she rules over the fish in the sea and the birds in the air as well as every living creature that moves on the ground. What a wonderful existence to live in such a place where bliss & happiness prevails over sadness and evil, where there is no hunger or thirst, no loneliness or hatred, a land where everything she needs is in its’ place before her! She is not concerned about possessing gold, onyx or other riches but rather more concentrated on learning as much as she can about her paradise and making sure it stays pristine and protected.
BLINN HILL BARONNESS
Almira Almeda was a proud woman with a strong jaw. She would look you directly in the eye with her well-honed confidence and ever-so-slight smile on her lips. Almira Almeda remembered working as a shy child raking blueberries to fill plastic tubs in the hot, dusty fields at the very top of the hill until her arms ached, and her back was red with sunburn. She knew then that it would take many years of hard work to save enough money to buy the parcel for her own, but still she woke up each morning dreaming of that day.
Within her tattered, crumbling journal, Almira Almeda remembered her grandfather’s huge weather beaten hand enclosing hers, tiny, smooth and pink, as they earlier walked through the same blueberry fields when she was only 8 or 9 years old, him talking about wanting to own property on the hilltop. She thought about the gleam in grandfather’s eye as they soaked in the breathtaking sight on a clear blue-sky sunny day. She remembered as a teenager, slowly straightening up from what seemed endless hours of blueberry raking and dry lips, to see the snow capped purplish mountains far on the western horizon. Local people enjoyed riding their horses to the top field just to see that spectacular 360° view for miles around.
Almira Almeda silently vowed to herself early-on that she would someday own the top fields grandfather coveted, where she had raked blueberries with a crew of other Dresden and Pittston high school kids during her early years. It was her girlhood dream to someday make the announcement there would be a grand log house raised on her land where she could gaze endlessly out her parlor window to see that very special view overlooking the Eastern River. She often escaped her siblings; another well-worn book and her journal with then mostly empty pages in the crook of her arm as she hiked to her hiding spot, a huge boulder warmed by the sun, which she hid behind to read or write in her own private world for hours in the fresh air under the soaring eagles.
When Almira Almeda was 23, she married 25-year-old Zina Blinn from Dresden in a happy mid-August ceremony at her family home in Pittston (near the peak of Blinn Hill) with all 16 of her siblings and his 10 brothers and sisters surrounding them, quite a crowded house that day. Baby Alice came along within the first year of their marriage. By the time their second child, Effie Jennette was born in 1861, Almira Almeda had begun to hold well-attended Suffragette meetings at their modest home. Other strong women were attracted to what she had to say and impressed by her beliefs, her ability to draw interesting speakers to fan the flames of passionate local women for the cause.
The East Coast was a hotbed for the women’s movement in the United States during the mid-1800s, when Almira Almeda Kincaid Moody, Blinn lived in Maine. During the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, female leaders gathered for what would be remembered as the birth of the women’s suffrage movement.
Almira Almeda’s passion became the origin of her being known as a driven woman, a social organizer of local women, and their strong political values. She learned confidence from the value of hard work as a young girl from a large, demanding family. As a young married woman, she not only continued to hold meetings and tend to her husband and little family, also birthing twin girls she and Zina named Helen Grace and Grace Hannah in 1874. She was notorious for having taken extraordinary social risks for her time in addition to tending to the demanding schedule of housekeeping, gardening and mothering, providing inspiration, rewarding to her and many others in her town. She was also known to have made the best blueberry jam in the area!
Almira Almeda indeed finally achieved the breathtaking view of the mountains as owner of Blinn Hill property. She met the challenges, disciplined herself to stick with the hard work, invested her hard-earned money, and at last reaped her reward. She was truly “Blinn Hill Baronness” in the huge estate at the very top of Blinn’s “blueberry hill.” You can visit her and Zina’s gravesites in the Pine Grove Cemetery; halfway along the road to the peak of Blinn Hill, nestled in with scores of other Blinn’s, now spelled Blen after cousin Owen changed the spelling of their name later, due to a family tragedy.
The mask depicts a Mighty Warrior-Superchief of the Sagamore’s; Mid-Central Maine’s First Nation’s people who governed the Algonquin-Abenaki family’s lands in the 17th century.
Midcoast Maine is the burial place of Abigadasset. The Abigadasset River in this area runs through Richmond, and Abigadasset Road stands near the historic Jellerson School in Bowdoin.
Many land ownership or usage challenges faced him in the early settlements of white men arriving up & down the Kennebec River.
SWANGO or SOWANGEN, Island of Eagles (now known as the Swan Island where Marine Biologist Steve Powell lived in the 1940’s and recorded voluminous statistics on geese, ducks, deer and other wildlife) was one of the most threatened territories the Bashaba most often visited. The head of the friendliest native band in the area from Bath to Hallowell: Chief Kenebiki of the Kennebec River. Considering Fort Richmond and the Chaudiere Corridor’s proximity, the area was coveted because of the access to all Maine points and for the trade vital to survival done all along the river.
In 1604 the French explorer Samuel de Champlain met with the Bashaba and called him “chief of this river” (referring to the Penobscot, Maine’s longest).
Jesuit missionary Father Pierre Biard met the Bashaba near Castine, Maine, in November 1611 to gather approximately 300 Sagamore peoples. Father Biard reported the Bashaba to be the most prominent Sagamore, “a man of great discretion and prudence.”
Abigadassett believed his task was to unite and protect the people of this territory from marauding tribes, mainly the Tarrentines, the Eastern-Etchemins & Micmacs. This group was most threatening to his people’s peaceful co-existence as they formed an alliance of traders and raiders who were hostile toward the Western-Etchemin & Abenaki-Pennacook peoples.
Eventually, despite all peaceful efforts to preserve his vision, he was killed by the Tarrantines within a year or two of Captain John Smith’s exploration of the Maine coast.
There are two versions of the Princess as examples for you to imagine: the young girl and one as the woman. A legend tells of an Indian Princess called Jacataqua who purportedly lived upon Swan Island in the Kennebec River of Maine. The following is my version of that legend, complete with masks of an Indian Princess.
Wide-eyed with ultimate respect and innocence, the Princess sat quietly, listening to each detail of every tale and legend the elders had to share. She was honored to be included in lodge meetings, always so mysterious and closed to women and children until the first special day she turned 13. On that day, she had the village artist tattoo an eagle on her forehead to forever remind her to be strong and believe in her talisman, the spirit-eagle, Mgeso.
The Princess loved and respected the Earth Mother, who nurtured the skies, seas, rivers, lakes, streams, fields, and forests and all inhabitants with which she shared her home. She reflected on the many changes on her island in the few short years she walked as a child on her elders’ paths, wondering how many moons would pass for her. What type of changes and challenges would Mother present her to endure until it was her time to watch over her band and be the one responsible for more than herself. She kept her spirit-eagle in her thoughts until she found her soaring high above the treetops on their island.
The Swango Princess thought about what part she would play when charged with keeping safe her village as time progressed. She learned reverence for the ceremonies of her tribe and the lifesaving significance of the Shaman’s medicine.
She studied sand painting methods and traditions, pottery makers, hunters, and builders of her village. Her goal was to carry on those traditions and live up to her people’s expectations while keeping them safe and thriving on their self-sufficient islands. There was much talk about trade with the white man up and down the Kennebec River for quite some time, and fears of inadequate defense of her village against predators who wanted to claim property on this tiny island were issues with which she struggled. So much responsibility! Matrilineal rulers were not ordinary, and they enjoyed equal respect to males. The Princess would be the first female Chief in many moons when her father met his ancestors in the sky. It was not a moment she wished to hasten.
There was much to learn, and she listened even more intently now to the elder speaking his wisdom. Her brothers and sisters were all concerned about their land’s accelerated civilization and what it might mean to her people. Much fear built within her village as the four-masted schooners glided silently up the river’s mouth towards Swango. She looked upward toward the sky to see the soaring eagles for which her island was named Swango, the “island of eagles.” She could not help giving silent thanks to Mother Earth for showing even the eagles a home on which to build their mighty nests for all to see years after her bones are the dust of the earth again.
EFFIE the ECCENTRIC
Effie was lonely as a child. Her peers avoided her because they were afraid of that constant whispering conversation she would have with herself. A tomboy, she preferred her own company. Her fear of distractions made it an easy decision not to invite anyone into her lifetime dreams.
When Effie retired from her long-term position at the insurance company, she parked a tiny portion of the investments she had wisely made. Her purchase bought a sturdy, practical, vintage and rather unattractive vehicle in which she drove to the old “summer home” she had discovered just up the hill from a little Maine village.
It was not long before everyone in town knew Effie. She would hear them whispering in their narrow-minded judgments. Whenever she came into the ice-cream shoppe for her usual single vanilla scoop cone at the General Store, they whispered. Purchasing her milk, loaf of bread, eggs, and graham crackers, they whispered. When she picked up packages that did not fit in her mailbox at the Post Office down in the village, they were whispering. It seemed they felt it was “too bad” that she was such a lonely “old maid” who passed her time taking long walks along the roadside near her home, thru the meadow, and into the woods behind her old house.
Each day was she gathered nature’s trinkets or salvageable refuse thrown from car windows. Effie sorted the discarded items by kerosene lantern late into the night. Her artistic bent allowed assembly into interesting collages or created sculptures and windmills for her backyard garden, near the handmade willow gazebo. Effie named the gazebo “faerie haven,” feeling most comfortable there engulfed in the scents of evergreens, among songbirds and scampering squirrels and refreshed by the slightest breeze on hot summer days.
It did not bother Effie that the old Cape style house had missing boards on the porch floor. She did not notice the chipping paint on the old green shutters or the once-white, now weather-beaten clapboard siding. The unbroken window glass appeared more frosted as it was so filmy from the smoke of her little box wood stove, which provided her with the heat on cooler summer nights. Her floors dipped and rose from room to room like waves on the ocean, and she could not shut the door separating the parlor from the front entry no matter how hard she pushed. The old place had no furnace, and the chimney had long ago become a crumbled pile of rubble. She did not mind not building a toasty fire in the fireplace. After all, she had plenty of old quilts to wrap up with on those chiller summer evenings in Maine.
After their supper meals, local folks would drive past Effie’s old house waving and honking their horns. They watched the “crazy old lady” sitting on her rotting porch in her rickety rocking chair in the dust of night. Talking softly to herself, she took such care cleaning, twisting, combining that days’ found items. Frequently they were reimagined into shapes within old picture frames. Sometimes she fashioned hair adornments for herself with a collection of the smaller pieces that fascinated her.
Wearing a man’s discarded, faded grey cardigan with more moth holes than wool, Effie went about the business of clearing the roadside drains each day. She would sing softly as she dug and raked to find yet another treasure someone had tossed into the ditch. It seemed she needed nothing and that she was content with all that she had. Some of the closer neighbors would regularly leave a hot casserole wrapped in a towel on her front porch. The following day they would find the empty dish wrapped and waiting in the same spot. Only a wobbly “thanks” handwritten on a scrap of the envelope with a canceled postage stamp.
One foggy, rainy day, someone dared to peek in thru the oval etched-glass windows in one of the big green double doors on the front porch. Effie was sitting at her rickety little square kitchen table with its’ newspaper tablecloth, eating a graham cracker, just as happy as a clam. She seemed oblivious to the visitor, talking to herself, reading her yellowed old magazines. She was not even mindful of the leaky roof or the loud sound of the drip, drip, dripping into the pots and pans and old soup cans placed surrounding her on the floor.
It was the same every year for many years; Effie’s primer grey car would appear one late-spring day, to be stored in the shed, driving away from Dresden each September, until one year only a note appeared in the neighbor’s mailbox. It read that Effie’s niece from the city (Boston) had wanted to thank the local folks for their kindness in “watching out for” their dear Aunt Effie each summer! It continued to say that Effie returned home each fall, giving animated and detailed accounts of the extraordinary adventures she had shared that summer with all her friends from the little Maine village.
The note went on to say that Effie would not be back the following year or ever after. Effie had the misfortune of being struck down by a speeding car on her way to volunteer at the city hospital where she had spent her days distributing magazines and chatting with lonely patients. Peeking through the filmy windows, the closest neighbors could see her worn grey wool sweater hanging from her dusty cane-seated chair next to a pile of yellowed newspapers on the kitchen floor. The bags of “found items” from the roadside, haphazardly stacked atop the newspapers. Only to be tossed into the trash, the found items along with her history were useless to the next occupants of her rickety house. They loved the place back to a life it had never known, adding a two-story ell, and enjoyed painting the clapboards shiny white.
The note concluded to say that her family was proud to announce that in her will, she had bequeathed the funds needed to build an entirely new wing for the city hospital where she had volunteered so many hours for so many years. Eccentric Effie would never know how much a part of each family she was. She would not know how deeply she had endeared herself to her closest neighbors. She left, not knowing how she would be remembered for many years by the girl who had anonymously left hot casseroles on her rickety front porch. Effie quietly demonstrated what an “eccentric” was capable of doing, without the slightest accolade, trophy, or recognition.