Alison is a trained printmaker who has worked in ceramics, glass, and metalsmithing. Most recently she has been painting and making jewelry based on the facilities she has available. She has always parallel tracked her personal artistic endeavors with a professional role and now holds the position of Executive Director at Maine Crafts Association (MCA) and Shop Maine Craft (SMC). She started in this capacity at RWS in July. Since the start of the pandemic Alison’s artistic practice has been geared towards producing for her own personal use, “I’m making for me and no one else, which is a real blessing because I think a lot of makers have to get into the mode of producing for livelihood and it’s hard to retain your level of passion when you know it’s for that purpose.” She has the freedom to follow her current interests. Alison is starting to crave working in clay again, seeing all of the members in the clay studio and the makers she works with in her professional role. Transformation is Alison’s favorite part of the artistic process, whether it's paint, print, glass, matal, or clay. She loves the materials she works in; getting her hands in clay and the feeling of stones and understanding what it looks like and feels like and how you’re going to turn it into something. Alison views business the same way; nothing stays the same and you have to find ways to stay current and relevant. Alison has been fortunate to have many people in her family who love and make art; her grandmother was a painter, her mother was a quilter and basket maker, her father is a craftsman, and her sister is an encaustic painter. She realized early on that she needed to combine her passion for creativity with an income source, so she went into the business of art. Her career has always touched on art and creativity, whether it was graphic design or media. She moved in the management direction because she loves having amazing people on her team and she knows that she is only as good as the people who work with her–and that’s what keeps her excited. She is blown away by how ‘mighty’ MCA and SMC are and “...how much every person in this organization does to preserve and support all the craftspeople in Maine.” All of her work has a high degree of color in it, whether it’s paint or stones or glass and how the colors work and flow together, and she’s not committed to any specific palette. She's inspired by nature, how fragile, sacred, and beautiful it is, “...it can be as simple as watching a hummingbird or just standing on the edge of an amazing vista in Midcoast Maine.” Her family came to Maine when she was four and bought a little camp on the beach that they had for 45 years. Life has brought her many places, but she always knew in her heart she would return. When Covid hit she came back to be her 90-year-old dad’s ‘buddy’. When it came time to look for a position up here, that’s when MCA put the call out for a new executive director. Alison felt like the role was meant for her.
MCA currently has more than 600 members and is a non-profit organization dedicated to building upon Maine’s traditions of crafts by providing educational programs, storytelling initiatives, community and public events, artist promotion and connecting artists practicing in Maine, makers, and the public to the resources available through craft. MCA celebrates its fortieth anniversary next year. SMC, the sister organization that separated from MCA last year, provides sales opportunities through retail sales, fine craft shows, and events to MCA members. Alison’s greatest responsibility as the executive director of each is to help the staff and the sister organizations support makers within the cultural economy of Maine. Helping Maine makers and craftspeople survive and grow by supporting membership through educational, marketing, and financial resources is her mission. With her background in fine art, Alison brings an understanding of the process, passion, and commitment that makers have and she has the business expertise to elevate where the association goes from here. Maine Craft Weekend, MCA’s annual statewide tour of Maine craft studios and businesses takes place this Saturday and Sunday. The Maine Craft Artist Awards in which MCA honors individual artists for an exceptional body of work and career of service in the Arts happens this November. Peruse MCA’s website for details and other opportunities to support MCA and SMC. Celebrate their members and the people who have promoted Maine craft artists and their art for nearly four decades at 2023 celebration events as information becomes available. Email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org.