BELFAST — Lupine Cottage at 7 Old Searsport Avenue (Route 1) in Belfast is home to an artist’s co-op of Maine made products. Fifty-eight small businesses have come together under one roof. Opening in 2005, Lupine Cottage’s membership is limited to Maine residents who produce handcrafted articles of art and utility.
Enter Stuart King, of Old Town. He makes a unique selection of pens from such diverse materials as lobster, clam and mussel shells, antlers and yes, moose and deer droppings. His pens, handcrafted from the woods and waters of Maine, are just one of the many products featured at the Cottage.
A teacher by profession King has enjoyed 35 years in the classroom. King has been producing the unique pens for about 10 years as a way to supplement his income. All of King’s pens are individually hand crafted.
“Nature provides the materials, I provide the labor,” in King’s words. “I hope you’ll enjoy these very unique and interesting pens and find them just perfect for that difficult person to buy for.”
“He’s even made pens from the sands of Afghanistan,” said Margaret Masessa, of Montville. She was the person on duty at the store at the time of my visit. “We have a calendar and we all take turns minding the store. This just happens to be my day.”
Margaret sells knitted goods at the store and has a knitting machine that occupies a corner of the store.
“It’s all juried works. We have a set of bylaws we all agree to follow.”
You have to meet certain standards to be admitted into the co-op.
Margaret moved to Maine in 1988. She learned about knitting machines and contract knitting, and then started her own knitting business, Made Especially For You. Margaret sells here products in three shops: Lupine Cottage, Pemaquid Craft Co-op and Lucky Dog Gallery.
“The Lupine Cottage is my dream, and I spend a lot of my time there," she said. "I have a machine at the shop that allows me to produce, demonstrate, and teach what I do.”
What do you do with the wood from old schooners? Francis Fraley uses it for his inlaid wooden bowls and stools. Magazine covers? Carol Gators makes beads for necklaces. How about old wool clothing? Mary Mosier braids it into rugs. And old blue jeans? Lynne Chick weaves them into rugs. Andrea Cronkite makes children’s totes bags out of them. The list goes on and on.
King will make you a pen out of your favorite golf course grass, pet fur or ashes, even animal bone. He uses the word scat instead of poop to describe the pens made from natural droppings. It might be time to get him and Dr. Laurita, of Hope, together. After all, the elephants are from Maine now.
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