On a bright and beautiful summer morning (celebrating my daughter Joanna’s July 16, 2011 birthday) Maine Kiln Works resident Apprentice Conor McLean, Joanna, Patrick Barter and I rowed and paddled to Hog Island at the head of Jones Cove (beyond our West Gouldsboro, Maine Kiln Works kitchen window). We enjoyed our day relaxing with bagged lunch to explore the isolated island and salt cove surrounding. Conor was full of fun and mischief as always but a reluctant photo portrait subject. Above image catches him squinting in the bright north-nor-east light imagining his native Belfast, Northern Ireland 2,772 misty miles distant.
The day several months later (his 2nd tourist visa expired) driving Conor to the US / Canadian border crossing at Calais—was inexpressibly sad for me to see this wonderful human being walking the St. Croix River bridge to the Canadian Customs crossing. He took a piece of my heart along with my permanent appreciation for his grit and humor and steadfast determination over his 7 month tenure.
Now resetting our clock and calendar mind to October 2020—the morning I was astonished to pluck Conor’s wonderfully expressed remembrance from my mail box. What can I say when he has so skillfully said it all. His letter literally illuminates the ‘skin and bones’, the raison d’être of Artisan Lab. Conor’s energy and work ethic spawned and load tested the active learning model for Artisan Partners @ Artisan Lab. Please read with care to truly understand why our proposed enterprise is a living breathing opportunity for personally growth for all concerned.
This wintery February is the 10th anniversary of Conor’s arrival to Apprentice at Maine Kiln Works. The pain and loss of those near and dear who have sadly passed from our lives, the unimaginable shifting of circumstance and opportunity is gratefully leavened with Conor and his wife Emma expecting their first child this very month. Life and the uncertainty of possibility sustains us all. Nothing is impossible if we can only hold that in our ‘mind’s eye’. Please support by sharing Conor’s letter describing heartfelt experience with potential future Artisan Lab collaborators. Please help us create the magic to make Artisan Lab happen.
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