Makers Guild of Maine
Our events stimulate all five senses.
Six if you include the sense of accomplishment.
Who we are:
The Makers Guild of Maine creates opportunities for people to come together to make & enjoy beautiful and practical handcrafted items, traditional music and locally sourced food. Learning and sharing these skills reaches across generations and backgrounds and puts front and center the forgotten pleasure - and sense of accomplishment - that come with actually making things - whether it’s a new harmony, a gossamer soft shawl, a sturdy fishing line or a blueberry pie. When we create beautiful, lasting and bespoke things from materials at hand, we are providing a platform for our families and greater communities to live truly rich, healthy and meaningful lives. Our initiatives draw on and invigorate Maine’s heritage and foster entrepreneurial development while removing the social, economic and cultural barriers that often put these activities out of reach. We strive to connect Mainers with each other, and with the larger world.
What we do:
The Makers Guild of Maine develops, coordinates and promotes events that advocate for creativity and community with a close connection to the outdoors. Our events tie in perfectly to the contemporary ideas about slow-movements, about returning to pre-internet days when relationships took more time, when we valued individual artistic endeavors just for the sense of accomplishment, not money. Our events are an homage to Maine, life as it should be.
What it is:
Everyone knows about blueberries, lobsters, and lighthouses but few know how two hundred years of working with FLAX—the plant that provides linen—has shaped our state’s history and culture in deep and unique ways.
Flax is an ancient, hardy, and versatile plant that thrives in Maine’s soil and climate. Its varied uses are not only an important part of our history but continue to serve us well today. Flax and other plant fibers provided canvas for sails, as well as all the cordage, nets, and fishing lines that are essential to a maritime economy. Farmers depended on it for sacking and twine. Logging created a constant demand for rope and shelters, and for military tents and uniforms. Mainers all needed clothes— from work shirts and aprons, to petticoats and lace-trimmed wedding gowns. Moccasins and boots were sewn with strong linen thread. And flax oil—known as linseed— is still widely used as a waterproofing agent and preservative for wood, leather, and masonry; an important component of linoleum, paints, and varnishes; and nutritious oils for animals and humans alike. Flax was and remains the source of practical and decorative items for the home—bed sheets and quilts, linens for the table, rugs for the floor—and countless other items from cheesecloth and baskets to artists’ canvas.
While the story of Maine is undoubtedly that of seafarers and lobstermen, loggers and farmers, FLAXAPALOOZA 2020! will celebrate the people, skills, and communities that transformed flax and other plant fibers into the extraordinary range of goods that continue to enhance and facilitate the lives of many. We will also spotlight the Maine makers and entrepreneurs who are reviving the use of flax and other plant fibers in everything from sustainable farming practices to a fashion revolution.
Other Events & Projects We Facilitate:
Wednesday at the Shores
What it is:
Wednesday at the Shores. From June through September musicians, cooks, makers and admirers gather for an evening under the stars or in the garden kitchen for an old fashioned picking party and community sing-a-long. Bring your instrument and take part in a guided jam session, bring friends and family and participate in a craft project or bring what you make or grow and sell it from your table. Music sheets can be provided if helpful. Wednesday nights, 5-7pm. No cost, everyone is welcome.
Please note: Due to Covid 19 concerns, this program is scheduled to begin July 1st.
Fiber College of Maine
What it is:
Fiber College of Maine is an annual festival celebrating fiber arts in all forms. Fiber College comes alive each year, the week after Labor Day, in historic Searsport, Maine. The sun is warm, the apples are ripe and we gather in the beautiful natural setting of Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground. This unique, accessible park provides fiber artists, crafters and students with opportunities to spread over 40 acres for nine days of learning and sharing skills that cross time, place and cultures. We watch, talk, experiment, make beautiful handcrafted items, and take pride in our accomplishments and communities within its organic gardens, fiber animals paddocks, studios, concert spaces and on its private beach. When we’re not pursuing the joy of making, we’re enjoying delicious local food, traditional music, and gazing over the ocean into the star studded night.
Strung Together: Bluegrass & Old Time Music Jam Campout
What it is:
Strung Together celebrates American String band music and the cultures that brought us those traditions. Unstructured, informal and entertaining this event harkens back to a time when everyone had an instrument and playing on the front porch was as common as Sunday dinner. All players and listeners who appreciate old time and bluegrass music are welcome to attend this weekend of playing, learning, sharing and listening with some of the best old time players in New England.
Fiber Tool Lending Library
What it is:
The Makers Guild of Maine maintains a lending library of fiber arts tools...looms, wheels, fleece processing equipment, sewing machines etc. We recognized two things that are happening in our society: established artists/hobbists who need to shed tools that no longer serve due to downsizing, or a change in circumstances and there are emerging artists who need to try tools before making the significant investment that they represent. MGM accepts donations of tools, preserves and maintains them and then oversees a lending program of six months.
Stringed Instrument Lending Library
What it is:
The Searsport Carver Memorial Library administers the Makers Guild of Maine Musical Instrument Lending Program implemented for anyone to learn or try out a new instrument. The instruments have been donated by local musicians and community members through Guild fundraisers and outreach. They are free to borrow, whether you’re a traveling musician or an enthusiast who has always wanted to try a banjo. Acoustic and electric guitars (with amp), violins, a banjo, two mandolins, two ukuleles, and an accordion are currently available. Read more about the Musical Instrument Lending Library and borrowing procedures.
Luthiers, instructors, and quality instruments are always welcome.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Wednesdays at the Shores is free to everyone with food available for purchase.
- Fiber College of Maine and the Strung Together Music Campout have costs that can be explored by going to those specific events.
- Costs for Flaxapalooza 2020! will vary from no charge during a Wednesday Night event to class costs of up to $260 during Fiber College of Maine.
- Specifics for these costs are found on the Flaxapalooza 2020! tab of this website and on the individual sites.
In Searsport, the geographical center of Maine’s coast. Our events are generally hosted at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground. On the grounds, there are handicapped accessible bathrooms, several performance stages, organic flower, vegetable and demonstration gardens, beach access, an art studio, a commercial garden kitchen, a playground and outdoor art spread over the 40 oceanfront acres of walking trails, campsites and public spaces.
Children of all ages are completely welcome and may participate as their skill levels and attention spans mesh with the activity. Service animals may be brought into the park with appropriate vaccination papers...we’re sorry that we can’t be more welcoming to visiting pets but please leave them in the comfort of your home. If you are camping at Searsport Shores, pets are allowed, ask them about the policy.
Sure, bring a picnic if you’d like.
You’ll get wet. No really, unless we’re facing a hurricane we’ll have contingency plans so join us in appropriate gear including sturdy footwear and we’ll all sing in the rain in a brilliant chorus.
Just click here to get on our mailing list. Don’t worry, we’re generally too busy to send out a lot of emails 🙂
We understand that accessibility takes many forms and we are happy to help...let us know well ahead of time and we’ll make any possible accommodations within our means. In the meantime you should know that:
General parking may be a field close to route one with a golf cart shuttle to help you with gear (spinning wheels, looms and upright basses) or in a hard-packed gravel parking lot close to the bandstand. Wheelchair accessible parking is always available. All of our buildings (including the bathhouse) are wheelchair accessible either through a level entrance or a ramp.
The Makers Guild of Maine wouldn’t exist without the generosity of our sponsors, participants, friends, and family. We believe that our lives are richer and more meaningful when we come together in friendship to make beautiful and practical handcrafted items, traditional music and locally sourced food in a natural, outdoor setting.
The gifts our supporters bring can’t be quantified...so we don’t have “levels” of support like gold, silver, and bronze...instead, we ask you to donate your experience, resources, and time however you feel is best.
To get the conversation rolling, these are some of the ways you could help:
- Assist in arranging for, supporting and offering a stipend to a musician or artist for Wednesday Nights at the Shores
- Teach and create a relationship with a young person who wants to learn what you love...playing an instrument, knitting a pair of socks, caring for fiber animals, tending a garden or preparing a special food, during any of our community events.
- Donate unused fiber tools that are in good working condition or need minimal repairs...spinning wheels, looms, quilting hoops, sewing machines, etc
- Help us to repair and maintain the tools and musical instruments we gather and distribute through our lending library
- Donate your vintage textiles and handcrafted lace for study and display
- Offer your superpower whether in social media, graphic design, event planning, marketing, friendly host/hostessing or working in the garden.
Our needs are always evolving and often the best ideas/solutions come from you, so please contact us with your own inspiration.