Gillyin  Gatto

  

MEET the ARTist

 

 

 

 


   HEARING TREES SPEAKING ON THE HOMESTEAD


             The major themes in my  work have come directly out of living for the past 32 years on a small woods homestead. After being raised in suburban Boston and attending University in western Mass., I became interested in the "back to the land movement" and decided to leave the  so called "rat race" to live an artist/ farmer/gatherer lifestyle.  I deliberately set out to get away from industry, roads and masses of  people and bought a cut-over wood lot  of twenty acres ; moving to  Downeast coastal Maine , near the Canadian border, in 1973.


     For the first twenty years I chose to live without electricity, running water or phone. I happily  created my art ,my family and my life. I built a two room cabin, birthed two children at home, had lots of  cats and dogs and raised rabbits and chickens for eggs and
meat. I raised organic vegetables for my own use and  harvested trees from the wood lot for fire wood. I carried water from an abundant bubbling spring for washing and drinking. I searched the surrounding forests and seashores for the free edibles available there. I gathered  mussels, dug clams, raked blueberries, and went fishing. .My friends, who are better gardeners and cooks than I am, fed me often. I supplemented my homesteading endeavors by selling my woodcut prints at art shows, galleries and country fairs. I also worked for many years as a self-employed odd-job carpenter.


       The relief printmaking medium of woodcut has lent itself  well to my lifestyle- with its no- nonsense , all-you-need-is gouges, rollers, ink and paper format. I am as likely to find a wood gouge (or a cat) on my kitchen table, as finding  a fork.


For many of the early years my studio was the kitchen table. Upon  finding myself, that first season in Maine, many miles from old friends and family, I took a scrap pine board into that kitchen, and drew and carved a Great Grey Owl. This was the first of  my annual hand carved and printed Solstice cards.


   As the years went by on the homestead, I wanted to become a living example of how a regular person can use alternative energy. Over the course of ten years , 82-92, I built my present "Geo-Victorian Cabin" a 3/4 geodesic dome, attached to a three story rectangle. I then took the next ten years trying to learn how to live in what is ,essentially, a sculpture. I installed solar electricity , which I use for  water pumping, lights, power tools, computer, etc. I heat water by thermo-syphoning through a wood cook stove to the kitchen sink and to an upstairs claw-foot bathtub. I have an outhouse and an "in-house", or composting toilet.


  "Success" for me is being able to do what I want to do, love it and be able to earn a living doing it. I live in the woods,  making a peaceful life on a tiny farm, while creating art and selling it locally. I maintain a home gallery and open studio with workshops/classes in the warm season. Each day, I enjoy time tramping through the forests or walking by the sea with my best friend, Nanook, and just being with the trees, listening, watching and playing. Recently I acquired the 30 forested acres  to my east..I am a registered Tree Farm and along with thinning and harvesting, I do wildlife enhancement practices. I have created  a couple of miles of trails for these endeavors.

 Carving and printing  by hand, with wood, I let the "life" of  various woodgrains "speak" in my prints; and bring forth the consciousness and spirit of the animals, birds and people I portray. Living in Downeast Maine affords the opportunity to live in nature and see
wildlife on a daily basis.  I remain truly inspired by the place where I live .

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Contact    :   gillying@Maineline.net

 
     
 

Copyright :  All Images are Gillyin Gatto