The future of both the red knot and the ancient horseshoe crab is tenuous, as man-made climate change and the take of horseshoe crabs for human use, threaten both species. Hopefully this exhibit of spoken and written words, art, and photography, encouraged the reader and viewer to think deeply about how we all – humans, birds, animals, land and ocean – are deeply connected.
For many years, I have been talking with my friend Deborah Cramer about ways in which we could possibly collaborate on a project involving her books and writing about the sea and the sea edge, and my silk paintings. In Spring 2016 Patty Hanlon, completely out of the blue, asked if I’d like to exhibit silk paintings in her new gallery What if, I asked Patty, my silk paintings were to illustrate Deborah’s wonderful new award-winning book The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab And An Epic Journey? Patty agreed to read the book and consider the proposal. A few weeks later we met at Cedar Tree Gallery in Essex. “Wonderful idea” said Patty, “Let’s do it.”
We decided on a multi-media event and month-long exhibit in June 2016 – July 2016. A book reading by Deborah and sale of her books in the gallery; interpretive silk paintings; banners that would incorporate gorgeous nature photography of themes from the book with selected text, photography and the creation of a red knot migration map poster by Les Bartlett. It was a joyful and entirely collaborative effort. New friendships were formed and old ones renewed. Lee Steele, my 90 year young silk painter friend, gave me horseshoe crab shells that she had found on Folly Cove 25 years ago. They can no longer be found there. Red knots are also hard to find on the shorelines of Essex County.