The Center for Maine Craft presents Everything had to be just right for this to happen, an exhibition of hand-carved burl bowls by Joe Dumais and photographs of Maine by Katie Thurlow. Open July 3 – September 2 in the Center for Maine Craft gallery at 288 Lewiston Rd. in West Gardiner, ME

About the Artists

Joe Dumais creates hand-carved burl bowls, responsibly sourced in Maine. A lifelong resident of Maine, Joe began working in the tree and landscape industry over 30 years ago, and acquired his Arborist license in 1998. His work with trees led to a passion for burls, and his collection commenced. As the years progressed, the burl collection multiplied until he was tripping over them in his woodworking shop. Joe acknowledged that these pieces were prized by artisans which encouraged him to discover a use for them. He taught himself how to use a lathe and started turning burlwood pens and selling them in an upscale stationary store in Portland. He gave these pieces away as gifts and filled a large holiday order annually. After making many hundreds of pens, he was ready to move on.

While working with the smaller burls to harvest the curious looking wood inside, Joe was inspired. He came to realize that the creative work had already been done and his job was simply to expose Mother Nature’s wonders. Some of the larger burls come from trees over a hundred years old; in their rough state, some weigh hundreds of pounds. The size, odd shape, and unpredictability in the makeup of the wood does not lend well to turning on a lathe. Carving became the only option.

“I’ve dug thousands of holes planting trees and shrubs. Every single time I was hoping to find treasure and it never happened. Now with patience, a chisel, a mallet and a saw, this is my treasure hunt, revealing something beautiful hiding in a painful-looking lump of wood.”

Katie Thurlow/Globetrotter KT Photography grew up on a farm in upstate New York, in a small town where cows outnumbered people. Her upbringing instilled a love for the outdoors from a very young age. She went on to study at a college in the Adirondacks where hiking and outdoor activities were a predominate part of life. A college study abroad experience in New Zealand was transformative; she has been traveling the world and capturing memories ever since. Katie’s adventures have lead her to Africa, Australia, Bali, Canada, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Iceland, New Zealand and all over the United States. In showing her images of the natural world, Katie hopes that viewers will be inspired to travel, seek adventure, and to get involved with organizations which protect the environment.

Katie and her husband Mike live in southern Maine with their Portuguese Water Dog, Xena (the Warrior Princess) and Belgian Malinois, Creed. They continue to travel whenever they can, but spend more time here in Maine where they both work as public servants.