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Santas from the garden of Edes Falls
REGION -- The Maine Army National Guard announces the following promotions: Christopher Rounds, Spc., LIVERMORE FALLS, 251st Engineer Company (SAPPER).
On May 4, 2012 Brig. Gen. Brent M. Boyles presided over a change of command ceremony held at the Augusta Armory where Maj. Jeffrey A. Weston of Fairfield assumed command of the Maine Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion from Lt. Col. Michael J. Backus of Wilton.
Lt. Col. Backus, a graduate of the United States Military Academy and career Army Aviator, assumed command of the Battalion in February 2009. He leaves Recruiting for his new assignment as the Operations Branch Chief, J4, Joint Forces Headquarters.
Maj. Weston, a graduate of Pittsburg State University, received his commission through the Army ROTC Program and served time on active duty within the Military Intelligence community. Weston leaves the Maine National Guard Counterdrug Task Force having been Commander of this group since 2009.
Both Backus and Weston are veterans of multiple deployments and bring a wealth of experience to their new positions.
HARRISON – On Edes Falls Road you will find gourds of all shapes and sizes, lining shelves and hanging from the ceiling of Anita Campbell’s studio.
With their unique shapes, each gourd waits to see what personality it will have ... a Santa personality, that is.
Campbell used to buy kiln dried gourds, but now grows her own. The process takes about 15 months.
“I just thought it was a really neat to paint Santas on gourds,” Campbell smiled. “Once I got started, my husband found a used greenhouse for me and reassembled it and even attached it to the front of my shop.”
The plants are started indoors and transplanted into the greenhouse in May.
“I harvest them before the damaging frost,” she said. “Then I dry them for several months before using them.”
But as each gourd grows, so does Campbell’s excitement and creativity.
She can envision what style Santa most gourds will become once full grown.
“A gourd will have an unusual shape and I will watch it and check it frequently,” she smiled. “I will get out a drawing pad and make my design. I know, however, that he will not look anything like my first impression of him.”
Campbell became involved in crafting since she was young.
“As early as I can remember I always colored, created drawings, embroidered and sewed,” she laughed. “And I was always begging my mother for art supplies.”
She began working with paints in 1983 when she took a stenciling on fabric class, then moved on to a basic oil painting course.
“After my first oil painting class, I painted every day, first recreating what I had learned, and then moving in my own direction. I studied with both Judy Tripp and Cleo Stilphen for a while and I learned much from both of these ladies.”
Gourds are not Campbell’s only medium.
“I also love to paint Santas on paper mache that I mold, painting seasonal scenes on wood and I also use watercolors. Corn husk dolls are a fun activity for me with a dear friend and my favorites are corn husk angels.”
“Getting my hands in paper mache relaxes me,” she added. “Sculpting a face from is exciting, and while I am painting a Santa, I find myself smiling and chuckling at who he is becoming.”
Paper mache was actually her first dab in business.
“I opened my gift shop in one room of my home in 1987 and moved it to the ell of my renovated carriage house. I began selling paper mache Santas in 1989 and gourds, a little later.”
Campbell closed her gift shop in 1993 and continued to sell at a couple of craft shows.
“So many customers have asked me to reopen and I most likely will next year on the weekends.”
This artisan won’t give up her painting any time soon.
“Each face, each smile is a little different,” she glowed. “Once the eyes are in place and highlighted, the smile in their eyes tell me who he will be.”
Craft fairs are special days for Campbell.
“What I like best is being at a craft show,” she said. “Especially when the first customers walk by; they always stop and smile and some tell me how the Santas rekindle a memory of a favorite ornament from the past.”
“I like being able to give someone a reason to smile.”
For more information, contact Campbell at 583-6010.
SANTAS – Anita Campbell uses gourds and paper mache to make Santas for craft fairs and private sales.