Old School Island Web Design – Knox County VillageSoup

CAMDEN — His creations live in delicate glass jars.

One is a shark, reminiscent of Jaws. “Did you see the little fish below him?” she asks. I did it.

A shark made of fishing net resides behind glass in a stall at the Camden Windjammer Festival. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

In another jar, what appear to be eyes on stalks, something out of an HG Wells novel, await their next victim, but the artist assures me that the sculpture represents a real phenomenon, something growing in fishing gear along the coast.

Another of artist Stephanie Crossman’s creations. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Her name is Stephanie Crossman and she lives in Vinalhaven. The art, from tiny rods to handbags attracting tourists, is made through her given medium, the fishing net. It is also known as the traditional knotted net.

Crossman was caught doing this activity in a booth at the Camden Windjammer Festival on September 2. She said she was doing four shows in five weeks.

She also said her craftsmanship, while traditional, is rare. She learned it from her husband’s great-grandmother, Gram J (Rena Johnson), who was 92 at the time of the teaching. Gram J worked until he was 96, and Crossman inherited not only his skills, but also his specialized tools.

Working with a needle and a net, she creates the nets. The fishing industry no longer uses these handmade nets, but the thought of losing traditional craftsmanship like this was concerning.

As a result, Crossman had the opportunity to showcase his craft at a number of venues, including the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC.

To learn more about his art and work, visit stephaniecrossman.com.

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