Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.


Friday, April 27, 2012

My Trip to the Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine

A personal experience essay we had to write on our class field trip:

Wendy C. Allen
History 140
Thaddeus Lyford
April 27, 2012

My Trip to the Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine

We went to the museum on April 1, 2012. We started out in the main building with the art displays and the model boats in glass cases.  One of my favorite paintings there was ”Report Me All Well” by Charles Robert Patterson, of the ship W.R.Grace. I liked this one better then the rest, mostly because of the sheer size of it. The painting was massive, originally a panel from a mural. It must have been close to 12 feet tall, going right up to the ceiling. The painting being so big allows you to see a lot of detail in the ship. The whole thing was pretty amazing.

I also liked the gold mining display, which had clipper cards (I love those old ship cards), and the China trade display which had a tea set still in its original packaging. I collect old glasswares, and have a tea set very similar to the one on display in the museum, and to find a fully intact tea set of that vintage is quite rare. Mine has been passed down in my family for nearly 200 years and still has all the pieces. It was the item which started me collecting Victorian ceramics. I have never seen one still in it’s original packing box before, so I found that to be really quite interesting.

There was another painting which interested me, but I forgot to write down the name and artist. It wasn’t so much the painting itself I found interesting, but rather the glass case beside the painting. The painting was of a ship wreck. In front of the painting was a glass case containing a wicker basket which had survived the shipwreck. I just thought it ironic, that a great big wooden ship could be shattered to pieces, and yet seemingly more breakable items, like glass and wicker, survived unharmed and now sit in museums.

From there the next thing we went to see was the Snow Squall. That was quite a sight.  It was    my  first time seeing the remains of a shipwreck, up close. I had seen the two ships in Wiscasset, back in the 1970s, but just from a car window from the roadside. I had never been right up close to a shipwreck before. It was pretty amazing how thick the beams are. You read about how these boats were made and you can imagine the size of them, but nothing quite sets it in your brain like actually seeing one in person.

After that we wandered around the other buildings. I really liked the lobster house, especially the life size cannery diorama. I actually had never heard of canned lobster prior to that. I didn’t really know anything about the history of lobster at all. Of course we have since studied lobster in class, so I know more now, but it was through the museum which I first discovered this part of the lobster industry ever existed.

Probably a strange thing, in most people’s minds, but my favorite thing in the entire museum was the  ceramic lobster plate in the glass display behind the lobster boats and wall of engines. It seems almost to be mis-displayed, as it is set up in a showcase, alongside plastic lobsters and lobster bumper stickers. The display pokes fun at lobsters as a tourist attraction for cheap money gags, but this particular item, is something far from being cheap or a tourist item. It is a handcrafted one of a kind work of art, and is quite rare. What you are looking at here is a piece of Majolica done in the style of Palissy. It appears to be of the type which came out of Portugal in the late 1800s. Indeed, one would have to have been quite wealthy to have bought such an item new, and they were not entirely easy to come by.

Definitely an item that belongs in a museum as they are quite rare, and actually quite valuable. I was disappointed that there was no information plaque to tell if this was a “modern fake” (made 1950s onwards through today), an “original fake” (made 1830s - 1905) or an original (made 1540s-1580s). I know it’s not an 1500s era piece based on the color and glaze; a 1500s piece would have had a brown ground, with a dull green, yellow, and blue lead glaze, and the lobster would have been blue-black and much smaller, more of a raised relief. Victorian pieces often had bright red and pink, and used the metallic mercury glaze seen in this piece, as well as having these much larger three dimensional lobsters. If it’s a “modern fake”, it’s a really good one, as it appears to be, from what I could see of it through the case, an “original fake”. In any case, this particular pattern is known as Portuguese Palissy Ware, and was made either in Portugal or France between the 1830-1905. From the coloration and glazing I’d guess it dates from 1870s era and a plate of this type would sell today at auction for $300 to $750. Though still rare, lobsters and crabs are slightly more common in Palissy Ware then other subjects, so they sell for lower prices. More obscure subject matter such as octopi, mermaids, or eels could sell for several thousand. It’s certainly the type of thing I would buy if I found it for sale somewhere, as I collect 18th and 19th century glassware, with a preference for the bizarre and unusual.

I do wonder, if the museum owners are even aware of what it is they have here, as this piece appears to have been just tossed into a display case of “cheap tourist items”, something this clearly is not, indicating they did not know what it was and simply assumed it to be just another cheap tourist attraction item sold from a seaside junk shop. Perhaps they should reevaluate this particular item and put it in it’s own display case (such a piece certainly deserves to be put on its own pedestal). It might even be a nice addition to the museum if they tracked down a few more of these to set up a Palissy display. I happen to be a collector of Victorian ceramics, so I know the history of this sort of thing, but this item has no identification plaque of any type to indicate what it is, the fascinating technique of how they are made, how the museum acquired it, which artist made this particular piece, or any mention of the artist who created this style of artwork: Bernard Palissy. Most people visiting the museum, would not have the knowledge I have of Victorian ceramics, so as a general rule would have know idea, what a rare and utterly fascinating piece they are looking at. I really think the museum should make a information plaque for the Palissy Lobster, so people visiting the museum can know what they are looking at.

I think the museum should seriously reconsider having this item displayed as it is now, and move it to a more appropriate display, as well as give it one of those wall cards telling people what it is. The only reason I can think of, that they had not done so already, is because they simply had no idea what it was, and didn’t know where to look to find information about it. I wonder how the museum acquired this item and what was the rationale with which they chose to display such a rare and valuable handcrafted work of art alongside a 10 cent made in China mass produced plastic lobster claw harmonica? In any case this was a most fascinating and unexpected find and I am quite glad I was able to see it.

Of all the many various boats they had on display, my favorite one of all was the Lumbermen’s Bateau. It was quite an interesting boat, very different from the other boats in the collection, and different from any boat I have ever seen before. It had a rather unique look and style to it, which made it stand out. It had a very skeletal outline giving it a surreal quality which made it seem alien and unfinished. I have never seen a boat like this before and would like to learn more of its history and how this style came about. I just really liked this boat and think it would make a great subject for a painting. All the sharp angles, combined with the long graceful flow of it is just mesmerizing to look at. I think trying to capture all of the light and shadows in a painting would be quite a challenge. I will most likely paint a picture of this boat. It deserves to be in a painting.

Overall that was our visit, or rather the highlights of our visit, things which stood out to me most of all. I could probably write 30 or 40 more pages on all the things I saw that I liked, because I liked pretty much everything they had. It took us 4 hours to go through the whole place. We had a lot of fun and I am really glad this trip was a required part of our class. I love going to museums and I had not heard of this one before. It was an absolutely wonderful place and I am glad I got to see it.


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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat


1 comment:

  1. Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6