'The Colcords: A 19th Century Seafaring Family' coming to Belfast Free Library

Apr 25, 2014
"Joanna and Lincoln Colcord," as rendered by Beth Henderson.

The life and adventures of the Colcord family of Searsport in the late 1800's are the inspiration for Belfast artist Beth Henderson's May exhibit in the Kramer Gallery of the Belfast Free Library.

As a 2013 graduate of the Penobscot Bay Stewards program, Henderson chose to visually recreate the lives of Searsport, Maine's well known seafaring family as a fulfillment of the program's follow-up volunteer expectation.

The exhibit of two and three dimensional pieces illustrates the travel routes and shipboard activities of the four ships on which the Colcord's sailed from Portland to Hong Kong. Featured in the show are sculptures of Joanna and young Lincoln, the daughter and son of Lincoln A. and Jane Sweetser Colcord. In a similar “altered book” style as Henderson's previous sculptures of Shakespeare and Thoreau, the features on these sculptures were created using pages from books, in this case text from Parker Bishop Alee's, Letters From the Sea, 1882-1901: Joanna and Lincoln Colcord's Seafaring Childhood. This book was an important research tool for the artist.

Through her clever sculptural style Henderson documents what life was like on the ships and how the Colcord family educated and entertained themselves. Included also are photographs from the Penobscot Marine Museum's collection of Joanna and young Lincoln as well as their parents and their home in Searsport.

Henderson, a retired educator says, "The creation of this exhibit was a totally enjoyable venture back into a bygone age, sailing on the waters of our wonderful Penobscot Bay. My appreciation of this great body of water which connected the Colcords to the entirety of the world, from Portland to Hong Kong, still holds the same opportunities for today's mariners. The care and preservation of this heritage, its precious waters and its people are vital to the focus of the Steward's programming."

The Kramer Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street. The exhibit will be up through the month of May.

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