The Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast, features the Farm Tools Project, a collaboration between Fiore Art Center Residency alumni Sarah Loftus (2017) and Michel Droge (2018). Loftus and Droge explore the relationships between farmers and the land with a series of cyanotype prints of hand tools pulled from barns, fields, and greenhouses at seven farms across Maine. Over the past summer they built a portable wood and copper cyanotype kit with the help of Jack Manley, a boat builder in Warren, and traveled to small farms across the state with the box and a digital recorder. They spent time working alongside farmers to create images of tools. While the cyanotypes developed, the artists spoke with the farmers about their work, why they do it, and where they see Maine farming and food headed in the future.
Like agricultural crops, the cyanotype images are produced with sunlight and water. By their very nature, the ghostly blue prints convey our delicate relationship with the natural world. They capture tools as extensions of ourselves- embedded with the history, challenges, and the enduring resilience of Maine’s farmers.
This project is funded in part by a 2019 individual artist grant from the Maine Arts Commission. The artists plan to self-publish a book, with the support of a Kindling Fund grant, which will include large-scale photographs of the cyanotypes paired with text inspired by their conversations with farmers.
The exhibit will be on display from January 21 through April 10, 2020. There is a closing reception Friday, April 10, 2020, 5:30-8 pm, with artist talks at 6 pm.