Maine Artist Explores Ties Between Soil, Farmers and Community

Lyon-ANDY “ANDY” Horsepower Farm, Penobscot

The Maine Farmland Trust Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by Blue Hill artist Heather Lyon. The exhibition consists of photographs of local farmers’ hands, an embroidered tablecloth recording the spills from a farm dinner created for the photographed farmers, and a sculpture made of soil sampled from all of the participating farms.

“The Farm Project” exhibition is the culmination of work that Lyon started several years ago, when she began photographing farmers’ hands holding their soil. She was interested in the idea that the soil, that which is essential and which is the beginning of all growth, could be held in a tender gesture by the people who so lovingly work with and care for it. Lyon feels a deep sense of connection to the land, which is the reason she has chosen to make rural Maine her home, and with this exhibit wishes to pay homage to some of the stewards of that land.

The feast, prepared by Aragosta chef and owner Devin Finigan, brought those farmers together to enjoy a meal consisting exclusively of foods grown and raised by them on the Blue Hill peninsula. Lyon has recorded that meal by embroidering on top of spills and stains on the 30 foot tablecloth used during the meal. With her labor, she acknowledges the labor of the farmers.

The final element of the exhibit is a soil sculpture consisting of samples taken from each of the farms. The sculpture is both a literal and poetic bringing together of the farms she visited, a material monument to the shared vision of the farmers. It is the dirt itself that symbolizes a community.

Heather Lyon

“Lucky” embroidery detail by Heather Lyon

Heather Lyon’s work is an exploration of the palpability of place, systems and ways of perceiving energy, through the metaphoric use of materials. Her work often uses repetitive tasks such as piecing, sewing, wrapping, embroidery, knitting and binding. She seeks to create objects, environments and images that are simultaneously themselves and more than themselves.

Heather Lyon is an artist born on the coast of Maine. She holds both an MFA and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After living and working in France for four years, she returned to Maine in 2009 where she built an ecological home with her husband and son. She has shown at numerous galleries in Chicago, Nantes (France), and Maine, as well as being a featured artist in ‘Scope’ New York. She has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont and at Atelier Alain LeBras in Nantes, France, as well as workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Maine), Ox-Bow Artist’s Colony (Michigan), and the Burren College of Art (Ireland). She is currently the Exhibition Chair for the Deer Isle Artist’s Association in Deer Isle, Maine.