Rosemary Levin is accomplished in rug hooking — an art form that involves pulling loops of yarn through a stiff woven base to create a composition much like a painting. But if you visit the Chapter Two gallery in Corea, a neighborhood of Gouldsboro some 28 miles southeast of Ellsworth, Levin is more eager to tell you about the other talented artists who call Maine their home.
There is Dan Miller, whose prints are hanging in an airy room in the refurbished yellow schoolhouse that is one of Chapter Two’s two galleries. Miller, who still teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia but spends his summers in Corea, will turn 90 in mid-July. Rosemary and her husband, Garry, will host his birthday party.
There is J. Fred Woell, who is credited by the American Historical Society as the first person to use found objects in jewelry. Six of his works are in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, countless others are available for display and sale at Chapter Two. Woell, who passed away in 2015, spent much of his life in Deer Isle, where he taught at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.
There are dozens of other artists with varied creations — wooden bowls, scarves, stuffed animals, sketches and paintings grace the shelves and walls. While each work is different from the next, one commonality unites them: their creators all hold deep connections to Maine.
The Levins themselves aren’t originally Mainers. They moved to Lamoine in 1995 after Garry retired from the Army, and then came to Corea in 2003. When they first opened the gallery 12 years ago, they weren’t yet acquainted with Maine’s art scene, but these days, nearly every artist in their showroom is someone they know personally.
“Almost every artist here, we have their work in our home,” Rosemary said. “And I think that’s part of selling art, because if you’d buy the art, you can sell the art.”
While Chapter Two is a place for tourists to find tasteful keepsakes and connoisseurs to pick out a painting or artfully woven basket for their home, it is also a meeting place for the Downeast Maine art world. During the non-summer months, the gallery hosts workshops for artists to learn from one another and pick up new techniques.
Rosemary, who teaches rug hooking on Fridays, knows the value of continued art instruction. Always an artist, she fell in love with hooking through a class; then taught herself what she could from books, and learned from a friend how to dye her own wool. She’s currently in the middle of a nearly two-decade-long hooking project, where she is hooking each of the 17 stone bridges in Acadia National Park at a pace of one per year. So far, she has completed 12.
In addition to art, Chapter Two has a wide selection of rare, old books, which Garry inherited from his mother, a former librarian. One of the most valuable works in the collection is an advance copy of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which is still in immaculate condition. Another notable manuscript is an early-1900s pamphlet on birth control, written by activist Margaret Sanger.
The Levins have seen Corea change in the 12 years since their studio opened. It is busier these days, with more tourists coming up from Bar Harbor. Garry remarked that “every other house in Corea” is now a summer vacation rental.
The couple, however, is in it for the long haul. They are currently renovating the garage behind their galleries into a new workspace for Rosemary. She still has five years left on her Acadia rugs, and plans to be in Corea much longer.
“I don’t know why anybody would leave Maine,” Rosemary said.
Chapter Two is located at 611 Corea Road in Gouldsboro. For more info, call 963-7269 and visit the gallery’s Facebook page.