Craft stores abound in Maine, but Works of Hand, a crafts gallery and antiques shop, catches the eye in this coastal town nestled on the Schoodic Peninsula.
On Main Street in Winter Harbor, Works of Hand’s front yard overflows with red roses, white and pink peonies, purple irises and yellow lady’s mantle. From old, repurposed washtubs grow eggplants and tomatoes, while violet wicker chairs await shoppers passing by. And that’s just the outside.
“We like things that are colorful,” said Roger Fisher, who co-founded the store in 1993 with his wife, Pam Broderick. “It gets kinda gray here in winter.”
One wouldn’t know it by walking through the gallery. From white beadboard walls hang gold and blueberry-colored hand-woven purses, teal-speckled ladybugs and a purple-jacketed woolen gnome. Glass display stands hold up blue and green porcupines alongside scarlet wooden cats painted with pink and blue flowers. Part of the upstairs floor is piled with bright pink and sky blue-colored wicker–style baskets.
At Works of Hand, all the pieces on display were hand-made by artists Fisher and Broderick have met personally in places as close as Winter Harbor and as far away as Oaxaca, Mexico.
“This is real people doing real art,” Fisher said. “Funky and eclectic is what we like to put out.”
The two retirees run their shop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, including Sundays, from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, after which they take off for places such as Oaxaca, a region known for its arts and crafts.
“We meet artists who introduce us to other artists,” said Fisher, who has lived in Oaxaca for four winters. “And we always bring extra suitcases to fill with rugs, pottery and carved animals to carry back by hand.”
Oaxaca is just one circle in a network of artists Fisher and Broderick have befriended ever since she took up basket weaving in 1983. The couple eventually started selling baskets, but as their network of artists grew so too did their inventory.
“It’s fun to meet artists from all over the world,” said Fisher, who trained staff at a Connecticut mental health hospital before retiring and moving to live year-round in Winter Harbor in 2003. Meanwhile, Broderick, who used to sew some of her own clothes as a teenager, kept an eye out for antiques, but not just any piece.
“A lot of people don’t want brown furniture anymore,” Fisher said. “They want colorful furniture to go with the times.”
At Works of Hand, Fisher and Broderick’s vision is reflected in a mahogany stack of drawers from the 1950s. The couple repainted it a sea-foam green. There also is a copper star made by a Mennonite artist in Lancaster County, Pa., whom they met at his art stand beside the road. For Fisher, stories like that are what craft-dealing is all about.
“I enjoy knowing the artists,” he said, “so that I can share it with customers.”
Works of Hand
Where: 426 Main St, Winter Harbor
Season: Memorial Day to Columbus Day
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday. During the Schoodic Arts Festival (Aug. 1-14), shop stays open until 7 p.m.
Contact: 963-2547, http://worksofhand.com/winter-harbor-antiques/