The place where artists and writers with Maine connections are showcased.

Maine’s mystical ships by Ramona du Houx – May 2016 exhibit Featured

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Seascapes

“Our bodies consist of the same proportion of water as the earth. We are creatures of the sea. The draw of the ocean has been written about time and again. There is something more vast and more mysterious about the sea than anything else on earth. It’s something similar to the vastness and mystery of the universe itself. Our planet is just one in our solar system which is connected by the vastness of space. Is the relationship we have with the ocean a microscopic reflection of the relationship our Earth has to space?” said Ramona du Houx.

“How people interact with the ocean, from feeling at one under sail with the winds at the back to simply watching waves lap the shores, transmits a calmness, a wholeness. That peace is something I wish to convey in my work.”

Ramona du Houx’s photography Featured

Ramona has been to many events in her 32 year career as a photographer and has had the privilege of capturing the excitement and atmosphere surrounding the events.

“Ramona du Houx provides fine, thorough, and complete photography and writing services and doesn’t stop until she gets the job done to the satisfaction of the client she is working for.”
– Bangor Citycouncilor Joe Baldacci

Here is a small sample of her work. For more please click here. Or contact her directly.Rates vary per assignment and needs. Read more

A Winter’s Apprentice is the first account of a craftsman working in a Maine boat yard

By Ramona du HouxJohn Willey shares insights into life in a Maine boatyard, where he worked and kept a journal from 1978 to ’79 in his book, A Winter’s Apprentice. John’s perspectives are unique coming from being a scholar and private investigator. He knew he was working amoung a group of outstanding craftsmen and involved in a dying art that he has now preserved in his writings.

“Before it ever leaves its building shed, a yacht will take its makers on unimagined journeys. This one only begins in East Boothbay, Maine,” said Willey.

As the historian John Gardner confirms, until relatively recently boatbuilding was not recorded—the life of the yard crew even less so. Here is a rare and vibrant narrative from a winter apprentice.

“It’s great, it really is great. I can see it, and see it all—smell it, taste it, and feel it. The shop and crew and Paul came through life size. I was there with you, every blessed, excruciating, wonderful minute…“Last night after supper, I sat down with it and didn’t get up until I had finished, about 2 a.m,” endorsed John Gardner, historian, designer and builder of wooden boats, author of books including Building Classic Small Craft.

John Willey enthusiastically recommends others to become apprentices of the trade.“The practice has worked well for more centuries than we can count. In every one of the great scholarly traditions, including but not limited to law and medicine and teaching, the best of us get that way by first attaching ourselves to the principles of what we want to know, and to the men and women who use and exemplify those principles to grow beyond them.”

Read more

Neil Rolde’s comprehensive history of the War Refugee Board

tearBy Ramona du Houx

Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed. Many of the same elements that led to the Holocaust survive today. Maine author, Neil Rolde, has dedicated himself to broadening our awareness of this era. His histories highlight the degree to which the U.S. helped save Jews during the war and what that required.

The War Refugee Board saved over 200,000 lives, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive written history about the extraordinary work that the Board did—until now.

Neil’s More Than a Teardrop in the Ocean, The Tempestuous Story of the War Refugee Board is the definitive history of this heroic organization.

“The War Refugee Board’s feat of saving some 200,000 targeted innocents is surely worthy of respect. I’m proud to have told the saga of the War Refugee Board in its detailed entirety, in these two volumes,” said author Neil Rolde.

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-12-07-40-pmA new documentary by Ken Burns, The Sharps’ War, is the story of how a Unitarian minister and his wife risked their lives to save an estimated 125 Jews, during the height of WWII. Burns said that their story needed to be told.

While researching, Rolde found a treasure trove of stories where people accomplished extraordinary things to save Jewish refugees but their actions were rarely attributed to the work of the War Refugee Board.

For example, Raoul Wallenberg, a heroic Swede who saved at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews is known. “But not many people know that the War Refugee Board had sent Wallenberg secretly to Hungary,” said Neil. “Most of the workers weren’t Jewish. They were a small group of about thirty people doing extraordinary things.”

Tragically, during WWII the U.S. didn’t help refugees as much as the should have because of the U.S. State Department official in charge of matters concerning all European refugees during the Holocaust, Breckinridge Long.(click to view Neil’s book on Long)

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-43-45-am“When I researched Long I came across the War Refugee Board and soon saw the need to write about their work. That lead to my latest about what happened to the Jews after the allies ‘liberated’ Europe. It concentrates on the Bricha, which is Hebrew for escape.”

Rolde’s books are always extensively researched. Neil has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council.

Climate Change Causes Conflicts-Documentary Project to Bring Change

A short clip to help raise funds for the initiative from its director, Alexander Cornell du Houx:

The Solon Center for Research and Publishing has agreed to publish books based upon this documentary project which highlights conflicts around the globe that are a direct result of climate change and how community solutions, already available, could help defuse these problems. These videos, and a full-length film will be the basis of the books we will publish.

If you’d like to donate for the creation of the videos please do so through the Solon Center HERE. Small donations ($10) to large contributions (any amount) make a huge difference! None of the film is stock footage.

More from the project’s director, Alexander Cornell du Houx’s:

Background—

My deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, with the Marine Corps infantry, gave me a firsthand insight into why it’s critical to find solutions to the water insecurity connected to climate change.

While on patrol just outside the city, a roadside bomb hit my HUMVEE. Fortunately for us, most of the blast missed our vehicle. When we caught our assailant we learned that he was a farmer with little or no explosives experience. Because of climate change, his crops had failed. Vulnerable, in need of funds for survival, he was turned into a terrorist paid to attack Americans. For me, the connection between climate change and water insecurity became crystal clear.

Soon thereafter, I started to put the pieces together on how climate change and water insecurity are inseparable.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-14-12-am

Mission—

Our mission is to film short videos and a documentary on the impact of climate change on water security, and how clean energy and sustainable agriculture, as it relates to climate change can help combat the situation, educate community leaders, lawmakers and the public.

We aim to inspire community action, the media and lawmakers to combat climate change and promote water security.

These short videos, paired with trainings and policy initiatives, will foster climate solutions across the U.S. and world.

Water is our major focus. Most people are unaware that 40 out of 50 U.S. states expect water shortages in 10 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. At the same time foreign corporations are currently buying up U.S. water rights. Internationally, the United Nations has identified 37 conflicts in the last 50 years caused by trans-boundary water rights. Additionally, U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported that water is a major source of instability and potential conflict. According to Picture Motion, a film advocacy organization, the last project to highlight this issue was in a documentary 10 years ago for about 20 minutes.

Phase 1—

The first phase of our video project will be to visit 18 states to film the dangers and solutions of climate and water security as highlighted by lawmakers and their communities.

As a former state lawmaker, I have the network to start filming immediately.

Every short video will help raise awareness of local climate issues, and will also be used to help promote the full-length documentary that will be filmed after the completion of the short videos.

We have a guaranteed audience, as each lawmaker will want to showcase themselves and their community. A California state senator, for example, has close to a million constituents.

Organizing through storytelling—

Working with communities by telling their stories is key. During each state visit, we will also conduct value-based communications training, provide a print story with photos, press release, and social media meme to promote the videos and documentary.

Phase 2—

The next stage is to select footage from the videos from each state to be used in our full-length documentary.

To finish the film we’ll travel to areas that need their issues highlighted. As the world heats up with climate change, the increasing lack of fresh water is causing conflicts around the globe. But there is hope — real solutions are already making a difference. Through a character driven style, we will chronicle the dangers and solutions to water security and climate change from the Middle East, to Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas.

Adrian Grenier from HBO’s Entourage, Anna Day, an award winning Journalist and DKC News in NYC, who produces Ken Bern’s films, are already committed to the project once the necessary funds are raised.

Maine’s Equal Protection of the Laws: America’s 14th Amendment Exhibit

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Maine’s Equal Protection of the Laws: America’s 14th Amendment exhibit opens on Thursday, September 22nd and runs through December 22nd, 2016.
The exhibit will be at the Michael Klahr Center on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta, 46 University Drive in Augusta.
Themes depicted relate to many areas of American society covered by the amendment: including due process, liberty, gender and sexuality, race, legal protections, equality in the workplace, housing, education, law enforcement, rights of the incarcerated, tolerance, and local, state, and federal representation
The exhibit is being hosted by the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, in conjunction with the Harlow Gallery of the Kennebec Valley Art Association, with support from the Maine Humanities Council and associated program support by the Maine Arts Commission.
The Holocaust and Human Rights Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or weekends and evenings by appointment or when other events are being held.

Blue Heron in Solon, Maine by Ramona du Houx

 

When the Sacred Waterbird, Blue Heron, comes to you in the Native American Totem tradition it gives you a lesson of self-reflection.

Heron “medicine” teaches us about the power of knowing ourselves so that we can discover our gifts and face our challenges.  We learn to accept all of our feelings and opinions and not to deny the emotions and thoughts that go with them.

The Blue Heron encourages us to follow our intuition and to take the empowering journey into self-realization.

 

The slide show:

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Herons are symbols of good luck and patience in many Native American tribes. Read more

Maine’s Polar Bear & Co. Books

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To view more about these books please go HERE. So view the latest publications please go Here.

Polar Bear & Company has been publishing high-quality works of cultural significance since 1998, with over 60 titles, with worldwide distribution.

We produce books that make a difference to our cultural heritage, creative economy and democracy. We strive to enhance the quality of life through literature and art.

We hope to give well-intentioned, creative people avenues for their words, wisdom, wit and other talents so they can reach individuals to create stronger communities.

Polar Bear & Company  publishes non-fiction and fiction writers who bring needed insights to the world.

Democracy flourishes when creativity is allowed freedom of expression.

In 2015 the owners decided to follow the traditional model of non-profit publishing, thereby making Polar Bear & Company an imprint of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing, a non-profit 501(c)3 Maine public benefit company.

Manitou-A Mythological Journey in Time by Ramona du Houx

51QZYE7V75LManitou is all around us, within us. It’s the Land of living imagination, where five adventurous teens sail upriver and into a cosmically balanced atmosphere with the powers of nature.

On the journey,  Gandalf, Polar Bear and other mythological beings make themselves known, as they entertain and show nature’s wonders. All the while, the teens get to know each other better, learning more about themselves and the world they live in.

This isn’t a blockbuster, although being in nature truly can be a mind blowing adventure. Given a chance, children create their own adventures in nature. When so many are growing up with electronic devices, this book gives them an opportunity to experience the world of nature instead, hopefully inspiring them to spend more time outside.© 1999

A Maine boat yard comes to life in A Winter’s Apprentice- John H Willey

By Ramona du Houx

John Willey shares insights into life in a Maine boatyard, where he worked and kept a journal from 1978 to ’79 in his book, A Winter’s Apprentice. John’s perspectives are unique coming from being a scholar and private investigator. He knew he was working amoung a group of outstanding craftsmen and involved in a dying art that he has now preserved in his writings.

“Before it ever leaves its building shed, a yacht will take its makers on unimagined journeys. This one only begins in East Boothbay, Maine,” said Willey.

As the historian John Gardner confirms, until relatively recently boatbuilding was not recorded—the life of the yard crew even less so. Here is a rare and vibrant narrative from a winter apprentice.

“It’s great, it really is great. I can see it, and see it all—smell it, taste it, and feel it. The shop and crew and Paul came through life size. I was there with you, every blessed, excruciating, wonderful minute…“Last night after supper, I sat down with it and didn’t get up until I had finished, about 2 a.m,” endorsed John Gardner, historian, designer and builder of wooden boats, author of books including Building Classic Small Craft.

John Willey enthusiastically recommends others to become apprentices of the trade.

“The practice has worked well for more centuries than we can count. In every one of the great scholarly traditions, including but not limited to law and medicine and teaching, the best of us get that way by first attaching ourselves to the principles of what we want to know, and to the men and women who use and exemplify those principles to grow beyond them.”

He has a special affinity to crafting wood. As a teen growing up at Good Will-Hinckley in central Maine, he made his first boat with a friend, in his free time when he wasn’t avidly reading. Working in a boat yard seemed to be a natural course to take.

“As soon as I began work at Paul’s yard I was dazzled, smitten, and wanted to preserve what I learned as completely as I could. After about four or five weeks it dawned on me I had something close to chapters for a book, along with detailed letters I’d written to my dad,” said John.

Willey sought advise from professionals before completing his book.

“John Gardner answered my first letter to him, and was so enthusiastic and reassuring I thought I actually had a book under way. He was always there, encouraging, and I knew he knew what he was talking about, even when I did not.”

Willey’s stories and sage insights will resonate with any reader who has had to leave one career and transition into another.

John had been an independent private investigator in San Francisco when he was told by his doctor to find less hectic work in a more peaceful setting if he wanted to live longer. So, at midlife, he and his wife returned to Maine.

John has been a farmhand, janitor, jackhammer operator, U.S. Marine, choir member (bass), sailor, private investigator, electrician, boat builder, cabinetmaker, mason, and long served on the board of his beloved Good Will-Hinckley. In the summertime, he paddles an eighteen-foot sea kayak he built and launched in 1997.

Available online and at your local bookstore internationally or directly from the publisher Polar Bear & Company, polarberanadco.org. 207.643.2795.

$14.95

ISBN 978-1-882190-45-4