Island Artisan owners (from left) Judi Lim, Linda Perrin, Chong Lim, Kreg McCune, Margret Bundy, Sue Hill, Anna Pazereckas with the late Ken Perrin (center). PHOTO COURTESY OF ISLAND ARTISANS

Celebrating 40 years of Island Artisans



Linda Perrin, an owner of Island Artisans and Atlantic Arts Glass Studio, creates hand-blown glass vessels.
ISLANDER PHOTO BY PIPER CURTIN

BAR HARBOR — “It is very exciting to think that what we started in 1982 might still be going in 2032,” Margret Bundy told the Mount Desert Islander earlier this week. Bundy is one of six owners of Island Artisans, an arts co-operative with storefront galleries in Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. 

“We have been through lots of growing pains; we went through a lot of long meetings,” said the fiber artist, who has watched the co-op evolve over the last four decades.  

Island Artisans began with 11 artists who broke away from the original Island Crafts Co-op to purchase their Bar Harbor location in 1982. The idea was to have a space where artists could show their work while still having time to create their crafts.  

Owners and consignment artists came and went over time, buying shares in the co-op and showing their work in the gallery stores. Today, three of the original owners, Chong and Judi Lim, Sue Hill and Bundy remain, and three new artists, Linda Perrin, Kreg McCune and Anna Pazereckas, have joined in, purchasing shares of the stores. Each has their own space in the galleries where they can choose to show their pieces or curate shows with creations from other artists.  

Susan Hodgkins makes soft stuffer creatures that grace the shelves of Island Artisans.
ISLANDER PHOTO BY PIPER CURTIN

“It has been kind of a big part of my life and added to my life. I have very good relationships with many of the artists who have sold in my space for years and years and that really keeps me going,” said Bundy, who is not currently crafting but has opened her store space to various artists on consignment.  

“We got to a critical mass and realized we needed to start selling to younger members,” Bundy said. “Our vision is to pay this forward.”  

Today, over 100 Maine-based artists are involved in the operation. “I think it’s a great place to get introduced to the community and art just makes you happy, it’s a happy place for sure,” says Adrienne Redhair, an employee of Island Artisans, who has worked behind the desk there since the ‘90s.  

McCune described that it was the opportunity to work with other Maine-based artists and the location of the stores that originally enticed him. Both store fronts benefit from a seasonal influx of visitors. The tourists of Bar Harbor continuously create a new audience, so the artists do not need to go in search of new customers. “Anyone that is in Bar Harbor is majority tourists, though there is a certain core that’s locals,” the ceramics artist stated. “I think that when people are going in and out of T-shirt stores, this is really a breath of fresh air.” 

From embossed paper handmade by the Lims to Pazereckas’ hand-stitched clothing, Island Artisans carries artists of exceptional quality with a commitment to serving crafts people specifically from Maine.  

Overall, the goal of paying it forward has been achieved. Perrin, a glass blower, started off working as a clerk in the store and is now a co-owner.  

The whole team is “pretty open…we have allowed owners to grow and adjust,” said Bundy. And they will continue to do so as they head into another 40 years of creating, curating and connecting.  

To find out more about Island Artisans, head to one of their locations at 99 Main St., Bar Harbor, 119 Main St., Northeast Harbor or online at www.islandartisans.com 

Piper Curtin

Piper Curtin

Piper Curtin

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