Gillyin Gatto is an unreformed, tree hugging, back-to-the-land artist/writer, rabbit raiser who chose the Kennebec Woods of Machias as her home.
HEARING TREES SPEAKING ON THE HOMESTEAD
The major themes in my work have come directly out of living for the past 32 years on a small woods homestead. After being raised in suburban Boston and attending University in western Mass., I became interested in the "back to the land movement" and decided to leave the so called "rat race" to live an artist/ farmer/gatherer lifestyle. I deliberately set out to get away from industry, roads and masses of people and bought a cut-over wood lot of twenty acres ; moving to Downeast coastal Maine , near the Canadian border, in 1973.
For the first twenty years I chose to live without electricity, running
water or phone. I happily created my art ,my family and my life.
I built a two room cabin, birthed two children at home, had lots of
cats and dogs and raised rabbits and chickens for eggs and
The relief printmaking medium of woodcut has lent itself well to my lifestyle- with its no- nonsense , all-you-need-is gouges, rollers, ink and paper format. I am as likely to find a wood gouge (or a cat) on my kitchen table, as finding a fork.
For many of the early years my studio was the kitchen table. Upon finding myself, that first season in Maine, many miles from old friends and family, I took a scrap pine board into that kitchen, and drew and carved a Great Grey Owl. This was the first of my annual hand carved and printed Solstice cards.
As the years went by on the homestead, I wanted to become a living example of how a regular person can use alternative energy. Over the course of ten years , 82-92, I built my present "Geo-Victorian Cabin" a 3/4 geodesic dome, attached to a three story rectangle. I then took the next ten years trying to learn how to live in what is ,essentially, a sculpture. I installed solar electricity , which I use for water pumping, lights, power tools, computer, etc. I heat water by thermo-syphoning through a wood cook stove to the kitchen sink and to an upstairs claw-foot bathtub. I have an outhouse and an "in-house", or composting toilet.
"Success" for me is being able to do what I want to do, love it and be able to earn a living doing it. I live in the woods, making a peaceful life on a tiny farm, while creating art and selling it locally. I maintain a home gallery and open studio with workshops/classes in the warm season. Each day, I enjoy time tramping through the forests or walking by the sea with my best friend, Nanook, and just being with the trees, listening, watching and playing. Recently I acquired the 30 forested acres to my east..I am a registered Tree Farm and along with thinning and harvesting, I do wildlife enhancement practices. I have created a couple of miles of trails for these endeavors.
Carving and printing by hand, with wood, I let the "life" of
various woodgrains "speak" in my prints; and bring forth the consciousness
and spirit of the animals, birds and people I portray. Living in Downeast
Maine affords the opportunity to live in nature and see
Galleries and Exhibits
Work in the Davistown Museum Permanent Collection
Work in the Davistown Museum MAG Gallery for Sale
The artwork on this site is protected
under United States and International copyright laws.
The visitor agrees not to reproduce, publish or distribute any of the displayed material without permission from the artist.
Participating artists donate 30% of MAG on-site sales proceeds to benefit the Davistown Museum. When we sell work that is exhibited on the MAG website but held elsewhere, we solicit a 10% donation. If the artist or another gallery sells the artwork, no commission is solicited or requested. We hope the MAG website exposure will help sell more artwork from the artists' own studios or in galleries which show their work.