a look back at summer 2014

November 7, 2014

Where to begin. Summer has come and gone and fall is well underway…we’ve even experienced a brief (yet powerful) snowstorm…though, let’s get back to what summer brought us…

We exhibited in two shows. Both were juried, both went very well. The first was The Maine Craft Guild Show, on Mount Desert Island, and the second, was a fund raiser for the Laudholm Nature Preserve in Wells Maine.

Mount Desert is an incredibly beautiful area and while I don’t get much time to sightsee, Jenn (my partner) and Finn (our son) do their best to get out and about in between helping me set-up, mind the booth and break down…here’s Finn at the top of Mt. Cadillac. He LOVES when we go away for shows…

mdi show finn

This show brought me an amazing commission for a couple who own a large family compound on MDI. The land and the small cottages on it have been in their family since the 20’s and I am honored to create a piece for them. It will consist of driftwood and mussel shells collected from their property and will be complete in the summer of 2015. Stay tuned! Here’s a peek at their incredibly magical place…


look at all those shells

This pic was taken while I was collecting…do you see all those mussel shells?

the compound

What a spot! Truly incredible. Thank you to the family for inviting me to design and build a piece for them…

Now for the second show, The Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival. This was our first year exhibiting in this juried show and it was equally rewarding. Lots of incredibly helpful people, visitors, leads and wind! It was a hot and windy weekend, though that didn’t stop people from coming out and contributing to a fantastic nature preserve. Just after set-up (shows are a lot of work for a busy four year old), Finn decided to enjoy the daybed before everyone arrived – he was so excited for the ‘opening’, can you tell?

finn resting during show

laudholm show

A new gallery owner happened to walk by our booth and fell in love with Points to Sea (the large circular assemblage above), so much so that they requested it to be exhibited in their new gallery, Port Gallery, Kennebunk, Maine, and that’s where it now hangs…Check it out.

New works were commissioned and pieces were sold. All in all two great shows and one fabulous summer…

I couldn’t do any of this if it wasn’t for the support and help from my partner, Jennifer; she is  the business side of Designs Adrift, my organizer and photographer. And my son, Finn;  he keeps me smiling and is always willing to help. Thank you both.

A few more pics from our summer of 2014. What a summer it was!


finn with table photoshoot


more wood lying in wait


finn at sunset - home

wood lying in wait...

working with helper










October 1, 2013

The leaves are changing, fall is here and the past two weeks have been filled with scouting…scouting for driftwood…

I’ve been checking out various areas in Northern and Western Maine and it has been absolutely beautiful – albeit the colder temperatures being blown in with gusto…

Dark skies made for dark waters…

dark and blustery

cold days and nights…

Evenings were spent camping at various camp sites and days were spent driving down logging roads which felt (and sounded) as if they had been covered with boulders. Boulders of all shapes and sizes…so rough in fact that on the day before I was to head home, an unfortunate large bump sent my trailer ‘over the edge’ – no, not over a cliff, but over the edge of structural limitations. The trailer snapped in two.

Uh, oh…

No one is around.

Time to think. Rig it enough to get to town and get it repaired – hopefully.

Check the phone for any reception – one bar, phew…most of the week it said,  ‘no service available’…

home while away...

I called where I had camped the night before – luckily, the owner, knew a welder. A good welder.

Now, I just had to get there.

It took me three hours to go only a few miles…but I made it.

we made it

up goes the trailer

The welder was better than good – he was a magician…he suggested I drive only on paved surfaces, at least until I get the boat off the trailer…

I had other plans. I still had one more spot to scout. He looked on with disbelief when he saw me pull out and turn left, instead right…

I was glad I did because I came across two more table bases and a beautiful view.

boat on shore

trimming found stump

new find


What a trip it was…

my biggest fan

April 30, 2013

So while I posted last week about the new piece – Spring Tide III, this week will be more about the person taking the photos (as well as more photos of this most recent piece), than about the piece itself.

My business and life partner, Jennifer is always taking photographs, whether it’s of our son, our home, life, her garden, food or my work – it seems our life is always being documented photographed…

While I tease her about the fact that the camera is always out and being used, I’m also grateful for her love of the camera (and the time she dedicates to editing, etc.), as I don’t share the same passion for it as she does.

If it wasn’t for her and her camera I wouldn’t have any of these beautiful photos…or this blog…

Thank you Jenn.

1.working2.sticks in bucketspring time III in progress4.3:4 assembled5.close-up6.nearly complete

driftwood and stainless

April 9, 2013

Things have been busy, yet calm…new stumps were sanded and delivered to Summer House in New Canaan Ct. They’ve sold the others which werer delivered last fall (thank you!)… And now I’m about to begin designing a new coffee table. This one will be different than the glass top ones I’ve built prior. Our client wants a wood topped table.

I have an interesting slab of driftwood that just might work (with a little help from me of course) – and the base is to be organic in form – no traditional legs for this one. I’m excited to begin the design process for this piece.

The challenging yet fun part of working on commissions (custom pieces) is that it allows me opportunity to create works that I may not have thought of. It also allows me into others lives and homes. I design with not only the specs in mind, but the person and the space in which the piece is intended for…

But for now, enjoy the pics of the latest side stump tables. I’ve been experimenting with inlaying metal into driftwood. What do you think? Also started playing around with epoxy inlays…there is so much which can be done with driftwood!

inlay close-upthis photo looks a bit too pink (the lighting was not quite right) – in person its a beautiful white washed tone – perfect for the sleekness of the stainless…


And here’s the all the latest side tables – Interested in one? Contact us or the Summer House for details!


While I’ve been absent these past few weeks (from here), my mind has been consumed with new projects, new places and the wondering of where does the time go? March is nearing its’ end and while that means warmer weather is all the more closer, it also means the business of summer is only a short time away…shows, wood collecting, busy beaches and summer visitors! So much to look forward to and so much to do.

A new shop, K * collette, in Portland Maine, has inquired about carrying a piece or two – this is a very exciting prospect as we do not (yet, that is) have a retail connection in Maine and this shop seems to be a very good match…we’ll see what comes of it…

Down East Magazine has included our coffee tables in their April issue, under the title of ‘Things you must have for your beach house’ – while it’s not on newsstands yet, subscribers have already received their issue and inquiries are coming in – always a good sign!

And last week we attended the Architectural Digest Show in NYC – we wanted to check it out and see if it would be a good show to participate in – and it most certainly would be! The exhibitors (artists) we spoke with were not only talented, they were friendly, helpful and very encouraging…because when you are planning on investing not only a lot of money, but a lot of time into a show, you want to be surrounded by like-minded others as well as surrounded by interested and serious buyers – both of which we experienced while visiting the show. This show is now on our ‘goals’ list for next year.

This year we are exhibiting in the Maine Craft Guild on Mount Desert Island in late July – last year was a great success and many fabulous connections (and friendships) were made so we submitted to the jury earlier this year and we were accepted!

Time is fleeting and good planning is necessary when working for oneself in an art based business…so while I may have been absent from this space, I’ve not stopped thinking or planning for the future of Designs Adrift…

What would you like to see made from driftwood?

Maine in February

February 19, 2013

I’ve finished my commissions, though still have one more on order…and have been out searching for new finds – tomorrow actually I need to enlist the help of some friends to help me heave ho a new (enormous) piece which will make for a spectacular coffee table…though while out looking Jenn took a few photos – enjoy…crushed shellssand covered treerunning waterseaweedthere is still snow on the ground and the water is frigid, but spring is on its way…and then summer!! 

side tables

January 21, 2013

Not only have I been busy working on the coffee table mentioned last week, but I’ve been designing and building a pair of custom side tables…Each is hand made with mortise and tenon joinery and then topped with gorgeous (and heavy!) 3/4″ inch glass – I am pleased with how they’ve turned out  – what do you think?


side table 2


MichaelFleming - Side Table







close-up of pair

Time flies

January 8, 2013

The holidays have come and gone and I am busy working on another new commission – this time a pair of side tables and glass topped coffee table. I’ve recently finished another running horse and will be packing and shipping it out within the next few weeks…commissions are not only a challenge in terms of finding and then utilizing the right pieces, but the piece also needs to represent the buyers vision – not always simple. Though, through careful planning, asking the right questions and listening, I have been lucky thus far…happy clients equals happy artist!

I do love what I do – the way time just flies tells me so…I can be in the shop for hours on end and all of a sudden, Finn will coming running in and say, “Dinner time papa!” – I think, really? Already? Wow – where has the time gone?

Here is a photo of my shop after the sun has set (which is pretty early these days!). I get such a lovely feeling when I walk outside, on a clear crisp night, look back at my little shop (the left side of the photo is my shop – it’s connected to our house) and think of all the designs yet to come! Enjoy what it is you do…whatever that may be…

The Shop

Maine in December

December 18, 2012

Finn and I watched the sunset a few days ago and we decided to do the same the following day – the weather was too spectacular not to!  Jenn came with us this time and took some lovely photos … I even found some needed pieces for an upcoming project…enjoy.


sunset over beach buried driftwood   feather   maine coastline   sunset

Horse Complete

December 11, 2012

Another driftwood horse complete…this is a standing horse for a client with his own art gallery, in his home! His lucky partner is receiving it as a Christmas gift – what a brilliant idea!

Give art. Happy Holidays!

Laudner Horseback view