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Transforming, an installation by artist Gayle Fitzpatrick, will be on display beginning May 26 through June 24 in the storefront window of Engine, at 128 Main Street. Transforming is part of the exhibition Exploring the Seams, which features four Maine College of Art Textile and Fashion Design students’ thesis work. The exhibition will open from 5-8pm on May 26, during the Biddeford+Saco ArtWalk, and will be followed by the PussyCATWalk, a runway show at 8pm featuring original work by artist Martha Miller.

Transforming ties together Biddeford’s textile and garment industry and broader community concerns about domestic violence. Displaying the work in the storefront of a former clothing store on Main Street is intentional. The installation will consist of a dress composed of handmade Japanese paper that transforms from a worn white to a rich turquoise with gold leaf embellishments. A paper “carpet” composed of handmade paper hearts–of recycled pulp (created from the artist’s recycled divorce transcripts and Orders of Protection from Abuse)–will lead toward the dress. A library of hand-bound books in which people have written, drawn, and collaged as a means of expressing their feeling and thoughts and feelings of their own journey will be on display. The background will be a continuous wall of 8 x 10 inch sheets of handmade paper with patterns of one in four, to visually articulate the 1-in-4 statistics of domestic abuse).

Fitzpatrick’s installation directly addresses the transformation from abuse and domestic violence to a thriving life. It is the artist’s goal to create awareness and spur discussion, and to offer hope and healing through art and community.

The installation will be be accompanied by community participation during the exhibit and at planned art workshops.

The exhibit will be interactive, allowing for community participation. Attendees will receive perforated tickets on entering Engine’s space. One part of the ticket will state “I was abused” and may be placed in a box. The other half will state, “I survived and now I will thrive” and may be kept by the attendee as a keepsake. In addition, 3 x 5 sheets of handmade paper will be available for viewers to write, draw, or acknowledge if they, or a loved one, had been or is being abused. Completed acknowledgements will be deposited safely in a container.

Transforming was made possible with funding from the Maine Arts Commission.

GAYLE FITZPATRICK is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art ‘74 and has studied papermaking extensively at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts and in Japan. Fitzpatrick resides in York, Maine. Her work can be seen at

Included image:  Detail of Transforming, photo credit Erin Thomas

PussyCATWalk Runway Show May 26

On Friday, May 26, following the opening of Exploring the Seams exhibition at 8pm, Engine will host the PussyCATWalk. The PussyCATWalk is a runway show featuring textile art pieces by Maine artist Martha Miller. Maine College of Art models and actors from The Theater Ensemble of Color will model on the PussyCATWalk! The runway show is a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Maine! Miller resides and works in Woolwich, Maine.


Exploring the Seams, features work by four Maine College of Art Fashion and Textile Program thesis students, Meg Hudson, Nicole Waller, Ariana Faria, and Justin Desper. 

The only program of its kind in America, Textile and Fashion Design at MECA teaches the design and fabrication of textiles, study of the field of apparel, and exploration of creative expression through the medium of fashion. The curriculum features garment design and pattern drafting as well as classes in machine knitting, textile printing, weaving, and millinery.

This exhibition showcases the thesis projects of the program’s four graduating seniors. Each student’s senior thesis is a collection of five looks that they take from concept to completion and present on the runway at the annual MECA fashion show. The garments progress from sketch to paper pattern, to muslin, to fashion fabric throughout the course of the spring semester. Students are encouraged to include textile techniques such as machine knitting, hand painting, pleating, or structural frames in their collections.

This year the graduating seniors show a wide range of design sensibilities. Meg Hudson has created a collection knit and sewn garments which feature the colors and textures of 5 locations on the Maine coast. Ariana Faria took inspiration from her semester in Florence, Italy to design classically feminine looks that feature a modern take on the corset. Nicole Waller used her fantasy-inspired style to explore the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety. Justin Desper has included technology in his garments as a commentary on Transhumanism and the future relationship between humans and machines.

Exploring the Seams also includes Transforming, an installation by York-artist Gayle Fitzpatrick which ties together Biddeford’s textile and garment industry and broader community concerns about domestic violence. The opening evening, on May 26, will include the PussyCATWalk, a runway show featuring original work by Woolwich artist Martha Miller benefitting Planned Parenthood.

The opening on May 26 will run from 5-8:30pm at Engine, 128 Main Street in Biddeford, and coincides with the Biddeford+Saco ArtWalk. Exploring the Seams and Transforming will run through June 24.


Five summer camps are being offered in animation, printmaking and photography, fashion and textiles. For more information, please visit our CAMPS page.

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One Wood Productions presents THE SYRINGA TREE

A story of an abiding love between two families, one black, one white, and the two children that are born into their shared household in the early 1960’s South Africa.  Seen first through the eyes of a child, six-year-old Elizabeth tries to make sense of the chaos, magic and darkness of her experience. The story of these families’ destinies spans four generations, from early apartheid to present-day free South Africa. Performed as originally conceived, all 24 characters are portrayed by one actress, Courtney Wood.

Two performances:

Saturday April 29 // 7:00pm (doors at 6:15pm)
Sunday April 30 // 3:00pm (doors at 2:15pm)

RESERVE TICKETS (Engine Members receive $5 discount on ticket price)

General seating. Seats are limited. Please reserve online or purchase prior to the shows in-person at Engine or by calling 207-370-9130.

​Actors note:
It is a privilege to present The Syringa Tree. I love learning about other people and places through my acting.  As an actor, I have always found fascinating the process of inhabiting a character. In this story, making a strong bond with the principal character Elizabeth has been especially revealing and satisfying. I hope this work gives the audience greater access to the important history of South Africa and the lessons that can be taken about the struggle for freedom through Elizabeth’s experience. –Courtney Wood
A word from our sponsor, the Huss Group PR: Huss Group is redefining public relations and public affairs and is excited to be teaming with Engine to produce The Syringa Tree, a one-of-a-kind theatrical event in which Courtney Wood plays 24 different characters, distinguished only by their voice and mannerisms.  Creative solutions to our clients’ communications needs are at the heart of everything we do at Huss Group.