News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, November 2, 2017
‘World’s largest canoe’ being built in Blue Hill
Mural to draw eyes to community project

Community project

Blue Hill canoe maker and artist Ken Weeks displays, with fellow artist Nancy Winters, the prototype for a 48x10-foot mural that will hang, banner-style, on the outside of a barn at Ken-Rose Farm on Route 15 to draw attention and involvement to the community canoe build happening inside.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

A project begun quietly in the barn of Ken-Rose Farm on Route 15 will soon be a roadside attraction. A group of local artists are painting a 48 x 10-foot colorful mural of what is being built inside: the world’s largest canoe, capable of transporting up to 8,000 pounds, according to Blue Hill canoe maker and artist Ken Weeks. The mural will be hung, banner-style, on the outside of the barn as the canoe is built inside as a community project.

“The banner will hopefully bring attention and community involvement to the project,” Weeks recently told Blue Hill Selectmen. “It’s a fascinating process.”

Weeks, who has built an average of a traditional birch bark canoe each year sine 2000, has designed a 42-foot voyageur canoe, with a six-foot beam, in the Native American Passamaquoddy style. Up through the turn of the 20th century, Native Americans and fur traders used voyageur canoes to transport thousands of pounds of cargo for sale and trade, using a crew of eight to 10 paddlers.

For Weeks, what has been a craft of solitude is now one of community that will stretch over two or three years.

“The canoe is currently under construction here in Blue Hill,” Weeks said. “Both projects encourage public viewing, involvement, enthusiastic support and appreciation.”

The mural is being painted at Center Harbor Sails in Brooklin and will be hung when the build reconvenes this spring, Weeks said.

The canoe’s final destination is to serve as a charter for watercolor classes, bird watchers, and historical talks on the coast of Maine that will feature live music and hopefully “promote an exchange between local farmers and bed and breakfasts,” Weeks said.