Biddeford studio not just about art, but community

Biddeford studio not just about art, but community
Common Roots studio is a welcoming place for the local art community. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Liz Gotthelf, Publisher

BIDDEFORD — Back in 2012, Nick Blunier was running a summer art camp for local arts non-profit Engine.  He was drawing sidewalk chalk art with some of the young campers when he looked up and saw a flyer advertising a studio for rent.

It was a sign, in more than one sense of the word. He had been tossing around the idea of a studio which would allow him working space to create art and store his collection of driftwood and other supplies. Blunier got some fellow artists to join him and decided to take the plunge and create a collaborative artist space called Common Roots Studio.

Fast forward several years and Blunier decides to hit the road in a Fed Ex truck repurposed as a sustainable tiny home on wheels.

“I went with three friends and a dog – we did it on a whim,” he said.

The group traveled across the country, making connections with environmental groups and learning about sustainability. Blunier came back energized and inspired and found the perfect space at a former glassblowing shop at 165 Main Street to reopen Common Roots Studio.

 

He and a group of fellow artists use the second floor of the Main Street location as a working space and the downstairs is a shop that features artwork from the four dedicated artists at Common Roots as well as a rotating schedule of visiting artists.

Blunier creates multiple types of art, including driftwood sculptures and water color paintings, and they typically have a common theme.

“I can’t remember the last piece I did that wasn’t nature-based,” he said.

Art work sold in the shop varies depending on who the visiting artist are at the time and have included a range of items including watercolors, macrame plant holders, jewelry, sculptures and coasters.

“We have a large variety, and it’s constantly changing,” said Blunier

Blunier recalls when he was a student at the University of New England and as part of a class assignment, he and his classmates had to organize an art show “all the way down to the food.” It was a rewarding experience to have his artwork in a studio for the first time, and he would like others to have that opportunity as well, even if they’re a hobby artist or a closet artist who typically gives their items to friends and family.With this in mind, he keeps the fees reasonable.

Blunier sees Common Roots as not only a place to create art, but a place to build community. In the future, he sees the studio as a place to host classes, adult art nights and live acoustic music.

Blunier also works at Sweetser in Saco, where he developed the school’s art program. As he and other artists at Common Roots Studio have outside jobs, the studio is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and by appointment Monday through Friday. For more information, go to https://www.commonrootsstudio.com .

Publisher Liz Gotthelf can be reached at [email protected]