Lessons Learned from Living near the Ocean, Rhode Island
Submitted by Mary to the Women Mind the Water digital stories project, in conjunction with the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street storytelling website and traveling exhibition "Water/Ways."
"My name is Mary Chatowsky Jameson. I am the owner of an art studio in Newport, Rhode Island, named Saltwater Studio. And, I am an artist that creates work using seaweed as my medium. I grew up in Rhode Island, the Ocean State. And, true to its name, the access to the ocean and the importance it has had on my family and me has been paramount. My father was always curious about the natural world and we spent time as a family on hikes and camping, actively observing and identifying different plants, animals, and environments. My family lived in Key West when I was young and we frequently snorkeled the reefs. My dad loved to fish so we were out most weekends on his boat. During the week we cast off the dock behind our house for balyhoo using popcorn for bait and then we used the balyhoo as bait for the fish we liked to catch, like the king fish.
We camped in the Everglades and challenged each other to find the painted tree snails and the birds like the roseate spoon bills and the ibis and climb the gumbo limbo trees. I mention a bit of my background to give you a little background of who I am and what influences and experiences have shaped me. I can also hear in my head one of my very first art teachers telling our class to get out into nature—pay attention, observe, really see— it’s the greatest teacher he used to say. And, I get it. The natural world is full of mysteries. The ocean is a wealth of environments, shapes and forms, weird and funky, and I LOVE it. It’s here that I find the greatest source inspiration. It has been inbred since my childhood where as a family our main excursions were to the oceans to fish, explore, play and dream."
Asset ID: 8013
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