Meet Your Neighbor: Lin Lisberger, Sculptor, Who Connects With People Through Wood

Sculptor Lin Lisberger at her Merrill Street Studio Yesterday: “I Love to Work With my Hands.”

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,096)

“Art is about connecting and connections for me,” said sculptor Lin Lisberger, as we visited in her large studio on Merrill Street yesterday afternoon. Her studio was once a coopers’ barn where barrels were made. It has retained some of its original rustic appeal.

Originally from Connecticut, Lin found her way to Maine through a boyfriend of hers – they split but she fell in love with Maine, anyway, and this is where she has remained ever since. In the meantime, she’d met developer Peter Bass and fallen in love once again. The couple has two adult children successfully on their way in their chosen paths. Up until January of last year, they lived in Gorham. At that time, they moved into a new three family home on Waterville Street – a short walk to her studio on Merrill Street. The couple bought the building in the late 80s and famously turned it into artists’ studios, where we met.

“I love to carve and to use wood,” Lin said. “Wood is warm.” She demonstrates how different size gouges make different marks on a piece of apple wood she is carving into a knot. “I like the marks that tools make on wood.” There are a number of knots around her workshop – some finished and hanging from the walls and others in various forms of completion and sitting on the studio floor. There is a demand for sculpted knots and she expects to get them into galleries for the upcoming summer season. Throughout her long sculpting career, Lin has been drawn to themes that connect to others. This engaging women has focused on hands, ladders and bridges because all connect to others. Sculpted knots represent the entanglements and connections in her life. And there are many in her full life. “Knots are fun to carve. They are a reflection of my human condition.”

With her long and impressive resume, (she was a Fulbright Scholar finalist), it’s a natural that she’d be an inspirational and gifted teacher for students at USM for the last 31 years. She teaches two courses a semester. “I love the freedeom they can find when I leave the courses open ended. Art is about exploration, so I encourage it. For me, it’s an intellectual engagement as well as working with my hands.”

The petite Lin came from a family with four siblings. So she knows about entanglements and how to be connected to others. She serves on the city’s Public Art Committee where her talents have already had a major positive effect.

For more information on Lin, please visit www.linlisberger.com