Mary DeLano stands in front of a 42-foot clothesline at Western Foothills Land Trust’s Shepard’s Farm Preserve in Norway. Photograph by Nathaniel Liu

NORWAY — When the pandemic shut down nearly all businesses and social activities, many people turned to natural spaces to heal and find peace amid a world seemingly turned upside down.

For Norway artist Mary DeLano, this meant more frequent visits to one of her favorite and close to home natural spaces, Western Foothills Land Trust’s Shepard’s Farm Preserve at 121 Crockett Ridge Road. Working as a fiber artist, DeLano uses the plants she collects for both dye and patterns using eco-print techniques in her artworks. Throughout the pandemic she began collecting and experimenting with plants she discovered while connecting with nature at the preserve, providing raw materials and her artistic adventures.

Ultimately this led to her creation of a new and transformative body of work to be displayed at the same location her materials derived from — Shepard’s Farm.

DeLano’s work is to be displayed on a 42-foot clothesline Friday, July 16 through Monday, July 26. The project is being administered by Diana Arcadipone of The Folk Arts Studio @ Fiber&Vine in Norway. The 2021 Clothesline Project is made possible through the support of The David Nichols Charitable Trust.

DeLano is the first of four local artists to exhibit as a part of The Clothesline Project at Shepard’s Farm. This year marks the second installment of the trust’s artwork series, paying homage to the history of the Penley Clothespin Company, formerly of West Paris. Through this project, the trust looks to reinforce the community’s memory of a once-huge local industry, wooden clothespins, that will reflect on how the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired connections to natural landscape and art in our everyday lives.

In 2018 the trust built a half-mile universally accessible trail at Shepard’s Farm with funding from The Davis Family Foundation, The Stephens Healthcare Foundation, Norway Savings Bank, and the Maine Arts Commission. The trail provides a wander through a former agricultural landscape and provides access to six Bernard Langlais sculptures. Eventually the trust looks to add to the permanent outdoor collection at the preserve. This project, more temporary in scale, will provide an introduction to new artists, new materials, and new concepts of visual art at the preserve.

Shepard’s Farm Preserve is part of a larger 272-acre conservation area that wraps around Witt Swamp. For a listing of upcoming summer programs and events, visit To learn more about the trust or to become a volunteer, email [email protected].

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