June 19, 2018
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Unique tile mural finds fisherman George Chandler back in his Jonesport parlor

By Tom Walsh, BDN Staff

JONESPORT, Maine — Brenda Chandler’s grandfather is once again a fixture in the parlor of the Jonesport home where he lived for decades.

George Chandler was 90 when he passed away eight years ago, leaving behind a two-story house at 2145 Indian River Road that was built sometime before 1881. After his death, granddaughter Brenda took ownership and began what, seven years later, remains a work-in-progress renovation.

Among the Chandler family’s treasures is a black-and-white photograph of George and three other fishermen hauling a net brimming with herring into a dory. The photo is 40-something years old and served as a template of sorts for a unique commission that saw Columbia Falls potter April Adams create an original art-on-tile version of the photo that on Thursday was installed in what used to be the hearth in George Chandler’s parlor.

At Brenda’s request, Adams re-created the scene with only two of the original fishermen depicted in the photo hauling in the net: Brenda’s grandfather and her cousin, Bobby Davis of Beals Island.

“The commission was a chance to put something special back into the house,” Brenda said Thursday. “We had the space, and we had seen the same sort of concept done by other artists. It really finishes the room, which gives me a chance to cross one more room off the list.”

Adams worked on the project for more than 18 months, meeting periodically with Brenda and other Chandler family members to field suggestions, down to the color of George Chandler’s shirt. Cousin Bobby even posed for Adams in his sou’wester foul weather hat.

“I would guess I have about 150 hours into this commission,” Adams said Thursday while tending her Columbia Falls Pottery retail shop. “Although I have a fine arts background, I’ve never done a project like this before. There was a lot of discussion with the client as I created the storyboard I used to lay out each tile before I painted it.”

The finished art-on-tile mural is 33-by-44 inches, significantly larger than the original photograph on which it was modeled.

An executive at Fairchild Semiconductor in Portland, Brenda Chandler and husband, Tony Lyons, spend as many summer weekends as possible in the Jonesport home, often hosting other family members who know the old house well.

“The timing of this installation couldn’t have been better,” Chandler said. “I have an aunt who is coming this weekend to come through the house to see how things have changed. I’ve always had the feeling that my grandfather is still here, and this project is something of a tribute to him.”

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