Local poet creates art installation outside Toadstool

  • A new art installation hangs on the side of Toadstool Bookshop featuring a poem by Becky Sakellariou, 'Her Landscapes'. Courtesy photo—

  • A new art installation hangs on the side of Toadstool Bookshop featuring the poem ‘Her Landscapes’ by Becky Sakellariou. Courtesy photo

  • A new art installation hangs on the side of Toadstool Bookshop featuring a poem by Becky Sakellariou, 'Her Landscapes'. Courtesy photo—

  • A new art installation hangs on the side of Toadstool Bookshop featuring a poem by Becky Sakellariou, 'Her Landscapes'. Courtesy photo—

  • A new art installation hangs on the side of Toadstool Bookshop featuring a poem by Becky Sakellariou, 'Her Landscapes'. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/8/2019 6:53:40 PM

Becky Dennison Sakellariou had this idea for sometime.

As a lifelong poet, she’s often felt that poetry in general is one of those art forms that gets lost. So she set out to create an installation that would allow everyone and anyone to enjoy it. Sakellariou began talking to various business and building owners around Peterborough in an attempt to find a space that was visible, and it’s no surprise that she got a yes from Toadstool Bookshop owner Willard Williams.

“It’s just to do something different with poetry,” Sakellariou said.

Sakellariou has done a number of readings at the Peterborough location and now, only seems right that her poem “Her Landscapes” hangs on the side of the building that faces Twelve Pine.

“Once Willard said sure, we had to start thinking about how we were going to do this,” Sakellariou said.

The installation was completed on the Fourth of July, but it wasn’t Sakellariou who did this alone. Once she had a home for her idea, it took many people to make her vision a reality.

“There was a lot of talking to people, getting different ideas,” Sakellariou said.

She connected with her friend and local artist Danis Collett, who offered to help in the creation of the 12-foot by 8-foot banner, and countless others to help make what people will see during a walk through downtown Peterborough.

It took about two months to finalize and execute the plan, which included a number of helpers for the installation. After much discussion and thought, the poem was placed on ripstop fabric to withstand the elements.

The goal is to have it up at least through the summer – and hopefully into the fall – to allow as many people as possible to view it, read it and enjoy what Sakellariou views as an important project that will, with any luck, expand into more installations.

She partnered with New England Fabrics in Keene to pick the right material and trusted the longtime company to add the necessary pieces so the poem will last for the next few months. The material is similar to what is used for boat sails and banners, so it’s meant to withstand wind, rain and whatever else Mother Nature has in store. Since there is no framing for the fabric, grommets (36 in all) were added to connect to the bolts placed in the brick wall’s mortar.

Sakellariou spent a lot of time thinking about what poem to use and eventually felt that “Her Lanscapes” would be the ideal choice. It’s about a bird and its spot in nature, and with the installation being outside, it just felt right.

“We wanted to use a poem that’s more accessible to the general public just walking by,” Sakellariou said.

Once the fabric and installation plan were decided, it was up to Collett to find the right font and size. She was the one responsible for the visual representation and spent many hours fine tuning to get it just right.

“The logistics of it was the biggest challenge,” Collett said.

She wanted to use a certain style of paint, but it wouldn’t adhere to the material. So Collett went with a chisel tipped sharpie.

“It did the job and it’s permanent,” Collett said.

The hardest part was making sure the size of the letters and the spacing between lines was just right to fill out the entire space. She used masking tape and some ideas from her days as a graphic designer – before computers – to get it to what you will see hanging on the wall of Toadstool.

“I admire her for thinking big and having this project she wanted to accomplish,” Collett said. “I’m glad she had her vision come to fruition.”

To get the fabric fit to be hung, Sakellariou brought it to the Repair Shop at MAxT Makerspace to be hemmed and ironed.

For the installation, Sakellariou borrowed a drill and then a hammer drill, bought new drill bits and asked around to get a couple ladders.

Once Williams saw the final product, he mentioned there were two more spaces on the wall that would work for more installations.

The plan for Sakellariou is to put the idea out to fellow poets in hopes that others will want to follow suit. She spent about $200 on the project, but sees the potential to secure a grant for future ones.

“This is about making poetry accessible to anybody and everybody,” Sakellariou said.


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