Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Tift Merritt returns to her old home base of Wilmington to play [Read more…]
Wild is an understatement. Mary’s Gone Wild feels like stepping into another world where old and new, color, and a little bit of absurd all meet. Mary Paulsen, now in her 60s, began creating artwork in the 1980s when she began dumpster diving and refinishing items to sell. Then one day, while she was doing dishes she had a vision.
In this vision, she says the Lord told her to create—to make artwork, and so she did.
There is nothing Mary won’t paint on, surfboards, signs, glass windows, discarded pieces of wood, chairs, and tables. Her home in Holden Beach has become a Mecca of unique artwork and collectibles. Vivid colors, bright patterns, and bold pieces of what some may see as trash adorn every available space.
She has built small houses all over her property, each with different themes. There’s a Christmas house, a school house, a boy’s clubhouse, a library, a Coca-Cola House, and a girl’s clubhouse complete with an Easy Bake Oven. She has even made a small chapel out of recycled glass bottles and windows.
Mary sells some of her works of art, the prices range from $4 to $4,000, depending on the material and size, but Mary doesn’t do this for profit. All the proceeds she makes go to a charity called Feed the Children., an organization that exists to end childhood hunger and feeds more than 263,000 children every day.
Mary knows what it’s like to lead a hard life, she was one of ten children raised in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, long before it was developed. Her husband died when he drowned, their children at the time were just 3 years old and 11 months old. Mary has also battled a tumor and dropped down to just 76 pounds, she was even pronounced dead— twice. But Mary found strength and fought back, rallying her strength and finding God.
Mary is now an established folk artist with artwork hanging in all 50 states and artwork featured in the Museum of Art in Georgia as part of the Folk Art exhibit. She has been the subject of books, several documentaries, and numerous articles. But the most rewarding thing to Mary is the people who come to Mary’s Gone Wild (the name of her trove of artwork adjacent to her home) and visit with her.
Everyone is invited to Mary’s Gone Wild, there are no appointments (she doesn’t use email or a computer) but she stays near her home most days, and is happy to see visitors. She likes to listen to people’s stories and share her bright outlook of the world with others.
Want to Visit Mary’s Gone Wild?
Where: 2431 Holden Beach Rd. SW, Supply, NC
Watch a Short Documentary about Mary’s Gone Wild
The Spirit of Living In and Around Calabash explores the local history of Calabash, North Carolina through the eyes of Captain Harold Hickman as he gives a unique perspective of the fascinating history of Calabash.
Brunswick County history has been the chosen subject of other local author Captain Harold Hickman. Four generations of Capt. Hickman’s family have resided in Brunswick County.
He was inspired to write The Spirit of Living in and around Calabash: Yesteryear, yesterday, and today after sharing that history with his son Dan.
Calabash first showed up on maps in the late 1600s as Pea Landing. The ocean and the nearby river and supplied most of the local’s food, while the surrounding fields grew thick with peanuts and indigo.
The peanut fields are still there today, while golf courses and retirement communities have replaced the indigo.
The fishermen continue to take to the Calabash River pulling in their catches and selling them in the many seafood restaurants but they still make their own suppers from what they don’t sell, as their fathers and grandfathers did before them.
Through the 1700s into the early 1800s, Pea Landing grew at a slow pace, as one plantation after another began appearing on maps.
As time passed, the riverfront near the docks began to formalize, as a commercial center of businesses and homes began to appear.
By 1883, the people of Pea Landing petitioned to have a post office. Their request was denied (another town called Pea Landing already existed) so they named themselves after the most obvious feature in their area, the Calabash River.
The crooked, winding river took its name from the crook-necked “calabash gourd”, which is a gourd that, when it is dried and hollowed, has been used by cultures around the world as a ladle, bottle, dipper, and bowl.
The Calabash River, just like gourd which is its namesake, holds the livelihood and spirit of the town.
Calabash is a way of living holding tradition close. It’s a lifestyle and way of working with your feet in the mud feeling for clams or your hands on a river bank pulling out oysters.
Calabash is also way of eating, sharing, and drawing close to one another. Calabash is the town you wish you grew up in.
Capt. Hickman, a retired explosives safety engineer and certified Coast Guard captain, took three years to research and write the book.
During that time, he uncovered many facts about his hometown that he hadn’t known, for example that the name ‘Calabash’ was taken from the African slaves’ word for gourd.
Capt. Hickman hopes the book will help preserve the history of the area.
On August 12 Zombies, Superheroes, Ghosts, Fantastic Artists and Writers, Mad Scientists, and Fans Converge on Wilmington [Read more…]