Studio Views: Gin Stone


Artsake: Mass Cultural Council
June 28, 2019

Cape Cod artist and environmentalist Gin Stone uses dyed reclaimed longline fishing gear to create her work. Here she discusses her process and how her environmental awareness directly influences her use of materials.

I use hand dyed reclaimed longline fishing gear as a medium. The material itself is part of the work’s narrative. The local fishing culture is deeply ingrained where I live, in an eco-friendly live/work studio on Cape Cod.

I get most of my gear from scientists and alliances who collect the used material from fishermen in hopes that it will not be discarded in the ocean’ or a landfill. I like to think of the things the gear has seen and done in its life before it arrives at my studio. It made a livelihood for a fisherman, fed people, floated through the ocean and watched whales swim by.

Once I get the longline, it’s cleaned and hand colored with fabric dyes, when dry it is painstakingly attached to forms. The line can be manipulated in many ways to mimic different types of fur, scales, or feathers. When it comes to other creature features, I use found materials that are sculpted into shape and size. Stones, shells and lead sinkers become eyes. Quahog shells are carved into anatomically correct teeth and nails. I frequently use veterinary text books and MRIs to ensure accuracy. By using recovery and recycling of the used North Atlantic fishing gear for my sculptures, I want to put a spotlight on the collaboration of science, sustainable fishery practices and creativity; as well as a hopeful outlook on the future of ocean health. I believe re-use is the answer to so much on our planet.

Incorporating myth and the mythology of antiquity keeps me from growing restless in my practice. I can combine human and animal forms to create chimera that represent ancient goddesses. I give my animals the ability to create their own myths as well, with individuals wearing ceremonial headdresses and tribal shell-work or some branching out into royal hierarchy. Some new pieces feature many tribal aspects, and in that I reference any ethnic groups individual cultural vibe.


In addition to this work, I still frequently paint and draw, with a focus on reclaimed materials and environmental issues. I look to the work of The Quilters of Gee’s Bend as inspiration for pattern and color.

Upcoming exhibits:

Prismatic Redux: Gin Stone and Conny Goelz Schmitt
Maude Morgan Arts, Chandler Gallery,  20A Sacramento Street, Cambridge, MA
June 24 – July 19, 2019 Opening Reception: Thursday, June 27, 6 – 8 pm, Artist Talk: Thursday, July 11, 6 – 7 pm

Natural Habitat: A Study of Man and Nature featuring Chris Lopez, Moncrief and Gin Stone
On Center Gallery, 352 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA
July 10 – 16, 2019 Opening Reception: Sunday, July 14, 2019, 6:00 Pm Till The Last Person Leaves

September: Fleeting featuring Lorena Pugh, Sandi Daniel, Gin Stone
Coastal Contemporary Gallery, Newport, RI

October: Being, Gin Stone with Denise Driscoll
Fountain Street Gallery, Boston, MA

Image credit: All images courtesy of Gin Stone. Portrait of the artist is by 
Joe Navas.