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Betty Morgan

Betty Morgan is co-owner of Gather Studio in Falmouth ME. Gather Studio specializes in art installations for events, such as light installations and ice sculptures. Betty created ice sculptures of a moose and of peonies for the Attitash Multimedia Commission, and came on TV to talk about what goes into each piece. Today we sat down to learn more about the artist herself.

We hope you enjoyed our presentation of Betty's sculptures if you caught it live on MPBN. This web page will be updated with "streaming" links at a later date.

What’s your favorite thing about Lake Attitash?

The whole area is very well maintained. You can tell a lot of care goes into that.

What’s one thing you’d like to see at Lake Attitash in the future?

I’d like to see more events like farmers' markets or art fairs. It’s a great space for things like that.

How did you get started doing ice sculptures?

I’ve been making and selling art for over 15 years. In that time I've met many talented artists I’m lucky to call friends. One of them, Anthony, who was the one who responded to your initial email, had mentioned he’d taken an ice sculpture class in college. He found it fun and surprisingly simple, and knew other folks who had made it their living. Long, long, long story short: a few friends and I went in together on a studio space and equipment.

That seems like a big risk, making that leap without ice sculpting experience.

It was a big risk. Believe me I kept going back and forth on the whole thing. It took four years of planning. But no one else in the area was doing art installations for events -- let alone ice sculptures. And collectively we had already established a reputation and clientele.

As for experience, we all had some background in sculpture, just different mediums. The thinking was also, at least one of us can become good at this. Then they could teach the rest of us, or maybe that person would be, like, the master sculptor, and the rest of us would stick to other projects.

Does seeing something you worked so hard on melt upset you?

Yeah. The first sculpture we were ever paid for was one I had done. The sculpture was of three dolphins jumping out of the water.

So the way it works is, two of us install it on site. You go and set up the drain pans, and explain everything to the client. You don’t stay at the event, but you’re sort of on call for the night. The client can also pay a fee to have you break down the installation later the same night, which they did in this case.

For this event it was me and Anthony. This crazy idea we had had four years ago was actually panning out. After we set up the sculpture at the event, we went back to the studio to hang out. We were waiting for an angry call telling us it collapsed early, but it never came. At the end of the night we went to break it down. My three dolphins were still standing but had completely lost their shape. They looked like hot dogs. I started bawling. The way they were melting they seemed to be crying back.

I don’t think I could handle that. Props to you.

I only cried that once. The temporal aspect is the whole reason ice is exciting. You have to appreciate it in the moment. You also learn to appreciate the half-melted version too.

I really loved the moose you did for the Attitash Multimedia Commission. Anything else you’d like to tell people?

Thanks! It melted a lot quicker than I expected, but I’m excited for the program to air so everyone else can see it.

So far we've gotten all of our work by word of mouth, but we’ll have a website and Instagram soon!