Chilmark: Shirley Mayhew celebration, library events, Gray Matters, jazz concert, and leaf collage

—MV Times

After years of careful isolation and after two nights in Boston around a medical test, my elderly parents and I came down with COVID. We went a day early because high winds were predicted. It was a relief to be there, but this is rugged. We are super-grateful that my youngest sister, Holly Ganz, was able to fly in from California, and to our friends for running errands and bringing us delicious soups and bread and quiche, and to the many on standby. Here’s hoping we three come out the other side.

Rebecca Gilbert reminded me, “Goats don’t like rain.” But if the weather is good, you’re encouraged to call 508-645-3304 to find out what they’re doing at Native Earth Teaching Farm, and make an appointment. I treasure time spent with Rebecca.

Debrah Mayhew sent information about the celebration of life for her mother, Shirley W. Mayhew. Shirley passed away in August 2020 during the COVID pandemic lockdown. Shirley’s first book, “Seasons of a Vineyard Pond,” sits on my shelf like a meditation, reminding me to slow down. Shirley took up painting in her 80s, and at 87, presented at “The Moth Radio Hour” at the Tabernacle. Another reminder that it is never too late to try something new. For the celebration, the family is planning a “cocktail hour” potluck event. They will provide wine and nonalcoholic beverages, and ask guests to bring potluck plates of finger food. Friday, May 12, 4 to 7 pm at the Agricultural Hall on Panhandle Road in West Tisbury. Mark your calendars, and please email Deborah Mayhew at with any questions.

Join Caroline at the Chilmark library on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2 pm to make one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day cards! Show your friends, family, and favorite librarians how much you care about them with handmade cards. Free, all supplies provided. For adults and supervised children.

Also at the library, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6 pm is “Four Fabulous Women Artists You Probably Never Heard Of: Art Talk Series with Janet Mandel.” It’s virtual; email to sign up and get the Zoom invite. Featured will be one of New York’s most unconventional painters, Florine Stettheimer, who was a keen and opinionated observer of the people and rapidly changing world around her. Her famous salon, attended by New York’s avant-garde during the 1920s through the early ’40s, was legendary. She prophetically chose to portray subjects considered controversial even today, such as race, sexual orientation, gender, and religion. Come and hear about the unique life of this German-Jewish artist, and see some of her most celebrated works. It is time to recognize Florine Stettheimer as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, whose work remains as modern and relevant today as it was a century ago.

Saturday, Feb. 11 at 4 pm: “Hand Mending” workshop with Angela Sison. Learn basic hand stitches to sew a patch, fix a button, repair a tear. Bring an item to work on, and Angela will walk you through repairing your item. Supplies included. Angela Sison worked in the fashion industry in New York, California, and Paris. She is the owner of the women’s sustainable clothing brand Conrado, which has a shop in Vineyard Haven.

Pathways Arts at the Chilmark Tavern this week presents the following: Friday morning, Feb 3, 10 to 11 am, Gray Matters via Zoom with Genevieve Abbot. Seniors over 65 years are invited to gather and share the joys and tribulations of getting older.

Friday evening, Feb. 3, 7 to 9 pm, “A Night of Jazz” with Jeremy Berlin, Eric Johnson, and Tauras Biskis, featuring singers Peter Halperin, Johnny Hoy, Darby Patterson, Delanie Pickering, Allison Roberts, Bose Guerin, and Lucas Ostinato.

Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, 7 to 8:30 pm, “Poetry and Writing” with Rob Slate features David Rivard and M.D. Semel. David Rivard was born in Fall River. He is the author of seven books of poetry. Rivard, who lives in coastal Maine, has been a professor of poetry for over 30 years, and currently teaches in the University of New Hampshire M.F.A. program in writing. Matt Semel of Oak Bluffs will read from his mystery novel, “Word on the Street”. For 13 years Semel worked as a public defender in the Bronx, where he was a participant and observer in the “War on Crime,” and represented clients charged with everything from trespassing to murder. He earned a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His dissertation examined the efficacy of military interrogation techniques, one of the first studies of its kind, inspired by the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. He was a college professor for 15 years, and taught courses on criminal law, race and crime, terrorism, and civil liberties. Semel’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Connecticut Post, the FBI’s Terrorism Research & Analysis Project (TRAP), Vol. 1, the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, Perspectives In Terrorism, and the Write Launch, among other publications. He has also worked as a bricklayer, a garbage man, a waiter, a custodian, a newspaper delivery man, a dishwasher in a sorority, in an asphalt plant, and at the Strand bookstore, where he shelved more books than he read.

Emily Davis has scheduled another workshop at Pathways, and encourages you to register —

Saturday, Feb. 18, “Analog Leaf Collage Workshop,” 10:30 to 12:30 pm. Limited to 12 attendees. With prompts and guidance from Emily, create one-of-a-kind analog leaf collages. Enjoy nature through the simple art of using beautiful pressed leaves, a pair of scissors, and an LED light board. Snap a photo of your work when done, or compost it later. All materials provided. No art experience is necessary. Suggested donation $20. Sign up on or call 508-645-9098

As I finish this off, my youngest son just texted from Kodiak, Alaska, “Just cast off the lines. We’re headed off.” Finally heading to the Tanner crabbing grounds in the Gulf of Alaska after a nearly one-month fleetwide strike against the canneries. The strike was peaceful — perhaps because it’s a small community of four canneries and 200 boats, and folks know they’ve got to get along. What an experience! Whatever we are navigating, may each of us find fair winds and following seas.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,