Beach Bites

BY Staff


The High Tide of Creativity

No Boundaries International Artist Colony retreats to this South Beach Bald Head Island destination November 2 through 16.

By Jamie Lynn Miller

This November No Boundaries International Artist Colony enters its 14th season on Bald Head Island as local and international artists leave the distractions of the work-day world to commune and create around the dune-filled horizons of Captain Charlies. Co-founders Pam Toll and Gayle Tustin are looking forward to the uninterrupted time and space to create.

Its about the ocean the meditative sound of the waves deer in the dunes seeing the sunrise and sunset over the water and having the time to work like theres no tomorrow Tustin says.

Toll elaborates on the transformative power of No Boundaries: Youre surrounded by people who are all the same tribe and you instantly feel at ease she says. Im like a little kid. I dont want to go to bed because I dont want to miss anything!

For Pam Toll this includes making time to swim in the sea.

My work is very physical Toll says and I love water. I recently went to my grandmas 97th birthday in Texas and swam in the Rio Grande she says with a laugh recalling her grandmothers surprise. Once I followed some dolphins out to sea; I saw their raggedy fins heard their clicking and the sound of water being pushed out of their air holes. I even had flippers on she says laughing. And finally this boat came up alongside me and asked if I needed a lift back because I was out so far.

I always knew I was somehow going to be an artist Toll says but sabotage and distraction got in the way. I worked at Pearl Paints; I remade clothing for a costume designer I was always working around art. I studied English and art at Chapel Hill and ended up teaching high school English in Pender which ultimately brought me to my knees. Finally I had my first one-woman show at Duke and I remember saying to myself: OK its now or never. You want to be an artist. Do it.

In 1994 Toll boarded a plane for a three-week artists colony in Macedonia.

I was 39 married with two kids and at first I was like Oh my God. I dont know anyone here; I dont speak the language and no ones meeting me. What am I doing?

She chuckles recalling her sense of displacement which soon gave way to a sense of euphoria at finally feeling like an artist.

The whole thing was like a dream. I really found out who I was. I was inspired to work harder.

Ive always known I have to challenge myself she continues. To make the kind of art I want to make I have to break out of my patterns. I gotta stick my neck out.

Like her friend Pam Toll artist and No Boundaries co-founder Gayle Tustin is similarly moved by water.

Water has been a paramount influence in my life Tustin says. I once sailed the coast of Turkey for two weeks anchoring over tumbled ruins and mosaic floors. I felt a core connection with the ancient past that I continue to draw on when Im able to turn myself over to my artist self.

Her artist self started young in New Castle Pennsylvania making collage and paper dolls and dresses. With an eye for detail and an interest in fashion she was accepted to the University of Arizona for fashion design but her parents steered her toward an associates degree in business instead.

After two years of business college I tried to be in the normal world Tustin says. I worked in the offices of Price Waterhouse Hertz Rent-A-Car a bank an eyeglass distributor. None of these jobs felt right. I started taking art classes at night and before too long I decided to study ceramics at Penn State. Finally I felt like I fit in.

Giving back through art is paramount to Tustin who makes donor and memorial ceramic tiles for the Lower Cape Fear Hospice and LifeCare Center in Wilmington for the Safe Passages gardens and in Whiteville with the six Bountiful Life tile murals.

I think Ill always be looking for courage to be an artist she says on the ebb and flow of creativity.

Some days I think its absolutely crazy. What an erratic profession: creating something out of nothing and trying to make a living from the things you make. Especially when youre not a realist.


Chords for a Cause

By Barrie Cohen

What started as a casual meeting between friends turned into an unbelievable cause supported by music and the desire to give back to the community. Four years ago and a four pack of Red Bull later
Dr. Damian Brezinski Mayor Bill Saffo and popular recording artist Edwin McCain discussed and created the idea for a unique charity event centered around the gentlemens love of music. The men entrusted the help of Reid Wallace executive director of the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra to create a dynamic musical event with the headliner being Edwin McCain. During the course of four years the event has grown rapidly and has contributed enormously to the medical community. In its first year the event raised enough money to purchase a mobile pediatric unit that is still in use today. The event has raised $3 million to ship medical equipment to Africa and Haiti and last years event created a childrens wish book for the Betty H. Cameron Womens and Childrens Hospital. This years event held on October 27 at Trask Coliseum will feature pop sensation Vanessa Carlton along with Edwin McCain and the Hoggard High School Choir. Money will be donated to a new and improved childrens wish book in which people will have the opportunity to take ownership of what is being donated. In addition money will be donated to the Canines for Literacy program. Canines for Literacy teaches children how to read by reading to dogs. With the tremendous effort of the charitys diverse and dedicated members the groups idea of using music to bring people together has become a reality. Chords for a Cause has never set a donation goal says Dr. Brezinski. It is about being a champion for a cause and bringing a community together. Tickets went on sale August 27 and can be ordered online at


Harbor Way Gardens Fountain

The peaceful sanctuary of the Harbor Way Gardens is a destination for those who want to relax and unwind with their families and friends. Among the lush trees and serene setting the gardens newest water feature brings an eco-friendly and fun addition to the natural space. The geyser-like structure surrounded by stone was developed by the Harbor Island Garden Club Alison Long the clubs president and Josh Rickards owner of Creative Cascades. Rickards donated most of his labor and designed an intricate rainwater harvesting system for the structure to rely solely on rainwater. The water feature was specially designed to promote fun and play for children. The bricks and pavers surrounding the feature are inscribed with names and quotes from individuals that donated to the project. On September 20 at 5 p.m. the garden club will hold a dedication ceremony for the newly constructed feature. Club members will serve refreshments and host live music. All members of the community are welcome to attend. Barrie Cohen