How quickly our lives can change....
In March of 2010 George was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer. He went through chemotherapy, extensive radiation treatments, and finally a lengthy and complicated surgery to remove the esophagus and half of his stomach. He slowly recovered from a true battle and hoped to work again in his studio. His CT scan in December showed him to be cancer free and we rejoiced. It would take him at least two years to recover from this cancer treatment. George had two throat stretching procedures in the months following the surgery. The effects of chemo and radiation continued to cause fatigue and lack of interest in food. Due to his illness we could no longer run our gallery in Maine but we were delighted to continue offering our high quality art works at affordable prices through our website. In March of 2011 George began having pain, weakness, severe fatigue and a number of other problems. He was diagnosed with a inoperable brain tumor but went through Cyber Knife radiation treatments and seemed much improved once the side effects decreased. He was also diagnosed with a tumor in the right lung and started chemotherapy for it. Pain, fatigue, weakness continued and steroids and other medications were taking a tremendous toll on his physical condition. He could not manage the second chemo treatment and was admitted into the hospital to help him regain his strength and try chemo again. The cancer went into his spinal fluid, then into his bloodstream and my true love and partner in all things passed away.
A special thank you from both of us to all the fantastic people who came to our gallery over the years. The support and interest in our creations has given us both a sense of fulfillment and joy. I truly loved greeting newcomers and old friends every year and I will always miss that special experience. Knowing that our work is in so many homes all over the world gives me such a feeling of accomplishment...I feel as though a little bit of George and I will always remain with our wonderful customers. Bless you all for so many fun and rewarding experiences. Many of you will remember playing with our gallery cats, the three old girls Puff, Smudge and Eloise; some of you will remember our Great Pyrenees dogs Riley, Molly and Angelique (she is with me in North Carolina now). I am going to start to participate in art shows, find outlets for our work, and create both new fused glass pieces and paintings.
You can reach me through our Contact Us page, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call me at our permanent residence in North Carolina at (252) 764-2136, or place an order on-line.
Our seasonal gallery in East Boothbay, Maine was originally a summer Methodist chapel built in 1913. It passed into private use in the 1940's but was allowed to decline over the years. We had the courage and foresight to save this historic building when we purchased it in 1997. We worked on it day and night through the winter of '97 and opened the beautiful French doors to the public that May. We worked on and in this glorious building until now, and our painted lady has been an inspirational home and gallery. The stained glass windows are original to the building and complimented the fused glass jewelry, stained glass kaleidoscopes, glass designs, gift collectibles and even the original paintings and prints. Every item in the gallery was hand crafted by us. It is difficult not having the chapel and the gallery as a part of my life now. However, each day George and I had together, wherever we were, was a gift and we worked at enjoying that time we were given.
George Bear was the Stained Glass and Fused Glass worker who produced the collectible and award-winning kaleidoscopes and Fused Glass Candle Holders, Vases and Wind Chimes. He continued to create new and dynamic art and jewelry in fused glass and dichroic glass until his last few months. His decorative glass art has taken a new path with his Vitrigraph Kiln creations fused into glass wall art and handmade jewelry and incredible bowls made of triple layers of fused glass with Vitrigraph Kiln designs throughout the artworks.
George had his dichroic glass custom made by Austin Thin Films (www.dichro.com) to further enhance the special effects in many of his creations from handcrafted jewelry to the kaleidoscope wheels and glass art.
I am Susan Mack Bear, the artist who is now solely responsible for the website and the art works. I create the paintings and signed prints of many of those paintings. I hope you can almost feel the crashing waves of the Maine coast, smell the beach roses and lupines or hear the fog horns of the Maine Lighthouses when viewing my paintings of the mid-coast region, contrasted to the softer colors and textures of my mid-coast North Carolina paintings. I was responsible for the overall operation of the gallery and I have enjoyed meeting the many thousands of visitors every summer. So many people have become friends of the gallery and it is delightful knowing people from all over our country. I also started creating kiln-fired jewelry and designing and creating glass wall art and large bowls which are functional and decorative a few years ago as an apprentice to my brilliant and multi-talented glass artist husband, my dear Bear.
Usually once a year we traveled to Rainbow Art Glass (www.rainbowartglass.com) in Farmingdale, New Jersey to select the newest and most interesting sheets of fusible glass to become new glass artworks.
Other glass contacts include www.slumpys.com; www.delphiglass.com, www.anythinginstainedglass.com, to name a few.
Before moving to Maine in 1996, we participated in many juried art shows in San Francisco, Monterey and Sacramento. While living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State we were members of the Art Foundation in Sequim and were associated with galleries and juried shows in Olympia, Port Orchard, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Everett, Bothell and Bellingham.
We are members of The Brewster Kaleidoscope Society (www.brewstersociety.com) for designers, collectors, and lovers of kaleidoscopes).
We are also juried members of the Carteret County Arts Coalition, Morehead City, NC and associate members of the Carolina Artist Studio Gallery, Inc., Morehead City, NC www.carolinaartiststudio.com).
I am a recent member of the Seaside Arts Council, Swansboro, NC and I was the featured local artist this year at The Celtic Christmas Concert by Jennifer Licko. That was my first public appearance representing our art since George passed away.
A Mack Bear Shop has been featured on the handcrafted website www.etsy.com.