Meet the Artisans

Bark Functional Sculpture from the Nature Series by Peggy Thomas


Always inspired by the infinite beauty of nature, Peggy Thomas creates the bark pieces in her Nature Series to reflect the textures, rhythms and colors she sees outdoors, especially the crags and crannies of old tree bark. She is delighted when observers are surprised to discover that her work is not made of wood!


Created from high-fire stoneware, each piece is wheel thrown, altered, then painstakingly carved to replicate and abstract nature’s textures. Each is tinted with stains and oxides on the outside, and the interiors are glazed in one of two hues, “sky” or “cloud”, permitting the vessel to hold water.


Peggy has worked in clay for more than 25 years. Her works appear in private collections and galleries, and have been juried into and won awards at numerous shows in both New York and Connecticut. After many workshops, classes and shows, Peggy continues to observe, to learn, to grow, to be discouraged, to be elated, and to delight in the frequently unexpected joys of working in clay.

Baby Alpaca Sweater Coats Designed by Carina Hildebrandt


coatCarina Hildebrandt is a talented clothing designer working with the finest organic alpaca and cotton from Peru. She grew up in Hong Kong and now lives in London and her travel continues to inspire and define her work. Carina focuses on the combination of color and texture which makes her CARINA HILDEBRANDT label especially attractive and unique.


Back 40 Mercantile is now carrying a selection of Baby Alpaca sweaters from Carina’s line. Did you know that Baby Alpaca does not come from actual babies but rather the new growth from the adult Alpaca? The added advantage of baby Alpaca is that the fibres are very long and unbroken therefore once woven into yarn the fine hairs remain within that yarn preventing pilling. This adds to the longevity of the products. Alpacas are shorn in the summer months and Peruvian women still divide the soft baby Alpaca from the courser Alpaca exposed to elements.


Alpaca has its unique thermal property due to adapting to extreme temperatures of living in such high altitude, throughout the year temperatures are freezing at night and very hot during the day. The fibre has evolved with microscopic air pockets within it which allows it to be breathable on warm days but at the same time yet traps body heat in cold weather. It is also elastic, non flammable and resistant to odor. Part of the process in Carina’s workshop is to wash each of the pieces so they come to you in their softest most perfect form.

Blue Hill


Blue Hill at Stone Barns uses the seasons and the soil and the farmers to essentially write their recipes. Each season brings a new batch of favorites, with a range of local ingredients both fanciful and familiar.


The Blue Hill line of Jams represents this seasonality with the perfect balance of sweet and tart. On August 12, take a spoonful of these special jams while meeting and conversing with the makers behind them.


The Jams are sure to make your tongue dance and your toast flip, and meeting the brains behind them will to.


View Our Calendar for full details.


Red Bee Honey


Marina Marchese

marianaMarina Marchese is changing the way people taste and think about honey. Inspired by a trip to Italy where she learned about single-origin honeys, Marina retired from a career in design to found Red Bee Honey with a goal of giving honey a sophisticated edge. “Passions can take you on a life-long journey and I combined my creative spirit with bees to make my passion into a business.” Marina has since written a few books including a memoir entitled Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper and will be in the store to sign books and discuss her passion for honey on July 15,2014. As the founder of The American Honey Tasting Society, Marina has taught honey tasting courses at renowned venues including The Four Seasons Restaurant, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, and The United Nations.


Marina will join us on July 15th to discuss her experience and show a full line of her designs. View Our Calendar for full details.

Casco Bay Artisans

fine jewelry

Jennifer Swarts

Jennifer grew up on Peaks Island, a short 15 minute ferry ride from Portland Maine. As a child, Jen collected stones and played endlessly in the small tidepools and coves selecting just the right “treasures” to add to her lifelong collection. These stones were the impetus for her current collection of jewelry entitled “Diamond in the Rough”. Jen decided that she wanted to somehow embed a precious diamond directly into a sea stone, almost as if it “were meant to be there.” The process took over four years to perfect, and it is so unique that she has filed a patent for it. Each stone in her collection has been hand selected from the beaches of Maine, making each piece unique and as close to nature as possible.

Tina Dinsmore

Jewelry designer Tina Dinsmore’s endless hoop earrings are an everyday and every night “go-to” earring. Tina’s expertise lay in her detail to durability and wearability without sacrificing any details for style and elegance. All of Tina’s jewelry is made by hand only using the finest materials. Tina has trained for years and has become one of Maine’s premier precious stone setters. Not only does Tina design for her own collection, but she also redesigns heirloom pieces to perfection.


Artists Jennifer Swarts and Tina Dinsmore will be at Back 40 Mercantile on July 22 to demonstrate their craft. View Our Calendar for full details.

Caryna Nina

caftans and beach attire


Raised in both Paris and Greenwich, Connecticut, Caryna Nina’s feminine creations directly reflect her passionate personality as well as her East Coast style. Caryna studied Art History in Germany, Italy and California. She holds a degree in fashion design from Parson’s School of Design in New York City. Since 2000, she has been designing one-of-a kind dresses, gowns, suits and shawls for special occasions. Each piece of clothing is truly a piece of art. While travelling around the world, Caryna searches for only the highest quality fabrics that come to life in the form of a blouse, dress, caftan or kimono. Her ultimate goal in creating every piece is to leave the woman wearing them, feeling beautiful, confident and feminine.


Caryna will join us on August 5th to discuss her experience and show a full line of her designs. View Our Calendar for full details.