Contact Information:

Gillyin Gatto
Kennebec Workshop
9 Bobcat Path
Machias, Maine 04654
(207) 255-4515




Gillyin Gatto is an unreformed, tree hugging, back-to-the-land artist/writer, rabbit raiser who chose the Kennebec Woods of Machias as her home.
She has created her own reality here by carving , writing , gardening and building, relentlessly, for 35 years. She is usually found tramping her 48 acres woods and beyond with her dog.

A sixty foot boulder , in an oak and pine forest, named 'The High Rock" was my first playground . When quite young I believed that a "man" lived inside the rock and placed thoughts inside my head . Trees and birds also told me things . I remember staring at a huge red/yellow/black snake , feeling not frightened , but fascinated . So much so , that later on I chose to live in a forest . I need to be where no car goes by . I take my artistic inspiration from nature , and let the grain of the wood I carve and print , speak for me.

Artist's Statement


The major themes in my  work have come directly out of living for the past 32 years on a small woods homestead. After being raised in suburban Boston and attending University in western Mass., I became interested in the "back to the land movement" and decided to leave the  so called "rat race" to live an artist/ farmer/gatherer lifestyle.  I deliberately set out to get away from industry, roads and masses of  people and bought a cut-over wood lot  of twenty acres ; moving to  Downeast coastal Maine , near the Canadian border, in 1973.

For the first twenty years I chose to live without electricity, running water or phone. I happily  created my art ,my family and my life. I built a two room cabin, birthed two children at home, had lots of  cats and dogs and raised rabbits and chickens for eggs and
meat. I raised organic vegetables for my own use and  harvested trees from the wood lot for fire wood. I carried water from an abundant bubbling spring for washing and drinking. I searched the surrounding forests and seashores for the free edibles available there. I gathered  mussels, dug clams, raked blueberries, and went fishing. .My friends, who are better gardeners and cooks than I am, fed me often. I supplemented my homesteading endeavors by selling my woodcut prints at art shows, galleries and country fairs. I also worked for many years as a self-employed odd-job carpenter.

The relief printmaking medium of woodcut has lent itself  well to my lifestyle- with its no- nonsense , all-you-need-is gouges, rollers, ink and paper format. I am as likely to find a wood gouge (or a cat) on my kitchen table, as finding  a fork.

For many of the early years my studio was the kitchen table. Upon  finding myself, that first season in Maine, many miles from old friends and family, I took a scrap pine board into that kitchen, and drew and carved a Great Grey Owl. This was the first of  my annual hand carved and printed Solstice cards.

As the years went by on the homestead, I wanted to become a living example of how a regular person can use alternative energy. Over the course of ten years , 82-92, I built my present "Geo-Victorian Cabin" a 3/4 geodesic dome, attached to a three story rectangle. I then took the next ten years trying to learn how to live in what is ,essentially, a sculpture. I installed solar electricity , which I use for water pumping, lights, power tools, computer, etc. I heat water by thermo-syphoning through a wood cook stove to the kitchen sink and to an upstairs claw-foot bathtub. I have an outhouse and an "in-house", or composting toilet.

"Success" for me is being able to do what I want to do, love it and be able to earn a living doing it. I live in the woods,  making a peaceful life on a tiny farm, while creating art and selling it locally. I maintain a home gallery and open studio with workshops/classes in the warm season. Each day, I enjoy time tramping through the forests or walking by the sea with my best friend, Nanook, and just being with the trees, listening, watching and playing. Recently I acquired the 30 forested acres  to my east..I am a registered Tree Farm and along with thinning and harvesting, I do wildlife enhancement practices. I have created  a couple of miles of trails for these endeavors.

Carving and printing  by hand, with wood, I let the "life" of  various woodgrains "speak" in my prints; and bring forth the consciousness and spirit of the animals, birds and people I portray. Living in Downeast Maine affords the opportunity to live in nature and see
wildlife on a daily basis.  I remain truly inspired by the place where I live.

Galleries and Exhibits

Petroglyph Project
opening at UMMachias Art Galleries on June 20 and beginning to travel the state at Abbe Museum in August

Work in the Davistown Museum Permanent Collection

Woodblock Print
23"h X 12"w

Work in the Davistown Museum MAG Gallery for Sale

The artwork on this site is protected under United States and International copyright laws. 
The visitor agrees not to reproduce, publish or distribute any of the displayed material without permission from the artist.

Participating artists donate 30% of MAG on-site sales proceeds to benefit the Davistown Museum. When we sell work that is exhibited on the MAG website but held elsewhere, we solicit a 10% donation. If the artist or another gallery sells the artwork, no commission is solicited or requested. We hope the MAG website exposure will help sell more artwork from the artists' own studios or in galleries which show their work.