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Kate Cheney Chappell

Kate Cheney Chappell


The accomplished businesswoman who founded Tom’s of Maine is also a committed environmentalist who counts among her "guiding lights" Rachel Carson, author of "Silent Spring." After a career at the helm of the company that made natural-ingredient products like toothpaste and deodorant mainstream staples, Kate Chappell is Kennebunk-based artist whose works reflect her abiding passion for understanding the interconnectedness of the planet. "It kills me to think we are losing species right and left and soon the planet will not support the whole fine web of itself," she has said.

Chappell was one of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners’ earliest members and was instrumental in establishing the School Around Us, an alternative school in Arundel. Through a grant, she and husband Tom helped launch curbside recycling in Kennebunk and recently they ventured into retailing, opening a store selling sustainable clothing. "Everything in my business life, my art and my role as a mother and grandmother and as a citizen of this town has been informed by my connection to and concern about the environment," she said in a recent interview with the Portland Press Herald. 

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Surrounded by the sea on the island of Monhegan where I live part of each year, my thoughts are creatures of the deep. Protozoan to leviathan, they weave in and out of the depths, in a dance from dark seabed to light -filtered surface. What do I really know of myself? I am an intricate pattern of thoughts, feelings, impulses that dart in and out of my consciousness. In the layering act of making these monoprints, I catch a glimpse of myself as part of a greater ecosystem. 

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