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In Wellfleet, wandering wood carver and Dar Williams

Posted by guest  July 6, 2009 07:24 AM

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Wandering across America in the 1970s and '80s, Jonathan Kendall was a
flaxen-haired, blue-eyed, free spirited wood carver who described himself as
a Cabot descendent born of an Anglo-Catholic Movement father and a
seamstress mother who restored Thomas Becket's vestment garment (Archbishop
of Canterbury circa 1162). From New Mexico to New England, Kendall landed
with one of his partners Charles McLeod at Wellfleet's Our Lady of Lourdes
Catholic Church in 1976, bartering a summer's camp spot in exchange for a
pair of iconic hand-carved church doors. Today the church building which
fell into disuse is being restored as Wellfleet Preservation Hall, a
community and performance center. When it opens in 2010, so will Kendall's
doors.

Meanwhile across the street, Wellfleet Congregational Church will host Dar
Williams performing with the IBIS Chamber Music players to benefit the
restoration, Saturday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. (Williams married into a
musical, Wellfleet-going family and gives some of her summer time to
community projects; she helped the Wellfleet public library go solar in '08.)

If you don't know Dar's music, here's a sample: "It's Alright'' from her recent "Promised Land'' CD.

IBIS musicians come from the Boston Pops, National Symphony and Kennedy
Center Opera House Orchestra.

Kendall who died in 2004 would have bartered another wood carving for a $40
Williams concert ticket, but he'd no doubt appreciate the tribute of a
touring artist as famous as he was itinerant and unknown.

"Kendall was like Hansel in the Hansel and Gretel fable, leaving the crumbs
of his true story in a trail of art works," says Wellfleet resident Mark
Gabriele, a preservation committee member who researched the artist's life.
Kendall made notes on the backs of the art pieces, often with details about
the place where it was made. "There are owners of his work all around the
country. He was known to borrow cars and disappear with them. Whenever he
had a car, there was an irresistible urge to go someplace else." Gabriele
says.

Today you don't have to camp in a church yard or be an outsider artist to
barter your way around the world with your work. A Toronto-based artist
Katherine Dolgy uses SabbaticalHomes.com, to offer her paintings in exchange
for lodging. (SabbaticalHomes.com caters to academics seeking or owning property
for rent, exchange, or house-sitting.) Instead of rent, Dolgy leaves
paintings incorporating people, places or objects of personal importance to
the owner.

Anyone want to trade their Cape Cod beach house for a blog?

For concert info and tickets visit wellfleetpreservationhall.org, e-mail
Nicholas@wellfleetpreservationhall.org, or call 646/265-7952.


Posted by Patricia Borns, Globe correspondent

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