Sculpture and Stories by Bryce Muir

(Click on images for blowups. Click on title to read the local myth.)

Setting the Scene

Imagine a village straddling a serpentine river in the woods of Maine. A river that spills into a great tidal bay. The locals in this village come together as the seasons change to celebrate the magic nature of the place. Around a ceremonial fire masked dancers in animal costumes perform, while musicians play, poets recite, and storytellers tell the perennial tales.

These images are glimpses of such ritual dancers. These stories might be the tales told in such a village. Taken together they celebrate the turning of the wheel in a special place.

The Local Map

( Dancing Man of The Sagadahoc)

Raven Steals the Sun
(Winter Solstice)

Owl Snags the Moon

Heron Returns the Gift
(Vernal Equinox)

Eagle Stares at the Sun
(Summer Solstice)

Beaver Boy Goes On a Tear
(Autumnal Equinox)

These are the original carvings in the Local Myths series. As they sell, I am replacing them with new carvings representing the seasons. For sales information click here. You can see new carvings by going to the Gallery Muir section of the homepage.


The carvings in these photographs stand between one and two feet tall, and are composed of mixed hardwoods, finished to show their natural colors. The series grew out of a previous exhibition called “A Spirit Procession” (1996), which was a parade of characters carrying symbolic objects. The spirit kept marching on – and began to dance. Each piece, as it appeared, mirrored the time of year and the mood of the moment. It became apparent this was a calendrical cycle of carvings. The Cathance Dancers celebrating the seasons.

The tales illustrate these carvings. The sculpture came first, and mean many things – if they mean anything. The stories were written after all the pieces were finished. They are a different act of imagination set in the same place. If you find the carvings tell you a different story, you’re right.

The process of creating each sculpture was different. Sometimes the impetus for a piece was a personal event, or an encounter with an animal, or a meditation on a symbolic idea. Often a special meaning for the sculpture became apparent only after the work was complete. If you are interested in such stuff, you can read about the ongoing process in The Journal Of A Local Artist.

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