The entire town of Rockport qualifies as a found object, really. It’s a place out of time. Yesterday I had some errands to take care of downtown and was distracted from my duties repeatedly by items of interest. On the perimeter of Inner Harbor there are huge coils of rope — washed up in a December storm, a neighbor told me — and arranged in a deliberate sort of pile on the granite rocks bordering the harbor. The rope remains there, too heavy for the average scavenger to lift, a spontaneous sculpture.
And I saw a summer house whose looks belong entirely to another century, the windows covered for the winter with Folly Cove textiles, casually. Which is just the way the Folly Cove designers would have wanted it, as this group of Cape Ann block printers was committed to producing functional pieces. No intellectualized waxing on about the meaning of design, the artistry of the process — the Folly Cove collective just wanted to make useful items beautiful.
Which is the aesthetic of Rockport itself, actually. Rockport is ultimately a functional place, whose beauty highlights its industry, past and present. Quarrying, lobstering, and painting — it’s a place that gives work meaning, because the work itself is entirely connected to place. In the face of a world that is becoming the same all over, one strip mall at a time, Rockport is entirely itself, built on granite.