Leaders & Working Women The Artist: ‘I love telling stories’

The Artist: ‘I love telling stories’

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Shana Barry, 35

Creator of The Fofers

?www.fofers.com

Shana Barry made her first Fofer doll while living on Moose Island in Eastport.

As she worked, she began to imagine a world for the Fofers on the island of Fof. It is a world she created by writing songs about them and which has now grown to a live show that she has performed more than 40 times for schools and libraries around Maine. There are also a website, and CD. She is in the process of creating her first DVD and raising money to bring the show to under-served schools in poorer counties in Maine.

“Living in Eastport just inspired me with this idea of bringing the show to more isolated communities, including all the islands,” said Barry. “It’s mostly about sharing it with as many people as I can.”

Barry, a singer, songwriter and artist, grew up on Peaks Island, where she made her first doll when she was 4. Living in Eastport, she said, gave her the space to come up with something new because there were no distractions.

“I had been painting a lot and I had the urge to make something three-dimensional,” said Barry. “The Fofers allowed me to combine everything, the songwriting, music playing, sculpture and painting. Being able to integrate all of those aspects of my creativity has been great.”

Since beginning the Fofers, Barry has also had to learn new skills. She taught herself to create the Fofer website when she learned the closest web designer was in Bangor. She is learning set design, sound and how to create a multi-media show as she works creating a new set for her upcoming tour. She’s learning animation so she can create animated clips between songs on the DVD, and she’s learning the art of fundraising to raise money for the Maine School Tour, which she plans to begin next spring.

“I love telling stories, and naturally my viewpoints come out in the stories. They have to do with appreciating nature and each other,” said Barry. “The Fofers love to ride bikes and climb trees and lots of other outdoor activities.”

A Fofer with its creator, Shana Barry.