Letter to the Editor: Cultural opportunities abound along the Outer Banks

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Dear editor:

The past month on the Outer Banks has been packed with wonderful art, new history, and seems like lots of rain . . . wasn’t there four straight days of sideways rain off and on? Time to refocus to something other than the blank spot where the mask dangled in the car window. This paper provided comprehensive and revealing updates on the Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series and their world class first two performances. There was the what now seems perfectly feasible possibility that the Lost Colonists many – if not all of them – left with their much maligned host probably to the “paradise” of Hatteras Island. And then a son gave me tickets to the Chatham Rabbits and Old Crow Medicine Show. I finally got to hear a live blurt of “every time I kiss you girl it tastes like pork and beans.” Lots of others joined in.

However, to me the major cultural thrill for my wife and I was a local exhibit at the Master Gardner’s Volunteer Plant Sale at the Baum Center (a major event in itself). Sitting at about 2p on the circle the booths made was a wall of precisely carved shore birds, and seated next to this wonderful wall was Ellen Berg. If you are familiar with her work, you know she keeps it spare and isn’t afraid to try a series of some images that are interesting her. We discovered Ms. Berg when the Duck Blind Gallery used to be right at the entry to the downtown of Duck. She placed a lot of her work there and went through an owl phase. I bought six of them, and they have an eerie ability to keep their big eyes on you. But as I had discovered at a prior discussion with Ms. Berg in Whitestone, Va., she said she had to quit the owls because the “eyes got too expensive.” But they sure got the job done Ms. Berg.

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Now she’s seems to have focused on a series of purple martins carved from some interesting wood (maple I think) that her husband was able to get for her. Her work is an excellent example of what few others have mastered. She undervalues her work too, from my point of view. We really have enjoyed her birds, flounders, and other interesting scrapes of wood that capture the essence of the Outer Banks. She is a master and her husband Vic is one hell of a guide, from what I understand.

Russ Watkins
Southern Shores