Eclectic, creative, pure fun: the art of Peter Beerits at Nervous Nellie’s

If you’ve seen Nervous Nellie’s Jams and Jellies at tourist destinations and grocery stores all over Maine, you may have thought you’d seen it all.  And in some ways, you have.  Those made-in-small-batches jams cooked in a steam-jacketed kettle using wild Main blueberries stand on their own for quality and taste.  As do their other products — red raspberry jam, blue razz conserve, Sunshine Road marmalade. They offer products you don’t even expect: Joan’s Scones, Maine Wildflower Honey, and Maine Maple Candy.  The list goes on.

In fact, Nervous  Nellie’s stirs up about 40,000 jars of jam a year, and ships out untold cases of products from their small business on Deer Isle.  In their brochure, they say it’s “way off on the edge of things.”

Welcome to Nellieville, Deer Isle, Maine

Welcome to Nellieville, Deer Isle, Maine

But “way off” may have another meaning.  Nervous Nellie’s has what you might never expect to see but what would make you come back in a heartbeat.  Greeting you at the edge of the parking lot is the find of Deer Isle: crazy, fascinating sculpture of Peter Beerits,  who is also the co-owner of Nervous Nellie’s with his wife Anne.

Greeting you to Nervous Nellie's and guarding future art of Peter Beerit's is this Mainer made of parts.

Greeting you at Nervous Nellie’s and guarding bits and pieces of future art for Peter Beerits is this Mainer made of found objects.

You see, Beerits takes parts, lots of parts (like what most people would toss into the trash or recycle bin) and then fashions them into people, dogs, desks, chairs, you name it.

Enjoying the porch are Peter Beerits' lady and dog.

Enjoying the porch are Peter Beerits’ lady and dog.

As if that weren’t enough, he strategically places his found-object folks into Nellieville, the little town that keeps on growing.  Right now, Nellieville is home to a blacksmith shop, bank, school, and garage filled with musicians.  But Beerits admits there’s more — a wizard’s tower perhaps? Opera house? More-or-less bimonthly tours of Nellieville?  No tellin’.

But if a town’s known by its residents, check out the folks of Nellieville.

Clerk? Bookkeeper? Or just silent partner!

Clerk? Bookkeeper? Silent partner?

Gettin' down!

Gettin’ down!

A very proper lady with orange face. "Anyone seen my blush?"

Lady with orange face. “Anyone seen my blush?”

"This is my best side."

“This IS my best side.”

Outdoors, Beerits’ art invades the woods where medieval creatures lie in wait for unsuspecting art lovers. (Ah, so that’s what you do with tire rims!)

Beware of dragons at Nervous Nellie's.

Beware of dragons at Nervous Nellie’s.

With all the musicians in Nellieville, it’s a given you could rotate the featured ones, especially if you don’t care for the music.  But no one here seems to complain. “Play what you like.  We’ll listen.”

So, if you’re visiting Maine, be sure to stop by Nervous Nellie’s Jams and Jellies — not just for fine homemade local-sourced jellies and jams but also for art.

Not your type? Just move on!

Not your type? Just move on!

Or, if you like, park yourself on the porch and talk to the residents who rarely talk back.  Besides, you just might learn a thing or two.

Teacher? Student? Who's learning what?

Teacher? Student? Who’s learning what?

So, ship home a case of Red Raspberry Jam and tour the sculpture of Peter Beerits at the same time? Nervous Nellie’s on Sunshine Road in Deer Isle, Maine.

But don’t bring old rusted-out tools to donate.  Beerits has aplenty.

For more on places we loved in Maine, head to August Down East for our pictures and posts.

As always, thanks for traveling with us — Rusha and Bert


About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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16 Responses to Eclectic, creative, pure fun: the art of Peter Beerits at Nervous Nellie’s

  1. Cecilia says:

    I’m totally fascinated. Creativity knows no limits! Thank you and greetings.

    • Thanks for taking a look. Don’t you just love it when someone takes next-to-nothing and makes something of it?! We had fun going to each of the buildings in Nellieville — and being surprised at each turn. If you’ve ever in Maine — check it out!

  2. Don’t you just love ‘trash’ art, Rusha. It’s amazing what people can create with someone else’s junk. I see a lot of it at Burning Man and am always impressed. Good job. Fun collection of sculptures! –Curt

  3. maristravels says:

    How I’d love to see this.

  4. Bob Barnett says:

    I need to add this to my bucket list. Sounds like fun.

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