A Maine Coast Collaboration

Eric Hopkins at work in his studio. Photo by Betta Stothart.

In late July, in a drafty studio on the edge of an island in the middle of Penobscot Bay, Maine artist Eric Hopkins made a painting of the Maine coast.

Like most of his work, this vibrant painting depicts water, earth, trees, sky, and their meeting places, in endlessly shifting layers.

Unlike most of his work, this piece ended up printed on used sails stitched into tote bags on the salty wharfs of Portland’s working harbor.

A bag for a cause

While it’s on sale through the end of the year, 20% of profits from this limited edition, one-of-a-kind Sea Bag featuring Hopkins work supports Maine Coast Heritage Trust and conservation along Maine’s incredible coastline.

MCHT is excited and proud to collaborate with such an iconic Maine artist and Maine company, and grateful for their support of MCHT’s mission to keep the coast open, wild, working, and beautiful—now and forever.

When we reached out to Eric Hopkins all those months ago, he didn’t hesitate to get on board with this project. “This is a good idea,” he said. “I love good ideas!”

Eric Hopkins: an artist of the Maine coast

Growing up on North Haven Island, the Maine coast is in Eric’s bones and blood; it’s something he considers deeply, and daily, with paint on canvas and also from the cockpit of an airplane.

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Eric Hopkins at his North Haven studio. Photo by Betta Stothart.

In his paintings, Hopkins’ depicts the Maine coast from a bird’s eye view, in vivid greens and blues blazing with life, churning with current. From new heights, familiar islands bend out of recognition, are revealed in new relationship with neighboring shorelines, in relationship with horizon, in relationship with sky.

His paintings have a way of reminding us why we love the coast: it’s powerful ability to disorient and reorient us. Hopkins’ art also reminds us why we work to protect the integrity of this singular landscape, its extraordinary beauty and heritage, and our connection to it.

Hopkins supports conserving the Maine coast and its thousands of storied islands, yes, but also what he calls, “the old favorite island, Mother Earth.”

He says, “You gotta have coast, you gotta have heritage, and you gotta have trust. It felt like a good project and a great cause.”

Sea Bags CEO Don Oakes and Eric Hopkins. Photo by Rich Knox.

Sea Bags: a Maine company, through and through

Right now, in a weathered old building on a wharf in Portland’s working harbor, dozens of seamstresses are turning used sail cloth into beautiful, rugged, one-of-a-kind totes known as Sea Bags.

Nearly twenty years ago, Hannah Kubiak, a Kennebunkport native who started working on a lobster boat at the age of 12, and her partner each scraped together $2,000 to get their fledging business idea off the ground.

Now, Sea Bags is something of a Maine institution, with well over 130 employees and nearly 20 retail locations. They’ve upcycled more than 600 tons of sails that would otherwise have ended up in landfills and they’re working with nonprofits, like Maine Coast Heritage Trust, to support causes they care about—in this case, conservation of the Maine coast.

“The opportunity to work with an artist of Eric Hopkins’ stature and to support the protection and conservation of our beautiful coastline, is perfectly aligned with our passions,” said Sea Bags CEO Don Oakes.

This one-of-a-kind, limited release Sea Bag is available through the year. Get yours today and give back to the coast you love!

Get your Sea Bag today!


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