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Patty Olds

Date of Death: October 5, 2020

Date of Birth: July 15, 1955


Brunswick - Patty Olds : With her trademark, crinkly-eyed smile, Patty Olds created beauty through color wherever she landed, gathering a large circle of devoted friends and leaving an almost tangible trace of good spirits in her wake. Filled with curiosity, generosity, and joy, she was first and foremost an artist and craftswoman, but also a writer, scenic designer, Qigong practitioner and teacher, public radio commentator, mediator in the Maine attorney general’s office, and business owner. Patty died quietly of cancer on the night of October 5, 2020, with her sister and sister-in-law by her side.

           Born in Burlingame, California, on July 15, 1955, to Betty Ann (Schoonover) and Robert Olds, Patty was the oldest of five children. At the age of twenty-two, she traded her motorcycle for a 1968 VW bus, left her job at Intel, and set off across the country, financing her trip with a  job hanging posters on college campuses. One hundred thousand miles later, at a rest stop near Bath, Maine, a field of fireflies and the Northern Lights overhead convinced Patty she was home. She lived the rest of her life within five miles of that place, where she first fell in love with Maine.

           Schooled as an English major and trained as a sailmaker, Patty displayed her creative talents in many different fields over the years. A majority of her life in Maine, she worked in the non-profit arts community. She mentored young people at The Theater Project and built a collaboration between the Arts are Elementary artist residency and Spindleworks that became the annual All Species Parade in downtown Brunswick. Through her business, Good Strong Stuff, Patty designed and constructed street and storefront banners, did custom canvas work for boats and home, and shipped her tepees throughout the US and Canada. In 1980, she began making scrolls from duponi silk and Indonesian batik, which were sold in the Smith & Hawkin Catalog and hang in libraries, galleries, homes, studios, and sanctuaries around the country. As a set designer, Patty transformed actors into flowers for Portland Stage Company’s holiday production of “The Snow Queen,” much to the delight of audiences. For the last nine years, she has used her love of pattern, color, and texture to create framed pressed flower mandalas, which she sold at area craft fairs, including The Common Ground Fair. Collecting natural materials to press for her mandalas enhanced her love of walking in the woods. Since 2013, Patty has been Program Manager for Volunteers of America.

           Gifted at creating warm, welcoming, and sacred spaces for people and her beloved four-legged friends using color and love, Patty went about her world weaving joy and radiating light and life. We shall miss her. She is survived by countless friends and colleagues, sisters, nieces and nephews.

To honor Patty’s life, donations may be made to The Theater Project, 14 School Street, Brunswick, ME 04011.

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