The Maine Squeeze: Styling a Seafood Boil for @TABLEMagazine

Earlier this spring, I styled a Seafood Boil Gathering for TABLE Magazine.

Editorial might be my favorite realm of styling because the pages serve to inspire readers to create the dishes, the parties and the designs featured. When I have the opportunity to invite my friends and family to be the guests in a photo shoot, and then we have the chance to eat, drink and really be merry, not just for the camera, the editorial shoot is all the more worthwhile.

Welcome to that party I dubbed “The Maine Squeeze.”

"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
A vintage bar awaited guests at the landing of the hillside walkway, where they snagged a beer, a Mint Julep or an Infused Lemonade, and then they transitioned to the dock party.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
My custom, illustrated Bar Menu and Fruit Infused Lemonade.

The story as featured in TABLE Magazine:

The Maine Squeeze
by Quelcy

Friends of mine live on a quiet road lined by wildflowers in Maine. Their house is painted the red a cottage should be painted, their garden is a dream, and they’re close to the bay. In short, it’s one of my favorite places on earth, a place I would love to share with my urban farmer boyfriend. Do you know the perfect time to visit Maine? Summer! Do you know the worst time for a farmer to take a vacation? Summer! So instead I brought Maine to him via Chef Kate Romane, a summer seafood boil and the docks of another favorite place of mine- Choderwood.

I called it “My Maine Squeeze,” a lobster inspired pun I commemorated on the custom bibs I made. My bartender friend Drew Cranisky helped welcome guests at my vintage bar setup and offered a Wigle Mint Julep (a nod to our dog Julep, who unfortunately could not attend) or a Hop Farm Elderberry Saison. Continuing along the dock led to the boil buffet and the talented strummings of local artist Jenn Gooch. Guests dined at the picnic stations I created with hand-dyed shibori textiles, vintage crates and nautical accents from Toll Gate Revival. All the floral accents were starter plants which we later planted at his farm- Hazelwood Urban Farms. Somehow, we managed to save room for a sweet finale- my homemade lemon bars and a variety of ice cream flavors from Millie’s Homemade.

It may not have been Maine, but it was pretty close to being a perfect summer evening!

"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
A close-up of the custom illustrated Bar Menu I made for the shoot. The painted newspaper was a nod to the newspaper that typically lines a seafood boil.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
My Seafood Boil Gathering channeled the best of traditional New England bakes and Southern boils. The decor played more off lobsters and classic stripes, but the bar menu featured Mint Juleps.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
Pulling a beer from my vintage bar setup featuring this vintage washtub from Toll Gate Revival.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
The portable “picnic bar” is from my own collection. I used plantable florals as a way to cut waste. All of the flowers were later planted at our urban farm.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
The Mint Juleps featured local distillery, Wigle’s Limited Release Smoked Whiskey. Food writer Drew Cranisky was our bartender extraordinaire.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
Garden-fresh mint from my friend Hanna Mosca’s YMCA Garden in Hazelwood.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
My vintage green ensemble from JuJu. The matching top and skirt felt like something a woman would have worn to a beach party in the 40s or 50s.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
The chipping green chair came from the Choderwood Gardens and fit perfectly in my rusty, seaside style. I illustrated and silkscreened the lobsters on the butcher paper to hold silverware for each guest. The vintage Coca-Cola crates came from Toll Gate Revival.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
I turned sawhorses and an abandoned door into the buffet to feature the MOUND of seafood prepared expertly by Chef Kate Romane.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
The docked houseboats really set the scene for a seaside party.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
I illustrated and silkscreened these lobster bibs with a  lobster pun, which became the title of my article.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
Bibbing my own Maine Squeeze with one of my custom illustrated and silkscreened tea towel/bibs.

"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com

"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
I used the Shibori method of textile dying to create picnic blankets for each little station. The idea was to give guests their own picnic area with a beachy/seaside vibe.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
Vintage nautical props from Toll Gate Revival added to the beachy/seaside feel of the gathering.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
The end of the dock featured a hand washing basin with lemons for a fresh citrus scent to hide the seafood smells plus dessert!
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
Each picnic station featured a vintage crate or metal basin from Toll Gate Revival and beach inspired buckets with plants and candles. They also had Old Bay and lemons for flavor and color accents.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
I painted mini metal buckets with the bright, bold colors of my palette for the shoot, which was inspired by the colors found in the seafood boil, Old Bay packaging and classic New England cottages.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
The image that became the cover for TABLE Magazine’s summer issue, featuring me actually eating and enjoying all my hard work.
"My Maine Squeeze" Seafood Boil Gathering by Quelcy // www.Quelcy.com
Inspired by the refreshing qualities of citrus, I made these lemon bars for dessert. When baking for a crowd, I often create gluten-free recipes so as not to exclude anyone.

Post Script:

Featured in TABLE Magazine, Issue #39, Summer
Story & Styling by Quelcy.
Illustration, Silkscreening & Textile Dying by Quelcy.
Gluten Free Lemon Bars by Quelcy, recipe here.
Photography by Rachel Rowland Photography.
Venue: Choderwood
Vintage green ensemble from JuJu.
Food by Chef Kate Romane.
Musical Entertainment by Jenn Gooch.
Vintage Wares from Toll Gate Revival.

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