STICK A SIGN OUT FRONT
Maine’s early homesteaders were challenged by rocky soil, a short growing season, and increased competition from railroad-connected states on an expanding Western frontier. In order to make ends meet, many families developed secondary income sources from goods or services pulled together “out back.”
A roadside sign is marketing in its purest form: plywood, cardboard or an old piece of scrap metal (anything relatively flat will do); a paint brush, a spray can, or even some good thick markers. Legible handwriting and a spot close to the road, and you’re in business.
Today, some signs are familiar landmarks passed by locals for years, while others are designed to lure the tourists and provide a dash of authentic flavor to a Maine visit. Either way, the handmade, backroad sign is a traditional throwback and treasured feature of our Maine landscape.
Our shirts replicate actual hand-lettered signs spotted on the backroads of Maine. They salute a place where “buy local” is more than a bumper sticker, and neighbors still end a transaction with a handshake.
THE ORIGINAL IDEA
“Clean Fill Wanted” is a roadside sign we had always seen growing up in our great state, but were never quite sure what it meant.
We thought it would be fun to create a shirt using the authentic artwork of an actual sign. They’re all over the place, of course, so it took some time to scout a good one.
With Clean Fill as the flagship design, we set about collecting images of other signs that shared the unique combination of whimsy, authenticity and artistic merit. We’ve launched with four designs, but there are many more in the works and we look forward to your suggestions.
Each shirt celebrates a particular sign on a specific road. You may know exactly where the sign is, which makes for a fun souvenir of a well-travelled route. More likely, though, the designs just feel comforting, familiar and real.
Clean Fill noun
1 : fill dirt, a material used to fill holes and low areas, or build up ground elevation. Clean, referring to the absence of rocks, stumps, roots or other foreign material.