Mother’s Day is coming…

…and so is the annual sale at the Center for Maine Craft.

Annual Mother’s Day Sale:

May 1 – 8, 2016
25% OFF ALL Jewelry & Pottery! 
The Center for Maine Craft’s annual week-long Mother’s Day Sale is this Sunday May 1st through Mother’s Day Sunday May 8th.  All Jewelry and Pottery are 25% Off!
Make your mom, mama, mum or yourself happy with a Maine made handcrafted gift.  This sale happens only once a year!
Open 7 days a week 9am – 6pm


Please note, no other discounts may be applied.

Image: Covered Pot by  Barbara Walch Pottery, Pendant by Maggie Bokor Jewelry
This means I’ll be dropping off quite a few pieces of new work when I drive through Gardiner on my way to Greenwich, CT.
Here’s some of the work that will be there by Tuesday noon:
You’ve just got to love the location of the Center for Maine Craft. It’s in a service plaza! Where else could you go to make a pee stop, buy gas, get something to eat, AND see some really great Maine Crafts? I’ll be on my way to Connecticut and New York, but I’ll also be making a stop at the Center for Maine Craft to check out some pottery and other jewelry! 25% off…Woo Hoo!!


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This is what one of my work benches looks like when I am in the midst of making necklaces from rocks I have drilled, sea glass, and handmade silver beads. I have had my nose to the grindstone, spending most of the month of April in my studio. This looks like a confusing mess, but the more things I have out, the more I see to be designing the next necklace even as I am still working on the current one.


Why so busy? Most of my work is in galleries that are seasonal. (I wish I’d remembered to take some photos before I dropped off work for the fresh new season at KoT Gallery, in Ellsworth, Maine. The work is already there, waiting for the May 5 opening.) I’m lining everything up for May deliveries.

Another reason for this early push is an upcoming show on May 4th and 5th in Greenwich, CT. The show is a fund raiser for local non-profits. If you live in the area please stop by and check it out. It looks like I will be in some very good company.

Barny's Greenwich

(I added a few of my business cards on the back before scanning the list of vendors.) Barny's vendors

Nothing like having my name at the top of a list to finally get myself back to posting on my blog. I hope it gets me back in the habit of taking photos of my work. Today is a good start.

Below is the finished necklace that was sitting in the mess in the middle of my bench.IMGP1523

Sea glass found by Jane Milburn in Seaham, England. White stones from Gilley Beach (just down the street) and fine silver bead handmade by me.


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What draws you back to blogging…

…after almost 9 months away? For me it was reading that Genevieve Williamson, whose blog I follow regularly, was going to spend some time in Maine. “Where?” I asked, in her comment section, hoping that a trip to my little island might be in the cards. I have admired Genevieve’s polymer clay work for years, starting with finding her Etsy site, Jibby and Juna, and then finding and reading her blog.

I started working with polymer clay over 20 years ago, learning a lot about making my own canes and beads from a book called “The New Clay” by Nan Roche. Once I got my hands on metal clay, I left most of my polymer work behind, but I never stopped looking at it.  The polymer clay world has progressed and expanded in amazing ways. Check out some of Genevieve’s work from her Etsy shop:



I love her colors, her carvings, her design….her whole approach to the medium.

When Genevieve responded to my query, it turned out they were planning to stay in Friendship, about a 2 1/2 hour drive away. Her family has a history of visiting Maine islands and they thought it would be a manageable day trip to spend a day on Little Cranberry. Yippee!       For so many reasons.

The first being that I finally cleaned up my studio. I’m always curious about another artist’s studio space, and I wanted to be able to show Genevieve my tiny studio without all of the clutter. (When my creative energy was renewed from her visit, I benefitted myself with an organized spot to get back to work.)  The second reason the visit was a plus is that I got to see my island through new eyes. I live in one of the most beautiful spots in the world, but it is still the place where I do my laundry, pay bills, plan meals, and work. It’s easy to lose sight of so many wonders, until I have a chance to start showing it off to someone who is appreciating it all for the first time.

We fit a lot into a short number of hours. Starting with a prearranged visit to Ashley Bryan to see his studio, his dahlia paintings, and hear how he makes his stained glass window panels from sea glass and paper mache.


Ashley spoke of starting his dahlia paintings last October.) He showed his stained glass windows in progress:IMGP2621

And talked about making his puppets.IMGP0322 IMGP0323

(I can’t believe this is the only picture I have of you guys! None of Genevieve, but here is her husband Kyle, and sons Ben and Samuel, before we headed back to the dock for some lunch.)


The very best reason to have Genevieve come to Islesford for a visit, is that we opened the door on a new friendship. It felt like I had known her before, and I know we will keep in touch. As I introduced her to friends at the restaurant or people we met on our walks, they asked, “How did you meet?” We laughed and responded, “We met on the internet!” Thank you for your visit and for inspiring me to get back to blogging. You are welcome to come back any time. I hope we meet up again before too long.



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Busy bee


Getting ready for two shows in November and one in December. First, a trunk show at the home of my friend Val Storms in Greenwich, Connecticut. I stopped progress in the studio to make a flyer to e-mail out to friends and family in the area.

2014 Greenwich Show 1

It seemed to come out okay, but could I translate it to an email that would look like this without having to download? Nope. I spent way too long trying to figure it all out, and in the end sent out just the text in the email with attached photos one could see without clicking to download. The good part about all of this is that I will finish the e-mail and post about the upcoming trunk show in Baltimore in much less time after spending so much time now trying to learn this one.

Now back to things that look more like this:





Work in progress!


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Taking the 6:30 boat


Everything in me resists getting out of bed early in the morning, but when I have to, I do it, and I’m always glad I did. Today I took the 6:30 commuter off the island to take my car in to the Subaru dealer for a service appointment. At 5 a.m. the just-past-full moon was still high enough in the sky to pour light into my dark room when I lifted the shade. I got to see Bruce before he headed out to haul traps for the day and I made it to the dock without rushing. A good start to the day, made even better by the chance to see the sun rise.

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And I had pleasant travel companions on the boat!



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Still enjoying my golf cart…

As many of my friends know I write a monthly column called “The Cranberry Report” for a little newspaper known as the Working Waterfront. It is a wonderful publication put out by the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine. I am honored to be able to write for them, though almost every month when my deadline approaches I am panicked as I try to figure out what to write about. I don’t write about jewelry, but I do try to convey a little of what my life is like on the tiny island where I live all year. In the past few days I seem to have gained some new readers who found my blog via my writing about our wonderful Ashley Bryan School. While I’m still struggling to find my way back to my jewelry studio, I have had other opportunities to pursue some creative endeavors. Writing has been one of them. My latest column was published on September 1 and I had some delightful feedback from it. Especially in the form of a phone call from Mr. Bunker of Mt. View Auto. He really appreciated the shout out. (As if he needed any extra golf cart business….) Anyway, here is a copy of the column from the Working Waterfront web site. Another little slice of island life. I hope you enjoy it.

Fore me! Golf cart dream comes true

 by Barbara Fernald

Used golf carts are one of the handiest modes of seasonal land transportation in the Cranberry Isles. They are a lot of fun to drive, have a top speed of about 12 mph, use very little gas, and I have wanted one for a very long time. I wrote about how close I thought I was to achieving my dream three years ago

click to enlargeBarbara Fernald
Barbara Fernald

(, only to have the dream squashed yet again by an able island mechanic and a reasonable husband.

At the beginning of the summer, though, our island car was succumbing to rust. The engine was still running well, but the chain that held it in place was starting to compromise the car’s steering ability. The car made a constant “bad” noise and it was not safe to drive.

I also won’t use my husband’s truck. I’ve driven all of his other trucks with no trouble, but his current one is so big that I have to climb two steps up to get in. The engine is powerful and noisy, it guzzles gas and the clutch is tremendously stiff. The doors are heavy and out of line so one must pull up while shutting to close them properly. I don’t have the strength for that so, even as a passenger, I am pissed off at the truck before we leave our driveway. This attitude is also not conducive to safe driving. Bruce started looking around for our next island car.

As I rode my bike to the dock one day, Donna and Henry Isaacs came up the road in a spiffy new orange golf cart. It had a roof, a windshield and a luggage compartment in the back where the golf bag holders used to be. My golf cart envy returned in a most swift and serious way. With a minimum of research I learned three helpful things: Mountain View Auto on the Bucksport road had a whole line up of colorful golf carts; gas powered carts are easier to service than battery powered; and I actually had enough money to buy one.

A synopsis of our marital golf cart conversation:

Me: Well, I’ve decided to spend my own money on a golf cart.

Bruce: You don’t need a golf cart! What will you drive when the weather gets bad? It’s impractical! What about storing it for the winter?

Me: What about fun?

Bruce: (The next morning.) OK, you can get a golf cart if you really want one.

Me: I know, but what brought you around? The argument for a little fun?

Bruce: No. It was realizing I could put off looking for a new island car.

Me: I’m going off island tomorrow to get one.

On Monday, I passed right by Mountain View Auto, overshooting my mark by several miles. I saw no line up of colorful carts that several helpful friends had described. When I actually did stop to talk to Mr. Bunker, he told me his carts were sold out. (He has sold over 20 golf carts to people in the Cranberry Isles in the past few years.) He took my number and said he would call as soon as the next delivery of golf carts arrived.

I only had to wait two days. By Wednesday I was asking him to pick one out for me and I put a check in the mail. He apologized for the fact that these carts were all white, with no fancy colors.

By Friday morning my new ride had arrived. I was a little concerned when there was only one key, but I figured I could have a spare one made the next time I went off island.

“Oh no,” said one of my friends who has had a golf cart for many years. “We tried all different hardware stores and even the automotive department at a Sears in Boston. You can’t get keys like that made anywhere.”

The thought of losing my one key cast a little cloud over my golf cart euphoria until I looked online to see if I could at least find a blank to get a new key made. It turns out that Yamaha golf cart keys are universal. I got a spare key for myself and one for my friend for less than the cost of a ride on the mail boat!

Within a week, two more golf carts arrived on the island. One was purchased by my brother-in-law, Mark, who had been in tandem with his brother Bruce in their feelings about the impracticality of alternative seasonal vehicles. (These two nay-sayers now discuss things like how to install headlights on their carts.) Mr. Bunker found Mark and Vicky a cart with a back seat that folds down to create a little luggage compartment when needed. They had to pay a little more for it, but that is a really practical adaptation, one that Bruce and I wish we had. And, their cart is red.

When Mr. Bunker told them about the color, his next words were, “Don’t tell your sister-in-law! She might be mad!” (Does he imagine we would never pass each other on the road out here?) He needn’t worry. I have not felt mad even once while driving my golf cart. I’ve wanted one for such a long time and it is every bit as fun as I imagined.

Barbara Fernald lives, writes, makes jewelry and drives her cool golf cart on Islesford (Little Cranberry Island).



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First day of school at the ABS on Islesford

It has become a tradition for parents and townspeople to gather in the schoolyard as students arrive for their first day at the  two room Ashley Bryan School. Everyone is there to wish them well, to see who the new students are, and to feel good about our special island school and its community support.

The crew from Great Cranberry arrives by boat and begins the short walk up from the dock. There are 6 students from Great Cranberry and one teacher and one aide who travel by boat every morning. This morning there were also all of the teachers for Art, Music, Phys. Ed and French. The principal was there too. It made for a solid group of educational energy surrounding the school. The inter island students were all happy to reconnect after a busy summer. All around the school yard  parents of students, and other community members  want to celebrate what a unique school  we have.

I hope these photos  evoke the anticiption that hovered in the air this morning.



There were many more friends from the community than there were students. There are 16 students in all covering every grade from K through 8 with the exception of 7th grade. It looks like it’s going to be an exciting year!IMGP6879

Teachers Lauren and Audrey asked people to exuberantly make suggestions of goals for the year and then Ashley Bryan read them out and worried that the students will have to work too hard to learn all of these things! I don’t know if you can zoom in on the list, but the suggestions are things like: Laughter, building, discovery, adventure, wonder, fun, awesomeness, cooperation and friendship.




Below, someone who couldn’t care less!


Then the kids got together for a group picture, and they insisted that all the community members get in for the second picture.

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At last the students lined up from youngest grade to oldest grade, to move into the school as they were introduced by the teachers.

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I hope everyone got the photos they wanted, else they’ll have to wait until next year to get another shot at the first day of school. Wishing a great year to all of the students and teachers at the Ashley Bryan School!



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