Tag Archives: Ashley Bryan

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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Bracelet Bonanza

at Winters Work on the Islesford Dock!

Summer is in full swing in the Cranberry Isles. Life is very busy because it’s full of good things. You don’t want to miss the Ashley Bryan exhibit at the Islesford Museum. It will certainly entice you to buy one or several of Ashley’s books at Sue’s shop, Winters Work. While you are there, why not try on a bracelet or two. You just might want several reminders of your happy time on Islesford. Books and bracelets and more!



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Happy Birthday Ashley Bryan!


It’s hard to believe that this energetic man turned 90 years old yesterday. He could run circles around most of us who are 30 years younger! Ashley did not want a huge party in the Town Field with lots of friends from off island. He already did that at 80. He said, “All I want from anyone is a poem.” Well, he got many many poems from his island family and friends from off the island at a  pot luck supper and poetry slam tonight at the Neighborhood House. What a fun event, with several people reading original poems or favorite poems of others. Donna Isaacs, who organized the whole evening, also purchased two really nice books where the poems will be mounted and available for Ashley to read and reread to his heart’s content.


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The readings began with Ashley leading everyone in the poem, “My People” by Langston Hughs. Soos Valdina accompanied him with a translation in American Sign Language.



20 people read poetry to Ashley. I did not photograph them all. But among them were the evening’s organizer, Donna Isaacs:IMGP4766


Our postmaster Joy Sprague reciting Edna St. Vincent Millay (from memory)



Rhode Island poet laureate Rick Benjamin:



Louise, Susannah, and Whitaker Chaplin with original poems:

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And Dr. Shawsie Wawsie (aka Sam Shaw) giving an incredibly dramatic and energetic rendition of “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”



All in all it was one fabulous night. Why yes, I read an original poem too. Didn’t bother to take a “selfie” while I was reading, so here’s a photo of the poem I wrote and presented for Ashley’s birthday book.

Ashley b-day poem


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A B stands for…

… Ashley Bryan! He is a part of everyone’s island family, an artist, a teacher, a children’s book author and illustrator, a poet, a lifelong learner, a traveler, a speaker, and the most energetic person I know.

When the Islesford School students started talking about the possibility of changing the name of their school to the Ashley Bryan Elementary School, the idea went to the selectmen who put it on the warrant for Town Meeting. The article passed after a most heartfelt period of discussion in favor of the idea.

Today, the students at the Ashley Bryan School invited him over for a little party to show him their ideas for new signs.


He looks pretty pleased!


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