Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"I met her on the internet."

That's what I had to say when someone asked me how I know Barb Fernald because that was the truth. I didn't in fact know her; my family and I were traveling 3 mi. across the water to meet her for the first time.

Backstory: Barb read on my blog that I was coming to Maine and suggested that we visit her home, Little Cranberry Island. I mapped the trip and  realized we could manage it as a day trip from Martin Point as my husband encouraged me past the anxiety and there you have it.  Island adventure! Thanks to Barb's planning we were able to catch the 10am mailboat out of Northeast Harbor and spend a beautiful day seeing the sights and lunching with lobsterman (her husband :-)

harbor at Ilesford, Little Cranberry

There is an amazing number of things to do on this 1mi. x 1mi. island. A long, grey, shingle building on the dock houses a great restaurant, art gallery, and gift shop (Winter's Work - a very nice shop with handmade goods from the state of Maine). There is also a decent sized pottery with excellent work from at least three potters.  (And they wrap what you buy quite nicely for the journey back across the water.) 

My husband found the gorgeous green ones.

Looking back to Mt. Desert Island

Barb, as it turns out, is a wonderful person and we clicked. I mean, how can you not just love someone who's suggested afternoon activity is going to pick up rocks?! 

Her work is featured on island at Winter's Work of course and includes polymer, metal clay and beach stones. We were so fortunate to have time to visit her studio. Its wonderful how visiting another person's workspace can make you feel excited about getting back into your own!  

You can also find her jewelry in Archipelago (Rockland, ME) and online. Check her out! She has wonderful craftsmanship and I feel like her work, even the more abstract pieces, "speak" about the natural beauty of her island home.

Now to the part of the day's visit  was completely unexpected. 

Did you know award winning illustrator/artist, Ashley Bryan, is a Little Cranberry resident? I must admit that I didn't, but he is and how very blessed we were to spend some time visiting his studio. Puppets, paintings, lots of work in progress and papier mache stained glass windows! You don't meet too many people who are such a perfect combination of funny and smart and encouraging - but Ashely is all of these and more. Meet him and you feel like you've had your soul massaged. Its as if  you walked right into a children's book.  My oldest son Ben turned to me and said "I'm staying. I'm staying here with Ashley. Forever." 

photo : Barb Fernald

from Simon and Shuster

Island's have long been safe harbors for artists. The natural beauty, the quiet and the retreat from the fast pace of mainland life leaves space in the brain for imagination to happen.  Little Cranberry even has a lobsterman poet and lobsterman painter. So much art is such a tiny space. 

A very big thank you to Barb Fernald for inviting perfect strangers to visit, gutsy former sternman that she is! We've been told twice in the past week how fortunate we are to have friends on Little Cranberry and I know that to be absolutely true. 

Good bye tiny island - see you again sooner rather than later I hope! 


  1. You are too kind! I LOVED meeting you and spending the day with you and your guys. I felt like we already knew each other. By the time we actually started talking about our work and our studios, the day had fled away. I wanted more time. I know we will meet up again soon, whether in a workshop, or on the island or somewhere in Maine. I was just sitting down to blog for the first time in months, and I clicked on your blog first. YOU and your visit have helped me refocus. Thank you so much for coming! xoxo

    1. I feel asleep on the way back to Friendship - what a big day…but totally worth it! We all had such a great time and learned so much!

  2. Oh, this is so nice - both a beautiful place to visit and a beautiful person (or two!) to find living on it. I've met a few people online and then in the 'real' world and have met some very special friends that way - sometimes if you click online, then you just click :)