Artist Weaves Tale for Students



Fiber artist Susan Barrett Merrill spent the whole day March 27 as an artist in residence at the Islesford School. Susan gave a slideshow on fiber history in the morning including a photograph of a 2,500-year-old saddle and rug that is thought to be the oldest example fiber art. Everyone learned about spinning and weaving, and made looms from notebook binders. The younger class made friendship bracelets and the older class made belts with power symbols, similar to those found in cultures throughout the world. Susan plans to return in May to help the students build an earth loom.

The same day, after school, Henry and Donna Isaacs left to spend the weekend in Portland. They met with Olive Isaacs to have dinner in celebration of her birthday on March 19. Their other daughter, Zoe Isaacs, spoke about her efforts in Rwanda at the Global Youth Initiative Conference, in Geneva, Switzerland on March 21. Zoe attended with several hundred youth from around the world talking about their projects in developing nations. The conference was sponsored by the United Nations, and the UN High Commission on Refugees.

In the April/May issue of “Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors,” Ken Weinstein has written a letter to the editor in tribute to David and Barbara Stainton, to Cranberry Island Boat Yard (CIBY), and to the 19-foot Western Way he acquired from CIBY in 2006. He has named the boat Clarity which was the name of the first boat David built. According to Ken, “Clarity has had her wood refinished, bottom paint color changed, and a canvas top added, but it still looks like it did in the photo in the advertisement, probably taken in 1998.” When Ken bought the boat, he visited Cranberry Island and CIBY, and spent a pleasant afternoon with Dick and Marianne Avery. He had gotten to know the Averys and Staintons through his yearly visits to the Portland Boatbuilders Show.

Barbara Meyers went to Concord, Mass. last weekend to attend the festivities of “Balkan Night.” Barbara drove to the event with eight friends of hers from the Maine Women’s Balkan Choir. On the way home she stopped in Portland to visit Georgie Ware. Georgie hopes to be back on Cranberry Island before too long.

Nicole Wallace was out on Islesford visiting several of her friends on Thursday night. On Friday, Barb Fernald went to Bar Harbor to attend the Lunch and Learn presentation at Birch Bay Village. Barb, her mother Barbara Shirey, and friend Betty Gardner had a nice lunch and enjoyed a lecture given by Don Cousins called “Remembering Past, Present, and Future: A Perspective on Memory.” They saw Audrey Fisher, who was also attending the luncheon.

Congratulations to Richard Beal’s daughter, Barbara, who interviewed in Washington, D.C., and was accepted for surface nuclear engineering with the U.S. Navy. According to Richard, “This is what she has been working for and the effort has paid off.” As an interesting aside, Barbara said she got to see the chair that Admiral Hyman Rickover – known as the Father of the Nuclear Navy – used for interviews. The chair had shortened front legs that made the admiral appear taller than the person he was interviewing.

Susan White and Heather Varnum have been enjoying regular weekly lunches at Susan’s house in Bucksport. Heather reports that her daughter, Aislynn, is busy at school with rehearsals for her role in the play “The Music Man.”

On Saturday morning, Lindsay Eysnogle and Eliza Greenman were on their way to the Downeast Country Dance Festival in Topsham. The festival is a three-day celebration of music and dance, but they were saving up their energy for the five-hour contra dance on Saturday night. They spent the night with Sonja Moser and Bill and Finn McGuinness in Brunswick.

Ashley Bryan was in Atlanta, Georgia on March 27 and 28 for the 2009 Ashley Bryan Children’s Literary Festival at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. Many friends from Islesford were there including Sue and Mike Trotter, Charlie and Edie Wright, Ben Morse, Amanda Ravenhill and Simon Isaacs.

On March 29, Cranberry Island Cooks prepared and delivered 17 dinners. Chefs for the event were Jane Gray, Barbara Stainton and Eileen Richards, and the menu featured Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, salad, a fruit for desert and a chocolate bunny.

Nate Philbrook and Courtney, Kate, Louise, Susannah and Whit Chaplin all headed off on Saturday for some ice fishing with “Grampy C,” (Bob Chaplin) on Echo Lake. They caught a bunch of trout and had them for dinner when they got back to Islesford on Saturday afternoon.

Dan and Cynthia Lief also came back to Islesford on Saturday afternoon. They returned from a trip to Peru, where they spent five days and four nights hiking the Inca Trail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu, a distance of 45 kilometers. They camped out at night and went over mountain passes as high as 14,000 feet. They were accompanied by their friends Ann and Dick Sullivan, and several porters.

On the evening of March 29, Rob Benson of Maine Seacoast Mission, brought the group Spirited Folk from Hermon to Cranberry Island for a concert/sing-a-long at the Community Center. Those who attended enjoyed the evening of music and song, and shared an array of homemade potluck desserts afterward. The event gave a bright ending to a rather overcast and rainy day. Thanks to all who participated.

There was a large group of people attending church on Islesford on Sunday. Doug and Ruth Hare came out to lead the service, and Nan Lincoln came with them. After church they joined Kaitlyn and Cory Duggan at Ann Fernald’s house for lunch. Here’s an “Islesford connection” for the week. When Marci Lief and Clay Oliver were in Belize recently, they met another American who talked about visiting an island in Maine. It turns out the woman was a good friend of Cory Duggan’s mother, and she was on Islesford last September for Cory and Kaitlyn’s wedding!

Sue Hand’s daughter, Heather Madeira, sent notice that “The Anthracite Miners and Their Hollowed Ground,” a collection of paintings by Sue depicting the historic fabric and greatness of northeastern Pennsylvania will be on exhibit at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, Penn. until April 22. The exhibit includes 300 hexagon-shaped mixed media pieces. When put together, the artwork forms a honeycomb, to resemble the ground beneath the Wyoming Valley. About 200 of the pieces will be on display at Luzerne County Community College’s Schulman Gallery. In February, Sue released a book that includes all of the paintings in the series. The book serves as a nontraditional history of mining in northeastern Pennsylvania. Thanks to Heather for letting us know,

Congratulations to Lauren Simmons, who has been named operations manager for the Northeast Harbor Fleet. Many friends got together on March 28 on Islesford to help Chris Diaz celebrate his birthday. The evening started with a potluck dinner at Jasmine Samuel’s house followed by a bonfire on the beach.

Happy birthday to Isaac Philbrook on April 5. Happy 50th birthday to Mitchell McCormick on April 7. Birthday greetings to Caroline Beisswenger on April 8 and to David Thomas on April 13. Happy anniversary to Adam Vance and Tanja Dovay on April 12. On Cranberry Island, we will miss Phil and Karin Whitney’s wonderful friend and “movie dog,” Jack.

We love to have you send us your news. Our deadline is 7 p.m. on Sunday night. Please stay in touch. Barbara Fernald can be reached at [email protected]