Ashley Bryan School

From Susan Barrett Merrill:

"On July 14th, 2012, my husband Richard and I were invited to a celebration of the re-dedication of the elementary school on Isleford, Little Cranberry Island, to honor the author and resident, Ashley Bryan. Coincidently, it was also his 89th birthday. The school has previously written a grant for me to come out to the island to help build and weave on an EarthLoom. Children from the five outlieing islands joined together for a day of friendship to get to know each other. To play games, eat lunch and weave a 'Friendship Weaving' on the EarthLoom. The weaving was passed around to all the Island Schools and over time, a new curriculum was developed out of this gathering, working through the internet, all the schools began to have group classes."

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women-weaving.jpgBut on this particular day, a few weeks ago, the whole community gathered together to weave a present for Ashley’s birthday. Everyone brought something to weave in. Penelope Olsen sent Birch Bark Strips with messages, “Ashley is Peace”, Ashley is Love”, Ashley is Joy”. The young student climbing on the loom in this photograph brought a picture of the whole student body which he had laminated and wanted to sew it onto the top row so Ashley would be sure to see it. Paper strips with prayers and wishes were woven in. Artwork was attached, and one student who is now in college but was privledged to have Ashley teach in her class, gave her gradeschool award ribbons to be tied onto the selvedge (side edges of the weaving) like flags.


After a two hour weaving time, the weaving was completed and presented to Ashley who had just given a talk to the group about the importance of community, of respecting and loving each other.

Above is Ashley holding his gift from the community. On his right is his friend and EarthLoom Foundation co-founder Susan Barrett Merrill.

A community who can weave together does bring friendship and love into their lives.