Great Writing Workshop at Sandy Spring Museum

Melanie Griffin talked about writing sparking your creativity with exercises such as writing about found objects and letters to self. See writings from the workshop below the pictures. 9/16/2015.

Melanie teaching
Melanie teaching


Carol does intros
Carol does intros

Found objects: Pine Cone from CA
I immediately felt a kinship with the large unfolding pine cone—heavy with three noticeable sections. Towards the stem, thick and uneven—like me—each nubby seed holder possessing an inner hidden strength, some open, some tightly closed. I love how, one third of the way to the tip, the seed holders or scales, as they are called, are all different—each separately-and also look like diamonds with intense eyes looking out—pondering, staring, taking in the world around. And then, in the last third, finalizing in the pine cone’s point, the seed holders are more embedded, as if stuck together, their eyes protruding and taking everything in vigilantly—but each like a rose, guarding itself, protecting its heart until the time is right—to open to the world.   Author: Catherine H. Kerst

Found objects: Wisteria Vine:
–I am told this is, or was, a Wisteria vine. It is stiff and hard, but it looks fragile. I put my fingers on it, press it firmly, it amazes me how resilient it is. It reminds me of so many things. How nature is a gifted artist, for one. This vine, it is really pretty, the way one piece of it wraps around the other, almost like a braid. What struck me about it at first was how it took command of the table, overshadowing the pine cones and the stones, the slices of orange, the bottle of vanilla. I like things that take their place in the world, or on a table, with confidence, with authority, with ownership. I think I want to be more like this dried up Wisteria vine.
–I have been thinking a lot lately about my great-grandfather. I have been doing a lot of genealogy research. I wrote about his life and how he was a sheriff and voter registrar during Reconstruction, and how he was hanged. The twisted vine made me think of the twisted rope around his neck.
–The next thing I saw in this vine were arteries and veins and I thought of how cholesterol must look like when it clogs the arteries and leads to heart attack and stroke.
–I look at the vine again and notice it is perfect even in its imperfections.   Author: Joyce Sampson

Found objects: Writing about a tulip poplar seed pod:
For some reason it reminds me of a eucalyptus seed pod which explodes in a fire. All that eucalyptus oil must toast and form a sort of scented crust on the fire. A Eucalyptus tree is sort of like a poplar in that if it decides to, it just drops a branch. Like some crepe myrtles it peels off strings of bark and underneath is a sort of green and brown and orange. One has to watch out in the eucalyptus woods which are usually near water, at least in my experience. In California they ran along the fault which is always a creek bed. The eucalyptus seed pods are are little triangle like things with a round top, hard, and not at all resilient, in contrast to the tree which sways in the wind. As a child I always wanted to venture beyond the trees, to get to the end of the course, but there wasn’t one except in places where the Army Corp of Engineers had cemented it over to prevent floods.   Author: Susan F Brown

Creativity at Sandy Spring Museum


Sandy Spring Museum and Friends House are sponsoring a series of workshops on finding your creative spark that are open to all ages.

Explore Intergenerational Creativity!

Four New Community-based Pilot Workshops, Fall 2015

Wednesday 9/16 Writing Your Way –Instructor Melanie Griffin –A writer, environmental activist, blogger, spiritual director, pastor, Melanie will lead a workshop from 3-4:30PM at the Museum.

Thursday 9/17 Interviewing for Storytelling- Instructor Mike Clark A retired news reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and co-publisher of the Little Patuxent Review, Mike is a Quaker and a poet. Workshop from 3-4:30PM at the Museum. He will interview Beth Garrettson of Sandy Spring Quaker Meeting.

Thursday 9/24 Discover Art Journaling- Instructor Caitlin Sherwood, A Corcoran trained fine artist, Cait is a painter, printmaker, and musician who is passionate about Art Journaling. Workshop from 3-4:30PM at the Museum.

Saturday October 10/24 Intergenerational Improv with Instructor Bridget Cavaiola – Education Director for the Baltimore Improv Group (BIG), Bridget is a Maryland Teaching Artist for Young Audiences and communications professor at CCBC. She has been performing and teaching adults and children since 2005. This Saturday morning workshop is from10AM-12PM.

For more information and to register contact:
Carol Cober,, 240-418-5603 Joan Liversidge,, or Deborah Kahn,

Service Learning Hours (SSL) are available for youth who participate.