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Maine artist Blue Butterfield breathes new life into holiday classic


Portland, Maine (Oct. 19, 2015) — A farmhouse “banked with emerald jewels clustered on bayberry boughs, and a house stuffed with aunts, uncles, and cousins, and mince pies by the legion.” These are the very words that first captivated readers in 1941, when Pulitzer Prize winning poet Robert P. Tristram Coffin penned a description of the quintessential New England holiday in “Christmas in Maine”. A new edition of Coffin’s essay, paired with original woodblock prints by Portland artist Blue Butterfield, and published by Yarmouth-based Islandport Press, will be released on Friday, November 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA), Seven Congress Square.

Butterfield’s intricate woodcut illustrations accompany Coffin’s timeless prose, creating a keepsake gift that offers thoughtful reminders about the true meaning of the holidays. At the event, the artist will give a brief talk and print-making demonstration, followed by book sales and  signing. In addition, there will be family-friendly art activities, and Daniel Noel will deliver a dramatic reading from the book. Noel is a Portland Stage Affiliate Artist and Artistic Advisory Committee member who has forty years of experience in theater, opera, audio, radio drama, and film.

Co-hosted by the PMA Store and Islandport Press, the event will take place during the museum’s Free Fridays. Admission to the event and to the museum is free. The cafe will also be open providing light seasonal refreshments.

About the artist: Blue Butterfield is a woodblock print artist who grew up in Bar Harbor and currently lives in Portland, Maine. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 1992 and received her Masters in Health Professions from Northeastern University. She is known for her woodblock calendar, "A Year in Maine," which she has produced annually since 2006. She has works in permanent collections in institutions across Maine.  

About the author: Robert Peter Tristram Coffin (1892-1955) was born in Brunswick, Maine. He attended Bowdoin College and Princeton University, and was also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and served in the U.S. Army. He taught at Wells College in New York from 1921 to 1934 before returning to Bowdoin, where he was a Pierce Professor of English until his death in 1955. A prolific writer and popular speaker who drew inspiration from his time spent on a saltwater farm in Maine, he published more than three dozen works of prose and poetry. His book, Strange Holiness, won the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

About Islandport Press: Islandport Press is a dynamic, award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England. For more information about the event, call 207-775-6148 or visit For more information about the book, please visit or email

About PMA: With an extensive collection and nationally renowned exhibitions, the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) is the cultural heart of Portland, Maine. The PMA boasts significant holdings of American, European, and contemporary art, as well as iconic works from Maine—highlighting the rich artistic tradition of the state and its artists. The museum is located at Seven Congress Square in downtown Portland. Admission is free on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. No admission is required to visit the PMA Café and PMA Store. For more information, call (207) 775-6148 or visit For all press inquiries, contact Jennifer Cook, Director of Media and Civic Relations, at (207) 699-4094 or

About the PMA Store: The PMA Store offers an array of products by local artisans, as well as beautiful objects from around the world. Items include one-of-a-kind and limited-edition jewelry, housewares and stationery, as well as the largest selection of art books in the state. Every purchase supports the museum and its programs, which enhance visitor experience and provide tours and educational opportunities for Maine’s schoolchildren. The PMA Store is open to the public during museum hours—no admission required to visit and shop. PMA products are also available online at